Peacocks, Hungry Ghosts and Energising Conversations | 06-120818

National Day. We miss the National Day aerial display (but luckily it’s been impossible to miss the sound and sight of the rehearsals over the past several weeks, and the show continues at the weekend – fireworks, helicopters, naval divers, fighter jets, including an unmanned aircraft!) for a delightful dinner at Barcelona atop Duxton Hill followed by Mamma Mia at the cinema. Turns out to be a good, festive decision. The film is pretty nostalgia tear-inducing in general, and combined with my sweet memories of when my family and I watched the musical on Broadway in 2008, the same year in which the original movie came out, and the fact that an entire decade has passed since then and that my family is currently half the world away from me, made for a pretty wet-eyed experience. I cried all through the film. Sanoop didn’t shed any tears, but he did genuinely like it a lot. You sort of just have to give in to the purely good, positive energy of the phenomenon that is Mamma Mia. It’s really hard not to smile and feel waves of joy spreading in your body when you’re exposed to those glorious Adriatic scenes and that timelessly catchy soundtrack. I’ve been running to it all week as well, and probably will for several weeks to come, haha.

Tropical Vibes. Taking a moment to admire the multiple brightly scarlet stems of the palm trees in our street – and the fact that this ONE bougainvillea has orange, pink AND white flowers. And this glowing evening light canvas:

Surprise Birthday Party for the Inspiring Traveller and Creator of Singapore ‘n’ Beyond and Once in a Lifetime Journey. Held at the newly opened, very swanky (white arches and curves all over the walls and verandah, elegant furniture, great lighting from gilded lamps, giant potted fiddle-leaf fig trees) latin-inspired Panamericana at the Sentosa Golf Club perched on rolling hills above Tanjong Beach, the party offers peacocks (flocks of them in the car park and on the lawns outside the restaurant), a delightful coastal feel and refreshing sea breeze (in case you need it, this place really is a reminder that Singapore is a tropical island), impeccable food (especially the octopus!) and Mexican music… the company is good too; if less surprised (she figured out what was brewing already before her boyfriend started organising the thing, haha), the birthday girl exuded happiness all night, and it was fun to meet her other friends, as we didn’t know any of them beforehand. Interesting mix of world citizens.

Christmas Brekkie. The August edition of 2018’s Monthly Brekkie in a New Place (2017 Christmas gift from me to Sanoop (and, well, myself) features a breakfast burrito to compete with homemade Californian ones (for Sanoop), scrambled tofu, crispy aubergine ‘bacon’ and sourdough toast (me), frozen açai pulp in a creative flowery concoction (to share) and sweeping verandah views of Orchard Road. At Wild Honey. Followed by coffee at The Coffee Academics downstairs. Sanoop orders a cappuccino. I order a slow-drip coffee. Ethiopian beans. After 20-30 minutes of meticulous barista wizardry, I get this instruction: ‘slurp it carefully and sense the notes of jasmine and juniper filling your mouth.’ I do. It is very tasty.

Hungry Ghost. Intricate handmade floating lotus flower paper lanterns and joss paper ingots lining street markets and walkways – these days, the air is thick of incense and smoke from the offerings honouring the Hungry Ghost.

Perfect Dinner Party Chemistry. Saturday night was simply remarkable, especially in its remarkable simplicity. Sanoop and I put on some ABBA music and chopped up a light, fully organic dinner – white potatoes, purple potatoes, butternut squash and carrots baked in the oven with rosemary twigs, turmeric, salt, pepper and olive oil, a salad of chickpeas, kale, red cabbage, tomatoes, avocado, cashews, coriander and a dressing of honey, olive oil, pomegranate vinegar and lemon juice, served along with slices of chickpea bread to dip in turmeric sauerkraut, baba ghanoush, regular hummus and beetroot hummus, followed by a dessert of vegan strawberry and baobab ice cream with a fresh fruit salad drizzled with dried mint – while orange golden hour sunlight came streaming in through the open kitchen windows. A couple of friends came over to chew their way through the veggies with us. As a thank you for hosting us, they brought the tiny, homegrown beginnings of a lemon tree in a pot as well as heaps of presence, positive vibes and general good conversationalist skills. Six hours later, without any other alcohol consumed than a single bottle of wine and some kiwi kombucha, but with endorphins introduced in plenty via interesting stories and insights, contagious curiosity and senses of humour, total alignment, they called it a night and went home. In that time, none of us checked our phones as much as once or even considered going out for a neighbourhood wander to behold the Hungry Ghost offering gatherings, get a few cocktails at a hip local bar, swim in the Highline pool or any other activity that could have been nice… we simply talked, listened, learned, connected. Great topics – and even greater ways of addressing these topics. With no sense of time whatsoever, and with signs of tiredness only slowly starting to creep in long after midnight. Waking up on Sunday, I was filled with energy and inspiration, as a sort of warm, vibrant residue. It’s very precious to find people like that – we all brought out and celebrated the best in each other and ourselves, in a completely natural, effortless way. That’s the kind of evenings and company I want to collect, haha.

Sunday. Yin yoga at Yoga Inc. Reading. Writing. Napping. Watching Sanoop make a fresh batch of chai tea. Breathing in the smell of freshly chopped ginger. He uses a fascinating lot of fresh ginger for the chai. Sketching. Swimming. Breathing. Smiling at the blue skies, white Art Deco houses, green palm trees and Singapore flags waving in the air.

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