As I write this it’s just after 6am in Singapore. We’re into the second week of our holidays but I’m still rising early – mainly because we walk so much during the day (and it’s so incredibly hot and humid) that we’re both exhausted by 9pm! Yep, we’re real party animals these days.
Sunrise is later here though, somewhere around 7am – it has to do with being so near the equator. In Penang, our hotel was right on the water and the sunrises were, as a result, fabulous from the balcony. Here in Singapore, we’re on the 25th floor of a hotel that has windows that, shall we say, need cleaning. The sunrises are a tad less impressive. Anyways, here’s some colour from this morning.
It all leads me neatly into the first of the things that made me smile last week – and I’m trying to keep my list to just five because I’m on holidays and that means there’s plenty to smile about!
The ones from our balcony at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel were just fab with colours ranging from a watercolour wash of pastel to golden glory. Here are a few…
Hainanese Chicken Rice
If I was to be asked what my desert island dish would be, it would be a toss-up between roast chicken and chicken rice, but whenever I need deep comfort, it’s the latter that I crave. We make it at home – and I’ll share a recipe when I’m back, but in Malaysia and Singapore, it’s difficult to find a bad one. Which is why yesterday when I had one for lunch at Maxwell Food Centre, a hawker market in Chinatown, it was a pretty big call for me to declare it to be the best I’ve ever had.
Usually, the chicken and rice are great but the stock needs work or the stock is great but the chicken rice is flavourless. I’m seriously fussy, but this one was absolutely perfect. And it cost a grand total of $5.
Christmas at Curlew Cottage
The draft is done and sent to my editor for a read-through. This started life as a Christmas novel, but I’m no longer sure that it is. All I know is that somehow I wrote almost the whole thing in April and finished it on the flight to Penang. It needs so much work, but that’s the point of first drafts, it’s finding the story, finding your characters and seeing which way it goes. Now it’s about finding the space between the first draft and the next to put the structures and voices in place.
For now though, I’m not writing for a couple of weeks and am instead reading other people’s writing ie catching up on some reading – both books and blogs.
Schedules and stuff-ups
Between the day job, trying to finish the novel and business as usual, the last couple of weeks before holidays was pretty manic so a lot of things were, as I tend to do at the best of times, left until the last minute. I have no idea how I’ve done this but I had it in my head we were arriving home on Friday morning – so booked our car parking at the airport until Friday, and our duty-free pick up for Friday when in fact, we’re home on Thursday morning.
I think partly it’s because I have to be back on a plane to Sydney on Sunday (don’t ask) and have been thinking I have a day to sleep and get my washing done and partly because our flight out of here is at a ridiculous time of the morning (close enough to 1am) and partly because I just wasn’t thinking because I was stupidly trying to write a novel and leave the day job in reasonable shape. Whatever the reason it actually gave me a good laugh when I worked it out the other day. My husband wasn’t quite as amused but, as I pointed out, there was nothing stopping him from making those arrangements. Exactly.
Instead of worrying about it, I did this. So much more satisfying – and yet another thing to smile about.
Street Art in Penang
I wrote a whole post on this last Thursday (here’s the link) so won’t dwell on it more now. Here are a couple more that didn’t make that post.
Okay, I know this is number six and I was going to keep to five, and whisky always makes me smile, but in Marina Bay Shoppes (the double p is ridiculously deliberate) there’s a whisky shop that had bottles for ludicrous amounts of money. Mone fifty year bottle of Glenfiddich – one of my favourite tipples, but at a substantially lower price – was on the shelves for $61,000. Yes, I’m serious. The words crazy and rich sprang quickly to mind. Singapore is, after all, where “Crazy Rich Asians” is based and was (mostly) filmed.
Of course, I had to go in and had to ask the guy behind the counter whether people actually buy any of it. ‘Sometimes,’ he said. ‘But you have plenty of time to stream Game of Thrones?’ I asked. He smiled in that way that people do when they know that what they’re saying could get them in trouble.
Anyways, the cheapest bottle I found was around $800, and that $60,000 Glenfiddich was NOT the most expensive. The average was around $40,000. Just laughable.
I’ll leave you with this sunset over the beach.
Have a great week…