Let these days roll in, it’s about time.
Off Jalan Basar, it’s humid, bubbly and a public holiday. Everyone in the world needs to have fun. Everyone needs to take time out. Everyone needs to explore.
My vantage point is one which is shaped by distance, luck and a sprinkling of hard work. But mostly the first two. My home, Melbourne, is the greatest city in the Southern Hemisphere.
For now, its going to take the backseat.
On day one – I’m not here to talk too much about home or what’s to come. I’ve learnt that most of the time, getting from A to B is very possible as long as we allow for a few adventures in between.
I think that my map will follow the shape of a boomerang. It generally has. Where that boomerang goes before getting home, well that’s anyone’s guess. Apparently, I’m heading to Germany to study. A concept which really doesn’t feel real but exciting nonetheless.
I’m supposed to be living in Freiburg, a university city of 200,000 which speaks a language that’s part of my heritage but mostly unfamiliar.
That’s also exciting. Also, a little unreal.
In life’s great time scale – I’m bolting towards that destination. Three days in Singapore, followed by six in Chennai. An accelerated version of the old Australia – Europe sea voyage.
Destination number one is pretty magnificent. Twists and turns through different cultures. Tamil street art morphs into hawker food on the corner as old and new towers mark this city as one of the world’s finest international hubs.
- Singapore – keep looking up!
Almost 75 years ago, my Grandad went AWOL from this city and the RAF days before the Brits’ pearl in the colonial crown fell to the Japanese. It was the continuation of a rapid history of reinvention.
Walking through Little India and China Town, the aesthetics of that uneasy time are just visible. Colourful wooden façades, gritty laneways and windy streets frame a city that once shaped itself.
Travelling in 2017, the sense of distance of the old Empire can only be imagined. Looking to a row of microbrews from across the world, pictures of ‘nitro’ coffee being Instagramed and smart phones interrupting conversations – this world has become fiercely accessible.
Reaching the equator from Melbourne takes as long as a day in the office and costs the same as a flight to Perth. Unreal – much like this city.
Singapore is an unapologetically impressive place. Turn a blind eye to the blanket authoritarianism and you have a city which accommodates a multicultural heritage, a desire to progress and a legacy of colonialism and rampant commerce.
Excepting the unexpected, these reflections will mostly stem from Germany from the eyes of a parochial Melbournian.
Accepting the unexpected, the ideas will hopefully flow from all over the place.
Enjoy, pause and keep exploring.
Day 1 – Little India (1.09.17)