The past few days at work have been extremely challenging, and I have not felt this stressed and anxious in a long time. But there were some wonderful highlights. One of which was the opportunity to bring a group of international visitors on a tour of Singapore.
The tour was organised by Journeys, a Singapore travel agency which does the Original Singapore Walks. I was thrilled when I found out, because I’ve been wanting to do one of their walks for a long time and have never found the time. Journeys is strongly history-based, which means their tours are stuffed with as much information as the knowledge-hungry tourist (and curious local) could possible want.
We started our journey at the Chinatown Heritage Centre. Now many people are leery of government-backed efforts at forging identity and sustaining heritage. I admit I entered the Centre with some trepidation. But I left thoroughly impressed. The Centre was very thoughtfully put together, and a moving portrayal of life in early Singapore. There were parts which reminded me so strongly of my grandparents’ old home that I actually felt misty-eyed. Our guides Geraldine and Helena were warm, friendly and a treasure trove of information. They even brought pictures of their own to show us.
Next stop was a drive through the Civic District. We passed by the Supreme Court, Parliament House, the old City Hall, Victoria Theatre, the Padang, the Civilian War Memorial, and wound up at the Merlion Park. It was a balmy evening and our guests took in the gorgeous waterfront view and skyline, and posed for pictures with Singapore’s love-it-or-hate-it-but-can’t-do-anything-about-it national symbol.
Then it was off to Muthu’s Curry for dinner! Oh what an absolutely fabulous meal we had there. Naans and pappadams, chicken and mutton, white rice and biryani rice, lots and lots of gravy, and an endless supply of lime juice to wash it all down. Our guides had also arranged for a henna artist named Selvi to tatto our arms. It wasn’t just for the ladies; even the men got somewhat more masculine designs emblazoned on their arms. Selvi was dizzyingly fast and her designs were gorgeous. (She gave me her card – her shop is at 48 Serangoon Rd, #01-23, Little India Arcade in case anyone wants to know.)
And that’s where our evening, sadly, ended. But in the days since then, whenever the stress got a little too much to bear, just looking at my hand made me smile.