Friday, June 25, 2010

My last day in Singapore

Hello dear everyone,

I can see so much better with my new eyeball I can't believe it. That's the good news. The not as good news is that it raised the pressure in that eye, which will take more monitoring. It's a familiar feeling, hearing the doctor remind me, AGAIN, that I have a "very advanced" case of glaucoma. I leave there feeling like I got punched in the stomach.

But I was watching a TED talk (do you know about them? You should!) where the speaker was talking about happiness. And he made the obvious point that not all conditions lend themselves to happiness in the same way. Winning the lottery, for example, wouldn't be comparable to having an accident that leaves you a paraplegic. He showed a graph of the two groups, one year after the incident, which showed the lottery people much happier, as you'd expect. But then he said he made that data up, and changed the graph to the real data. There was almost NO difference between the happiness levels of the two, only one year after either winning the lottery or becoming a paraplegic. Something flashed in my brain - an understanding, a realization, something. And I knew, with at least a moment's clarity, that what he was pointing at was true. If I do lose my eyesight, the transition will certainly be difficult. And I don't want it to happen. But the IDEA of it is the worst part. I'll adjust, and it will be fine. I'm just not going to intentionally spend my life's energy worrying about something that either will or won't happen, regardless of whether I'm worried. I can be full of fear, or I can be full of love. I choose love!

Am I always going to have that fearless and loving attitude? No. That's why they call it "practice."

I had some Singapore stories, but it's three in the morning, and I'm flying tomorrow night to France, of all places. I'm sort of expecting to spend the summer in Europe, some of it with friends and some on my own. I don't know how to be in Europe on my own, so it's going to be a challenge. I will keep you posted!

Love, love, sometimes fearless love,

The 35 photos below can also be found at this link. They were all taken with my little Canon point-and-shoot:

Breakfast one day at a place called Jones Market.
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The biggest Ben & Jerry's store I've ever seen. This is only part of it. See the next pic...
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More Ben & Jerry's. A big restaurant and a stage for live music (out of picture range).
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This couple is getting married in September and were taking some photos in front of Ben & Jerry's.
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Don't smoke - go to jail. It's the law.
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I love it when my joviality lie fallow. (And I love mangled English!)
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The view out of Ann and Adam's 8th floor condo. It's uncommon to have that amount of greenery in Singapore. They are up against a nature reserve.
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The living room of the house, with just a peek of the dog who barely tolerates me!
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Lovely Rita, cook and housekeeper extraordinaire. She seriously cooks the best scrambled eggs. I came home tonight and, sure enough, there was a fruit plate waiting for me in the fridge - papaya and grapes. My clothes are washed and folded on my bed. I want to put her in my pocket and take her with me.
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Furball. Rita's in the back watching Wheel of Fortune, which she loves as much as my Mom did.
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What do they embroider with eyebrows? Socks??
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Europe and Singapore have had this technology for years - showing how many parking spaces are available in various parking lots. I've never seen it in the States. Oh, and Tom Cruise. I can't believe I used to be a fan.
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This price, in Singapore dollars, is the equivalent of US$10.75. It wouldn't be so surprising if it was just in one or two shops. But it's in every 7-11 (yes, the same company we have at home) and there are HUNDREDS of 7-11's here. WHO is willing to pay almost $11 for a pint of ice cream? And how can so many people afford it?? I don't get it.
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Here's a poster with all four official languages. It's for a nationwide team contest to lose weight.
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This is where I ate lunch today. I had veggie curry, since I don't eat meat. 
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There are almost as many Starbucks here as in Seattle, he exaggerated. But probably as many as in San Francisco.
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How many uber-trendy shops can one city support? Answer: a lot.
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This was an ad in a magazine at my doctor's office. I have always loved getting REALLY irritated by fashion magazines that show the prices where, for example, a pair of shorts cost $1,180. Someone is losing their mind. Is it me? I read an article from the magazine's editor that could only be described as fashion porn, where he described in American Gigolo detail a young man on an airplane, impeccably dressed, and carrying an extra shirt. His epiphany, I shit you not: Style IS Substance! He called it an epiphany. In writing. Apparently he wasn't embarrassed by it. (I think it is me...)
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A waterfall, coming down this wall.
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A closer view. It looks like it's in black and white, but it's a color photo.
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More of the same wall.
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This monstrous art piece is named "Fountain of Wealth." I get a little choked up thinking about it. Wait - I'm not choking up - that's just bile. It's billed as the largest fountain in the world.
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This is a koi pond in front of Tony Roma's rib restaurant. This place has more American franchises than America does. (That was sarcasm, if you missed it!)
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I'm standing in a shopping mall as I look into this restaurant and snap this photo. It's not uncommon to have trendy places in malls, and be quite open.
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This is the Singapore Flyer, the world's tallest ferris wheel, at 541 feet above ground (165 meters.) Those beer cans mounted on the side aren't beer cans - they're about 25 feet long and some of them are outfitted with dining tables and chairs. You can have a meal on this ride. Just going around once (no meal!) costs $21. I passed. (This photo looks I just held the camera up and snapped. Hah! I was laying on the ground, using the self-timer, adjusting the focus manually, and eventually propping the camera up on small bushes for this one. A tripod seems like a good idea.)
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Some new fancy-pants bridge.
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Fancy Pants Bridge from the inside. There's no people here cuz this portion isn't open yet.
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"FPB" to the locals.
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Hey! New construction! That's what they need. It's starting to look a little run-down and tired in Singapore.
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I had a photo of this building in an earlier newsletter. It's called the Marina Bay Sands. It's 57 stories, and the roof has an "infinity" pool on that massive roof that is something like 450 feet long (150 meters.) It's just opened this weekend to gawkers who are willing to pay S$20 (US$14) to go to the top. I was going to, but ran out of steam.
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This is inside part of the same development. It's a hotel, casino, shopping mall, and convention center. It's still being built, but is partially open.
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Uh, the financial district maybe? I don't know. The lights on the water are nice.
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"Go big or go home" seems to be the motto for Singaporean architects. It is impressive stuff, that's for sure. This is outside the mall looking back into it.
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And here's the view from the same place, looking to the left. You can just see the Singapore Flyer in the distance.
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This is looking up in the lobby of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It reminds me of San Francisco's Hyatt Regency.
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This is  a model of the development in the lobby. This was midnight tonight, and I took a taxi home. I was beat!
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(The End!)