"KaZAM!" (about halfway down the page) has always been one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes strips - the differnce is that now I get to climb out the window and go exploring. Midnight is a great time to start roaming a strange city, after all. No map, no schedule, no agenda other than "consume some food along the way, I'm hungry." Good times.
Singapore is full of neon lights and bridges with underglow; the riverwalk is filled with clubs sheltered by giant polychromatic steel-umbrella mushrooms, which actually looks far less bizarre than it sounds. I'm not the clubbing type, but some of the ones I passed were quite clever; one was called "The Clinic" and had wheelchairs for seats and a "pharmacy" for dispensing drinks. Another had its windows so full of bottles that it looked like stained glass whiskey.
All of them had ridiculously loud music and exceedingly expensive alcohol, so I continued down the waterfront (past lots and lots of couples) until I discovered the Merlion, the giant Ferris wheel, and the Esplanade (the latter looks like a giant rippling blob covered with origami triangles and tiny lights; I think it is a concert hall). More entertaining than these three tourist attractions was the construction going on across the mouth of the river; I stood awhile and watched showers of welding sparks fall from in-progress skyscrapers. It was muggy and a city glittered in the background. Brain was quiet, for a change. This I like.
I finally found relatively cheap eats around City Hall at a Hong Kong noodle stall that's open until 4am - and I reckon I was tired, because I went straight for the comfort food. For me, that's lugaw (congee/rice porridge) with century egg and a big glass of iced Milo (chocolate malt). One of the best parts of a visit home for me usually involves a giant wok full of caramelized onions and ground pork browning, ready to be dumped into a massive pot of lugaw with preserved eggs, maksang (pork floss - I don't know how to romanize this word), and the smoky smell of sesame oil. Add white pepper. Feast. They had snow ice and grass jelly and misua, so if I go back I'll probably get that next time. And earlier today I had dragonfruit for the first time in ages - for those of you unacquainted with the good stuff, it looks like a freakish spiky neon pink eggplant with a white interior speckled with wee black seeds, and it's delicious. Hot dog stuffed with cheese and wrapped with lettuce, mayo, and hot sauce rolled up in roti prata. Bowl of noodles redolent with oyster sauce. Man, you just don't get food like this back in the US.
Squelched across a cricket arena (tropical country, remember: rainstorms all the time means muddy fields) and back through town rather than back along the river. Signs for English language academies, squat little taxis driving on the other side of the road, thick grass and bushes and a stadium and wordlessness. I started singing softly in the empty streets; I only do that when I'm happy and feeling particularly shameless, and I was tonight. The mugginess clings to your shirt and skin and hair and I was soggy and scruffy as hell when I got back to the hotel, but man, did I feel good. Quiet inside, which doesn't come often and doesn't last very long when it does.
Then I repeatedly tried and failed to sleep and ended up working instead. Now the sun is coming up. Ah, wanderlust. I'm going to take a shower and walk in the early morning and see if I can find myself some breakfast that is better (and potentially cheaper) than the Ridiculously Overpriced Downstairs Hotel Buffet Thing.