Jet lagged in Singapore

Cold air conditioning, hot doona, jet lag. Reasons to write instead of sleeping at 4:00 am.

We touched down in Singapore to the welcome from the hostess over the intercom that should we enter Singapore with drugs, the penalty is capital punishment. My mind rummaged through my cases searching for those various pills, lotions and potions that had labels written next to a guillotine image. I’ve tried dozens of remedies for my hay fever and the current nasal spray could only scratch a “needs improvement” at the best on a report card. Thinking that this had to be the only real drug I was carrying, I concluded that the Singapore method might be the one cure for my hay fever that really works.

One drug I did need after an uncomfortable flight was coffee, thinking of the 90 euro cent shots I had become used to each morning, “Cafe solo, Senor. Gracias.”

I was immediately reminded of where we were when I ordered and was asked three times,

“You want two shots of coffee in a cup? No milk? Nothing else with it?”

I received it in an extra large paper cup, a half inch of the golden liquid way down the bottom. As he handed me the cup, he said “Is this what you want, Sir?” giving the coffee a look which really said, “Are you really going to give me $4.00 for this?”

The coffee was good.

I read somewhere when we were in Portugal that the one thing people from that country miss when they travel away, is their coffee. I know what they mean.

The hawker food stall we ate at in Changi Village two years ago was just around the corner from our hotel.


It’s where the locals from the nearby housing estates come to eat at tables where food is prepared in small kitchens. It’s a busy place and though we were there early just after six, we usually eat at ten, the clanging of metal spoons on woks came from every kitchen. The airline magazine said that Singapore imports 93% of its food but we were hoping to eat something fresher than the Coles, “baked fresh made in the Netherlands two months ago sourdough” we eat at home.

We browsed for a while, receiving some casual looks from the locals as we were the only foreigners in sight. We considered the mushroomed chicken feet but settled for a fine fried rice, BBQ chilli chicken wings and a chilli seafood goreng which all went down a treat.


All good for $10 and much better value than the hotel tourist price we paid for two glasses of wine to wash it all down later. For $28 we could have fed ourselves for another three nights around the corner. They sold San Miguel beer, another percent on the food import, and I chatted to the waiter about Spanish beer and food and forgetting where I was thanked him, Gracias, senor.”

Which reminded me of an incident in Roses when we bought sandwiches at a Netherlands Supermarket. When asked by the tall, blond, blue-eyed Dutch girl if I’d like mayonnaise, forgetting where I was, I replied, “Yes! Oui! Si!.” Which made us laugh and for someone to write it as a joke in the SMH the other day.

An Australian, a Frenchman, a Spaniard and a German are walking down the street together. A juggler is performing on the street but there are so many people the four men can’t see the juggler. So the juggler goes on top of a platform and asks: ”Can you see me now?” The four men answer: ”Yes.” ”Oui.” ”Si.” ”Ja.”

Si ja soon.

Roses and Cadaques, Catalunya

We took a boat trip up the coast to Cadaques, a village where Salvador Dali spent some time. There is a statue of him in the town near a bar to encourage people to stop and take photos and have a beer, which we did.


The town is not at all like Roses in that it is a little more of a traditional fishing town without any, or much development. Still, the beach is made of rocks and not sand and there are hills behind the beach, so the hour or so we spent there was mostly in the lower parts, near the Dali statue.



The boat trip home from Cadaques was entertaining with a long chat to the boat hand who had received a clip on the ear by the flash on my camera when it popped up as he was passing by. I gave his ear and neck a friendly massage and he took my camera and took a photo of us before sitting down to chat for an hour. He was from Morocco and reminded us, Tom and Kay, of a grown up Ronaldo.

IMG_0962It was a good day and a nice way to wind up our trip.



We cleaned out the car and found beers and wine we had bought on a whim over the last few weeks so thought we should at least make some effort to savour the local wares we had tasted then bought weeks back. So, needless to say, the last couple of days have been lazily spent with liquid lunches, afternoons and evenings trying to get rid of the four bottles of wine we found rolling around the car. By this evening we managed to get rid of two and a bit but had made no impression on the beers I bought weeks ago in Madrid. We decided before dinner to take them down to the restaurant and give them to the food and beverage manager to distribute to his workers.

He was a serious faced man with not a lot of hair, correctly dressed in shirt and tie and each night directed us formally, with not much of a smile, to our table.

“We’re going home to Australia in the next couple of days, so we’d be happy for you to give these to your kitchen staff for Christmas,” I said handing over a big shopping bag filled with a dozen cans of beer.

His serious face disappeared and he smiled for the first time in three days and took the beer to the kitchen.

“That was easy. Just a bottle and half of wine to finish and that’s it.” we said to each other and sat down for dinner pleased to see the manager was happy at last.

Before we had a chance to get up for the buffet, a bottle of red wine appeared at the table for us, compliments of the kitchen! We ate and left half the bottle for the kitchen and waved good-bye to our new found friend in the manager who beamed at us as we climbed the stairs to our room. Gee this is good fun!

We drive to Barcelona tomorrow and fly home on Sunday so once again, that’s about it, folks. See you all soon.


Back in Spain on the Costa Brava

After spending all day on Tuesday driving over the five mountains of the Tour stage we saw on the weekend, I have come to the conclusion that cyclists are a strange breed of human being. The pros on Sunday road up five horrendous mountains which gave me repetitive strain injuries in the elbows and hands from following the route driving around hairpins for five hours.


These are the mountains we drove over and they rode! Madness from at least one of us.


We eventually reached a lovely town Quillan, at the edge of the Pyrenees and stayed there the night, browsing the Wednesday market in the morning.

We thought that after a number of days in the mountains, we needed a rest on the coast and have a few days in Roses on Spain’s Costa Brava. Tom was here a few weeks ago. And this is a different holiday. On the beach, walking and riding the foreshore, lounging by the pool all to get ready for the flight on Sunday. We thought it might be quiet but the place is full of thousands of Spanish and French on holiday, but that is fine, so are we.


We sat this morning on two chairs close to the beach in front of a tap beach goers use to wash themselves. I wrote in my book and Sharon read from hers in between near naked women squatting in front of us washing sand from bits and pieces. Needless to say, my book is full of scribbles.