Nope, I have not left Singapore.
This is probably the biggest mosque in the city on Muscat Street, adjacent to the hip locale of Haji Lane, Arab Street and Bussorah Street. It’s such a majestic sight to behold amidst the little shops along the road. If you come at the right time, one can hear the daily prayers.
I don’t understand what they’re saying, but I find the sounds rather serene, like an ancient hymn echoing in the distance.
Cab drivers always love to play a guessing game with me, trying to figure out where I’m from. I open my mouth and it merits a glance at the rear view mirror to confirm with a polite conclusion, “Ah, you’re not from here”. Almost all the senior cabbies I’ve come across are very gracious, intellectually conversant and have notable modulation.
They also love talking about culture.
Tiny as it may be, Singapore offers diversity of food, people and sound even in a small space.
In our own little convenience store, aisles have an available variety of cheese wedges, sausages beside dokbokki and kimchi. Then the liquor aisle has a vast selection of wine (not bad considering it’s just a corner store type of place) as well as some options for Japanese sake and umeshu (plum wine). In other corners of our district, start with the little Nonya bakery, take two more steps and you have a store for curry puffs and a Filipino eatery. Then a block down and you hit Little Vietnam while stumbling upon a macaroons store. In the next stall, you get brick-oven Italian pizza while a turn to the right is some roast duck for Teochew cuisine. In another direction, the Turkish restaurant is right next to a Northern Indian restaurant, while just a few meters away is an Adriatic restaurant that serves over 100 kinds of beer.
And then a kilometer of two away, there is the seafood park — and entire avenue of restaurants that serve juicy chili crabs.
Where you have that kind of diversity for authentic cuisine, the varying faces and population that flock these places in search of familiar flavors are just as fascinating and captivating.