Happy Birthday!

The past few days have been very eventful.  We have gone out with other SAS employees to eat unidentified Indian food off of banana leaves with our hands:

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We have moved into our new apartment!  The shipping people were incredibly efficient — they brought everything in, helped unpack every box (read: they took everything out of the boxes and put in on the floors), screwed the feet onto the couch, and took away the enormous piles of cardboard and paper.  No new photos of the apartment yet — it’s still looking a little sparse, and we still haven’t figured out where some of our stuff is going — but we feel like we’re in pretty good shape.

Overall, yesterday went without a hitch, with two major exceptions:

  • The largest part of our three-piece sectional sofa would fit neither in the elevator nor up the stairs.  So now we own a two-piece sectional sofa.  It’s probably just as well, because our apartment is on the small side.
  • Our washing machine walks!  We left for a late lunch yesterday afternoon, and when we returned, the washing machine had broken out of its cabinet and skittered most of the way across the bathroom floor.  Pretty exciting stuff.  Turns out it has a fit whenever it’s on a spin cycle.  So now we’re living amidst piles of dirty laundry as we wait for a Bosch repairperson to show up.  In the meantime, this is what it looks like when your washer tries to make a break for it:

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Today is my birthday, and I decided that I wanted to celebrate by taking some roller coaster rides.  I haven’t been to an amusement park in years.  Fortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), Singapore has taken one of its larger small islands and created a crazy resort playground out of the swamp and jungle.  It’s called Sentosa Island, and it’s both wonderful and awful.  Here’s the view from the Singapore mainland across the boardwalk that takes you to Sentosa:

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We spent the day at Universal Studios.  It reaffirmed the fact that I am (1) not a theme park lover and (2) appreciative of pretty much every single ride out there.  I wanted a hundred more rides and no themes.

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Roller coasters are definitely my favorite.  This park has the world’s largest “dueling” coaster.  On one of the two, you hang upside down and do corkscrews and fly through a fog bank; on the other, you make a 14-story drop.

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We rode a roller coaster in the dark (definitely a good idea), went on “4D” rides (I’m not sure Universal Studios knows what that means), and waited in lines that were far, far too long (though if you ever go to a theme park, splurge and buy the express line pass).  We even took a ride on the carousel — as I said, I like every ride.

What I don’t like are the crowds and the commercialism.  It’s amazing how fake it all feels, even when it’s clear that the corporation that runs the place is trying to make a fantasy land.  I haven’t quite figured out the appeal (and it must be appealing, because thousands of people are taking pictures of Minions and fake dinosaurs and giant statues of Anubis).

When we arrived home in the late afternoon, pretty exhausted from the long day and the heat, we went down to our new pool.

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It’s so amazing to think that exists just seven floors down.  Indeed, this whole apartment complex is making me feel totally spoiled.  There’s an Italian restaurant on the second floor called iO that’s as good as any I’ve ever been to.  Dinner tonight was burrata with arugula, eggplant parm, truffle pasta, and pistachio tiramisu.  Yum.

And if we want, we can have Indian food, or sushi, or Chinese food, all without leaving our square block.  There’s a Starbucks (which is where we’re both sitting, since our apartment currently lacks wifi). We have also discovered (this is for you, Laura Amy) not one, but two, ice cream parlors, including one that makes its ice cream locally and has scoops for surprisingly reasonable prices.  It’s all a bit surreal — though it’s nothing compared to Universal Studios.

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