An exhausting day, but a great one!
I started out at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum which is very close to the hostel, it would have been silly if I had not got there... when I got there the monks were chanting, I'm not sure what the ceremony going on was, but I think they were still going when I'd finished in the museum. Although the temple's fairly new (built in 2007, and in places, particularly the museum, it shows) it's absolutely beautiful and there's a lot to see.
Little India was next on my day's to-do list. I went to the Tekka Centre Hawker Market for lunch where I had an egg and onion roti prata (which came with curry sauce) which is very recommendable, and interesting to watch it being made too. I figured I was still a bit hungry so went and had another local specialty, Chicken Biryani. the serving was huge and instead of a plate, came on a huge leaf. It was delicious but I had to admit defeat. That, and Teh Tarik, were all ridiculously cheap, even by Singapore standards. I wandered up and down Serangoon Road a little. This area of Singapore is quite different to the others I have visited, it's got a totally different cultural emphasis.
When I was ready to move on I headed back to the Chinese Garden for the Lantern Festival. I arrived before dark and there was almost nobody there. Once the sun went down there were a few more people though, and the displays went from pretty to stunning. I even learnt how to light a Chinese paper lantern with a candle inside without incinerating it. There was a show too - lion dancers, a long dragon lantern puppet, dancers from various Chinese traditions, a contortionist and... I'm not sure if the last one was a dancer or a magician or somewhere in between. She produced an improbable number of umbrellas, scarves and silk flowers from seemingly nowhere. As she had no stage furniture of any kind I can only assume she had them SOMEWHERE on her person, but where I cannot tell you. I counted around twenty umbrellas... where the blazes did they all COME from?
The busiest nights of the festival are ahead, and because there were only a few people around the food stalls were almost non-existant. With an ice-cream to keep me going I wandered around, took photos and admired pagodas. There was a lot of wildlife in evidence - lizards, squirrely things, insects (many) and I could hear a lot of frogs once I got away from the lanterns a bit. The one in the photograph was on the garden's lake and depicts a Chinese Legend - that of Ne-Zha (regarding the first two paragraphs of the biography found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nezha_(
And here I am! Tomorrow I have to move to another bed in a different room so will lose a bit of the day working out the logistics of that. I hope to do some geocaching too, not to mention see the Asian Civilisations Museum and have High Tea. I have plans for Sunday and Monday too... and people were telling me I'd run out of things to do in a week...