Singapore was a soft landing. Our first day we did make a couple culinary miscues. Coffee shop menus can be confusing.

By the second day we were pros, at eating anyway. No more mystery fish. No more many tentacled abalone type creature floating in a viscous puddle of fleshopods.

Eggs and rice, eggs and rice, morning, noon and night. By day three we’d moved comfortably into the vast ocean of Asian cuisine. Coffee shops are on every corner and have a great variety of foods, and many are open all night.

We stayed on Aljunied Road, not a big tourist district, which was great. It’s where all the crime is but for Singapore that’s not much.

Our third day in town they executed two drug dealers from Africa despite UN pleas, and pleas from the Nigerian president, and general condemnation all round. They were arrested on Aljunied Road.

Us they didn’t even search at the airport. No questions, no bag search. Smugglers might want to try to arrive at 4:30 in the morning. It’s the one advantage.

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Boat Quay. Very nice relaxing place pre-dinner

For anyone who was last here before 1987, the famous stench of the Singapore River is gone. I guess it was famous, I must have heard about it somewhere before. It’s still oily but it doesn’t stink. Then again this is the dry season, maybe in the wet season it’s worse.

Along the river on the Boat Quay side we found some of the best and cheapest eating options in the city. On the other side, Clarke Quay, are all the very expensive places, the trendy bars and a couple swank nightclubs. This area is second only to Orchard Road for the ratio of tourists to locals.

For really great food go to Little India, you won’t have to look far. We found a place called Madras New Woodlands Restaurant on Serangoon Road, about $5 for two people and we had the works and it was excellent. That’s less moolah than a single Prosperity Meal at McDonald’s. Even the inferior Longevity Meal is a stiff $6.20.

After we foolishly paid triple that back on Clarke Quay we wandered into probably the top museum in the city, the Asian Civilizations Museum. Impressive Smithsonian quality collection of textiles, talismans, raiment, murals, instruments, art, ornaments, cookware and other archaeology. Among the noteworthies was a skull with ornate Malaysian hieroglyphics tattooed onto its pate:

“Headhunting was a component of warfare among enemy groups, where the goal was to enslave those captured and remove the heads of certain individuals for ritual purposes. A human head was believed to contain a powerful spiritual essence that could be harnessed to improve the community’s well being. Today the Malaysian and Indonesian governments have outlawed headhunting.”

Well, shoot. I particularly liked this item:

Filial Piety:

While parents are alive,

One must not travel afar.

If one must, one’s whereabouts

Should always be made known.

From Chinese Analects, Book II: Li Ren 19. Look it up. Wise words. Sorry Family Unit for not calling more. We’re fine. We’re in the hills of Laos near the Vietnam border and we’ve been adopted by the Akha people. We’ll try to communicate more often but it’s a two hour walk to the nearest road.

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Indian temple decoration. Similar figures adorn Hindu temples all over the city

Ha! Good joke, yes? End of Singapore post! Next: We board a train and size up Malaysia!