Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cultural Singapore

Another day of sightseeing and we’re back in Little India.
What can we say – we are in love with the culture, food, and people of the SE Asia Indian population.We did a little more research and wanted to see the temples in the area, both Hindu and Buddhist. First things first, we were looking for another great lunch and a local merchant suggested we try an unnamed banana leaf restaurant up the street. As we walked up we noticed the lunch crowd was heavy with Chinese, Malay, and Hindu seated at tables on the sidewalk surrounding the corner shop. We grabbed an empty table and flagged down a waiter and order a plate of crispy veggies.Although heavier than expected due to the chickpea flour, delicious nonetheless. Soon our banana leaf lunches arrived and we dug in.Not knowing what vegetarian items will be served with banana leaf lunches is the half the fun of ordering, the other half is eating it. Lucky for Anne her favorite okra-potato curry was included in the meal.
And Mike got his favorite tandori chicken.
We may be jaded since we have had several banana leaf meals, but this particular lunch was very heavy and we quickly found ourselves full and couldn’t finish even half of it.
So we simply sat back and enjoyed the yummy pulled teaand watched the procession of tourist rickshaws.
We quickly made our way to the Sri Veeramkaliamman Temple, which was filled with worshippers.All the Hindu Temples we have visited were always packed with worshippers who never seem to notice us and usually invited us to participate and take pictures of ceremonies that take place with little fan fare and among a lot of chatter and activity which never seen to take away from the shaman’s sermons.Which to be honest made it easy for us to stand and watch, but not feel awkward about walking around the temple as people prepared offerings and bathed statues in milk.Out of the numerous Hindu Temples we have visited, the Sri Veeramkaliamman Temple’s statues were by far one of the more morbid ones.We walked along the beautifully colorful colonial housesto several Buddhist templesWhat looked like a small neighborhood temple held a large seated Buddhaand the most interesting collection of small buddhasWe walked up the street to several more templesWe visited several more hindu temples, which were by far the most ornate buildings we have ever seenBy this time we were tired from the heat and walking and wanted to find a place to have a beer. Cousin Peggy suggested before we left that morning to check out Chinatown, especially for souvenirs. Singapore's Chinatown turned out to be a long alleyway right at the top of the Chinatown rail stop.Touristy and full of souvenir shops and stalls, Chinatown turned out to be the perfect stop for a beer, a little shopping, and people watching at the end of another great day.

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