The first impression of foreign visitors is usually their experience at the airport and the ride out. If that proves to be more stressful than the flight itself, then that certainly levels expectations. Tragically, that’s the way the cookie crumbles in my city. While I relish such convenience in most cities I visit, it depresses me that we don’t have the same luxury back home. Case in point: Shanghai. I flew in past midnight with my girlfies, Perfy and Vang. No other choice but to take a taxi. Metered, no haggling and overcharging. For our return flight, we could not pass up taking the Maglev train, the first in the world.
Bhaktapur / Pokhara / Kathmandu, Nepal and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
February 25 – March 1, 2013
The low-hanging sun and a blanket of yellow flowers conspired to set a Pokhara hillside ablaze. This field of gold, one of enchanting natural beauty, was comprised of mustard plants, their flowers looking every bit as bright as the sauce squirted on hotdogs. Miles away in Bhaktapur, the dusty, sunny valley was similarly touched by Midas. I was reminded that it took mustard seed faith for me to realize my dream of visiting Nepal, and that dream bloomed before my eyes like a mustard flower.
Singaporean cuisine was certainly not bad; it just was not distinctive. The city was a melting pot, so was its kitchen. Local dishes called to mind other Asian cuisines. Rather “reductive,” to borrow Madonna’s vocabulary. Still, I relished all its familiarity, more so its sweets. As the most universal taste, sweetness did not demand uniqueness.