Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Nice Saturday

It is possible to survive in Singapore with your sanity intact if you get away from it all occasionally.

Living in Singapore is similar to walking down the cereal aisle at the supermarket. There are thousands and thousands of cereal box shaped apartment blocks across the island. In order to give each community a distinctive look, the blocks are painted different colors. So when you walk around, it is as if you are walking through the giant Fruit Loop section, or the massive Raisin Nut Bran shelf.

Furthermore, construction and destruction are everywhere! You can't walk down a street for five minutes without seeing a building coming down or going up. Streets are constantly being torn up and re-paved. Sometimes I want to walk up to the men with the jackhammer and plead, "give the street a break, it was only paved last week!"

These things really increase the stress level. But I have found my oasis of escape at MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

Today I took the bus there and went for a run. MacRitchie Park is remarkably similar to the state parks in Michigan where I grew up. Beautiful, cool, shady paths and wooden walk-ways surrounded by huge trees, birds and monkeys. Okay, there were no monkeys in Michigan's state parks if you don't count my younger brother (kidding!).

Running around the lake is 11 kilometers. When I got to the far side of the lake, there were army troops stationed every 50 meters or so. They were obviously looking for Mas Selamat Kastari. But there is nothing like a machine gun to give you that extra kick when you're running!

Speaking of Mas Selamat Kastari, did you see the article about his escape in the New York Times yesterday? The title of the article was "Escapee Eludes Search Party of Four Million." It was a pretty funny article. Singapore has really kicked up the juice on their hunt for him. He now has spankin' new, glossy posters at every bus stop written in English, Tamil, Malay and Chinese. So glamorous!

When I finished my run, I was stretching in a pavilion beside the lake. As I was stretching, I was yearning for a place to get food. My eyes wandered up the hill behind me and - whuddayaknow? - a food court! It was like heaven! I sat there for about 45 minutes drinking ice tea, eating a chicken pie and reading my book while watching the huge fluffy clouds float over the lake and feeling exquisite breezes.

But the best thing of all was that I could hear no construction and see no apartment blocks. I can now face another week.


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