Posted by: Sam Olsen | September 22, 2011

In Sing

We arrived here last night after an extremely pleasant flight with Cathay Pacific – they really can’t do enough for you. Not having flown between HK and Sing before it was good to be able to compare the two firsthand rather than relying on hazy memories. And the first thing is that the taxi drivers actually speak English, which is a big improvement. The second is that you see public servants (e.g. policemen) who are not Chinese – we saw several Indians at the airport. Thirdly, it is flat (-ter) than HK and there is no overwhelming desire to run up hills apparent.

In the hood

And fourthly, as anyone who saw my twitter feed knows, there is wildlife here above and beyond a mangy sparrow. Dropping off to sleep at Henri and Stewart Paterson’s house last night, where they are kindly hosting us, the helpers started screeching and banging. As they are two sisters we thought they might be just messing around. But this morning it turns out that an Equitorial Spitting Cobra (not a Black Cobra, as was first reported) tried to get in the house last night through the kitchen. The helpers immediately screamed and ran off, which woke us up, but then bravely returned. One was going to boil the kettle – pouring hot water on them is a local trick, so I hear – but meanwhile the other flicked it with a stick. At that point it flew into a rage and started weaving and hissing. But no sooner had it started then it stopped, and fled into the night. I bet the helpers didn’t have the best night’s sleep after that.

Today the rain is coming down hard, so while Aggie goes to work I’m going to learn the Mandarin for ‘venom’, ‘flood’ and ‘exhaustion from walking up hill all the time even with an escalator’.


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