So come on, come on

March 22, 2010

I woke up today with no agenda to speak of. The night had been eventful, but I didn’t remember it, not even at that early stage of the day. There were things I ought to do, surely, but they weren’t apparent. First on my action-item list was showering: for the last two months, I have been having cold showers. Originally, it was a blessed moment where I wipe the wet heat of 10.30 a.m., but of late my body is less and less willing to be pushed under the cold cone which streams out of the showerhead. This morning I relented, and told my body that as long as it didn’t tell anyone, we could have a hot shower today. But of course; no hot water.

Breakfast was marmalade, the stickiest …anything you can eat. For that, I had to go to the shop in my suit of early morning optimism. I love going to the shop first thing in the morning. It’s something you do when you’re staying with someone special; they’re out of mushrooms, but if you go buy some, they will make you something delicious. You are more than happy to go, you feel a little bit alternative – sure Fuck it, who cares? – you don’t put on any socks. The messier you look, the better. You saunter in, give the old dear behind the counter a roguish grin: a grin that says “I’m only wearing these clothes for Your benefit, missus”. Your earphones are screaming something upbeat to the bright morning, so you have no idea what she says to you as you pay, and you walk out, dancing back in your faux-dressed state.
Of course, here, I’m not going back to anyone, nor to a forty-person fry; I’m going back to an office and construction noise. I didn’t let it get my down; I danced past all the people avoiding me on the footpath, and the cashiers who fix me with dead eyes, force plastic bags on me – “no thanks, I’m Irish”. This early morning activity puts me in a good mood, so I write one of you an email. The others give us a text, fancy some volleyball and drinks? Yeah, I guess we do.
Drink is prohibitively expensive here; but travel is cheap. Amenities are frequently free. The place we are heading to is an island called Sentosa, which is like a further Disneyland inside the Disneyland that is SNG. It’s a designated “fun” area, literally. We figure out a route, end up in some huge centralised shopping installation. It costs us four dollars to cross the city-state consumer fortress of SNG; we do so efficiently. We meet the others; we are seven in total. We split some bad whiskey three ways; others buy bad wine. The monorail speaks to us in some horrible Orwellian monologue: I welcome everyone to Black Mesa, but they don’t get it. I don’t mind, I’m delighted with my little joke, so I repeat it to myself a few times. The monorail takes us through construction areas, where they bend enormous plastic panels into a black mountainside, past hotels, resorts, and an India, which seems to be full of Indians.
We go to the beach, play our volleyball. The beach is lovely and secluded, although artificial; people are hanging out, unsupervised, drinking and running around. The beer comes from a beach bar at beach prices, but it’s cold and the staff are friendly kids. We can’t see any concrete, and the South China Sea is in front of us. Apparently, this is the only place in SNG that is like this.
The little beach bar shack tries to make the construction site behind it inconspicuous. In a month, it will be another managed resort.
I find a lifeguard tower, but am too afraid to slide down the pole.

We drink, talk about Northern Ireland and porn and sharks. We take some photographs. We have a good time as it gets dark. The sunset fades, but is sustained by the colossal refinery across the harbour burning methane in a flame a hundred metres high. The anchored tankers cast their lights across the bay, on to the beach. We take more photographs.
We leave two behind, hooking up, and race for our last trains. We take a break to buy food, continue running through the polished ceramic corridors of the underground, which serve the same (main) function as those in better cities. This is no Underground, no Metro; they allow us no gap to mind.

It was a really good day.




  1. Ho ho ho…mushrooms?I have been there man…and I love it.I know exactly what you mean…eloquent and perfectly put.Another wonderful post

  2. hahaha nice…i especially like the ‘no thank…im irish’ in relation with the plastic bags thing.:)

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