|You can't fool me by changing colours|
I try to ride at least 25 km on my bike at the crack of dawn. It is an early start and even still, I return so drenched from the humidity, that I barely manage to peel off my clothes and pitch them in the laundry. My neighbour's maid has seen more than her share of my "Moon Over Miami" streaking across the kitchen tiles. Each day is an adventure and I always encounter something unusual that intrigues me.
Today was no exception. Some days I ride at breakneck speed; and then I am passed by a 75 year old man on a roller skates. Other days are leisurely photo op days. Today was the latter and I was well rewarded for dilly dallying.
On the shaded bike path I encountered some captivating views. While many of the sites were fascinating, this one had me shaking my head. I often see the Help walking Golden Retrievers with jackets and red booties. They must be protecting their paws from the ice and snow that will freeze their pads in Singapore. I would love to see the maids (because it is always the maids that walk the dogs) wrestling the booties on in the early morning light. Yesteday I saw a man skateboarding, carrying his Schnauzer. I am sorry, I thought a dog was supposed to walk, on a walk. That is why it is called a WALK. But today was the strangest "stroller" I have run across on my cycling trips. I saw an expat walking his green Eclectus parrot. Yes, I said a parrot. How he got a leash to fit over its beak, I will never know.
|Locals fishing on the jetty|
I took a right turn and rode down the Bedok jetty to watch the fishermen casting off from the pier. One Uncle with a flannel hat and no teeth must have been amused by my wonderment because he wanted to show me his catch of the day. He had about 50 piddling fish that he called King Fish. He said they made good sardines and rewarded me with a toothless grin.
|Dammit, I am not a coconut|
I continued on where I found a tremendous treat. There is a fascinating tree in Singapore called the Cannon Ball Tree. Many people ignore this tree, thinking the fruits are coconuts, therefore missing an amazing site. The fruits are huge, perfect spheres, resembling, of course, Cannon Balls. Today I was presented the opportunity to see these majestic trees in full bloom. The flowers are larger than a man's fist and breathtaking when you see this ancient tree covered in orange, scarlet and pink blossoms. Imagine riding, if you will, and seeing mango, guava, banana and coconut trees. No need to have the Blue Plate Special with those fresh fruits ripe for the picking.
A little further down the path, where the foot traffic thinned, I had a chuckle over an Auntie that undoubtedly had the Groupon Special. Her freshly permed hair resembled marmalade cotton candy, dyed perfectly to match Ronald McDonald's coiffure. Her husband walked several meters ahead of her, not because of an Asian cultural thing, I imagine he was mortified to be seen with her. Oh to be a fly on the wall when her children saw this frizzy do.
"You tell her. She likes you best."
"No, you tell her. I am not telling her she looks like Ronald McDonald after he received a swirly in McHappyland's loo."
While I do take great pleasures in my rides, there are also things that drive me to drink. I am sure all bike riders want to pulverize the "Biking Texters." Nothing says "idiot" as much as someone riding straight for you as they text, blather on the phone and ride with no hands. There is a reason cell phones are banned in cars; doubly dangerous on a bicyle. And of course, we have the family bikes that swerve all over the paths with as many people as they can cram into a four seater bike. "We must get our money's worth so let's invite the neighbourhood to jump on for a ride."
There are also the snazzy, spandex, uber-hip racers that dart down the bike path like they just took a coffee break from the Tour de France. These racers make riding look so effortless as they glide past you in their matching lycra, sleek helmets, mirrored sunglasses and bikes that cost more than my car in Canada. Now my bike is no slouch; everything costs a fortune in Singapore, but my mere $1,500 for a ultra-light hybrid pales in comparison to the $15,000 these Lance Armstrong wannabes pay for the privilege to kick my ass on the path.
|Join two and sell as dress on Orchard Road|
If you find my decaying, rigid body flattened by a lorry because for the umpteenth time I forgot "traffic on the left," just pry off my happening Maui Jim sunglasses and my rocks from R2 to pay for the kids' college. Don't worry about the bike, it will be long gone. I have been told these hybrid bikes are the hottest ticket thefts in Singy. You can identify my bike by the matching pink horn and water bottle holder, and a guy that is too short, struggling to ride off into the sunset.
With all this sight seeing, you wouldn't think I would have time to reflect on how fortunate I am to be living on the Tiny Red Dot. Yes, it is hot and the bugs are creepy but the early mornings and the evenings are beyond description. The scenery is breathtaking; more than I could imagine or ever hope to see, after living on a bald, prairie province my entire life.
I am near dead by the end of my ride so I slow down and weave in and out of the foreign workers brought here to reshape the ever changing landscape of Singapore. These men literally pull up the sidewalk, take off their Personal Protective Equipment, cover their faces and sleep in the mid-day sun until they go back to their back-breaking manual labour. I try to avoid running over the tailless cats and breathe a sigh of relief when I see my Penthouse in the distance. I never know what tomorrow will bring in Singapore, but for now, I think I will go have a tall glass of Teh Tarik and plan my monkey hunt through the rain forest.