Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gloomy Monday

I love the movie and song but that's another story.

Monday was the last day of Graeme's visit and it was obvious the heavens knew this because in the last few hours of our time together, the skies opened and wept the tears of parting.

Graeme and I spent the day shopping around for some fabulous antique carvings for his new pad in San Diego. I was so glad I remembered C K and his little curiosity shop right at the end of Serangoon Road. I've always loved the cramped, dusty shop full of retro and antique fans, lamps, bed frames, cupboards, signboards and all sorts of knicks and knacks that so define C K's taste for ye old stuff that ye ole grandparents threw away before ye ole tantrums made them stop.

It also helps that C K is rather cute and loves to chat, making a visit to his shop always fun and interesting. OK, OK .. I admit it, I like me eye candy.

This time around, I noticed that C K had done some major cleaning up! There was hardly any dust anymore. I was slightly disappointed. The film of fine dust pluming up when you accidentally brushed against something added an asthma-inspiring charm that made me feel like an intrepid adventurer. Still, I was glad to see that his quirky collection of curiosities still remained.

Unfortunately, C K only had a few pieces of wooden carvings left and unbeknownst to us then, he sold a personal favourite to Graeme. It was a lovely piece and I am sure he sold it to us because we recognised and appreciated it's beauty, artistry and uniqueness. He also very generously sent us to another shop in Chinatown which had more of the wooden carvings we were looking for.

At first I was a little dubious. While I knew a few shops in Chinatown sold some rather spectacular pieces, I also knew the prices were inflated to cater to the tourists . But C K assured me that his friend's shop offered cheaper prices than his! I decided to take his word for it and Graeme and I trudged through the many tacky souvenir shops to a little shop right in the heart of Chinatown.

Now C K not only makes it to my list as cute, interesting, unusual, generous and passionate (about his work, you pervy lot!) ... but also honest. He was right. The shop was a treasure trove of beautiful antique Chinese wood carvings. Graeme and I were in seventh heaven and spent hours poring through each and every carving. They were so amazing and reasonably priced that Graeme decided to purchase four instead of the two to match the one he bought at C K's.

But for some reason ... well actually, Graeme and I decided that he was just lazy ... the shopkeeper was very reluctant to ship the carvings to the US and insisted that Graeme was better off hand carrying these antique carvings on the 18-hour flight home. We decided to pay a visit to the local post office and mail these instead.

Now, my favourite post office in Singapore is the Killiney Road branch. The people there actually understand you without once emitting that sharp "AAhhh?!!" of many other post office employees. The Indian bloke in charge of packages (that sounds a bit rude somehow) is super nice and would even give you advice on how better to pack or send your stuff home or to friends. The only drawback is that it's usually packed with people but Graeme and I were lucky that day and barely had to wait 30 seconds before we were served.

A frenzy of packing, taping and pellet abusing ensued. Oh, we also packed the carvings. Everything was going so smoothly which is always a sign that something will go wrong, innit? Just as we were preparing to leave, a huge clap of thunder resounded above the post office. The skies were a sullen gray while sheets of petulant rain pelted the pockmarked puddles gathering outside the post office. We were trapped.

What to do except take out my camera and snap a couple of shots while Graeme and I chatted about inconsequential things and waited out the storm. This being Singapore, we were not sure if and when it would end so the moment it let up, we made a run for it. Needless to say, I was drenched and the trip home in the overly-air-conditioned train did not help.

Yesterday was spent with 3A Gurl as we listened to music and watched a really corny old movie that was obviously the Basic Instinct of its time. Yes, there was a lot a giggling. It was a good thing 3A Hubby did not come home till late or he would have sffered mightily. But I knew something was wrong as I went home. I was terribly knackered and slow ... slower than normal.

Waking up today, I realised the drenching and subway cryogenation of my gloomy Monday had enticed the dreaded flu to make yet another visit. I decided to nip it in the bud and consumed phenomenal amounts of hot tea and dressed as if I was in the Winter Olympics ... not the ice skaters, the skiiers! After a conversation with 3A who advised me to have a hot soup with chilli, which acts as an antioxidant, I went scouting around the nearest food court. Unfortunately, for some reason, many of the stalls were closed and I was left with the Malay food stall. But that works for me - I love Malay food. Until they told me they had nothing left but lontong. Fortunately I love lontong but I do not quite think this was what 3A meant. Oh well ...

On the walk home, guess what? It started pouring again. This is the third day in a row I've been drenched by the rain. By the time I managed to dig out my brolly from my cavernous bag, struggle to open it without dropping or spilling anything and hold it upright while juggling my bag and plastic bags of food and groceries, I was half drenched and panting like a wild animal. The hot and spicy lontong and a steaming cup of ginger tea were extremely welcomed as well as a hot shower and thick, warm clothes.

April showers. Hate them.


Blogger 3A Gurl said...

yah you be right there, gurl. i was referring to something like mee ayam soto or maybe chicken tom yam. oh well..hope your lontong was good.

10:42 pm  
Blogger michelle said...

parting is such sweet sorrow, no? Those wood carvings look beautiful. I would love to get a few someday when I actually have a place to put them. I hate April showers too...heck, I hate showers from November to July! Feel better soon, Stephanie!

4:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Stephanie, for taking me around Singapore to look for those wooden carvings - I can't wait to receive them now! And thanks for posting the pictures - I can show Oscar all the torrential rain shots this evening when he comes round - and I've made the one of me holding the rabbit wood carving my desktop background until the genuine article arrives in the post.

Thanks again!

(Missing you already!)


10:13 am  
Blogger MM said...

3A - It was OK but it was strange how all the other stalls were closed and even this stall only had lontong left. Most odd.

Michelle - The rest which I did not take a picture of were really lovely too! You know, they're not very big and can fit anywhere! And pssst, they don't cost all that much too ... but don't tell anyone! Ta for the well wishes ... now I know why they use the term "under the weather".

Graeme baby! Totally my pleasure! I still think it's amusing how Oscar likes storms. I've got more pictures of us but I was wondering if I should email them to you or post them. Let me know which method you prefer - these are the ones I took during our impromptu photo session!

4:52 pm  

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