Friday, February 13, 2015

Exploring Singapore: Architecture and Chinese New Year Preparations

Something that constantly amazes me about this country is the way everything always seems so colorful. I love spending hours looking at all the old buildings, comparing their classic beauty to the outrageous architecture of more recently designed apartments and malls.  Of course, the nearly-always-blue skies and leafy greens on every corner help provide some of the color, but the buildings themselves create quite a rainbow as well!

Most of these photographs were taken between Everton Park neighborhood and kind of by Outram MRT station, before Tanjong Pagar. I think. When I was taking these pictures I was wandering without really knowing where I was, so I can't say for sure, but it gives you a bit of an idea if you know Singapore... I suppose... Argh, who really cares where it is,? It looks cool. I mean, look at this picture! The sidewalk was made out of a bunch of different patterned ceramic tiles, and even the wall! So pretty. We learned a little about the Peranakan culture in Singapore in class (basically the native people) and this reminded me of it. I think these actually are Peranakan tiles, based on the fact that when I Google that phrase pictures of similar tiles show up.

 This one was nearer to Chinatown. Even though it's more run-down it still has such a beautiful array of colors.

All these pictures basically are just things I saw when I got off the bus the other day and started wandering around. So. There's not really a story behind this post, it's just cool stuff I thought was pretty... I recently left my internship so that I would have more time for school (and sleep!) but I've been fortunate to also find small pockets of time to get out and explore lately. I feel like there's so much of Singapore I still haven't seen, and I'm only going to be here for two and a half more months! I want to get everything I can out of that time, so I've been exploring various random neighborhoods like this one a lot.

After my gazing-at-buildings-and-trying-to-take-pictures-without-getting-sun-in-my-eyes walk, I meandered over to Chinatown. Which took a while because I didn't know where it was from Everton, only that it was vaguely nearby. So I ended up passing through Tanjong Pagar Market, which was a fun sight, as the vendors were getting ready for Chinese New Year.

Finally I saw this and realized I'd reached Chinatown. Yay! I spent a couple hours there just wandering through the maze of booths and alleys. This was all on a Sunday around noon, so it was hot and sunny and crowded, but I really loved how energized the crowd around me was. 

Red everywhere! Lucky color for Chinese New Year. Red and gold, I think, as those are what I saw EVERYWHERE. Lovely! :)

I ended up coming home with a bag of colorful dried fruits and some Chinese New Year cookies (that were actually made out of tapioca starch and egg whites, so I wasn't allergic to them!). Delicious.

I'm so excited for Chinese New Year next week. Not only do we get two days off school (MUCH-NEEDED LONG WEEKEND) but I also get to see how the holiday is celebrated in an Asian country. In the US my family celebrates the holiday by getting Chinese take-out or making some Americanized Chinese food. Having been to China I can say that what most Americans consider Chinese food is pretty inaccurate... I mean, I love the fried rice and sweet n' sour chicken that my mom makes, but it's not the same kind of cuisine as my host family consumed in Chongqing at all. I've only ever had eel soup in China!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures, and are inspired to do a bit of your own exploring in whatever country you're in. There's always something beautiful to be found- you might just have to get lost a little to discover it!

And Happy Chinese New Year a little early. :)

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