When you go on holiday for a couple of weeks it is tempting to want to cram in as much as possible, it is exciting to discover a new place. Travelling long term, however, it is impossible to sustain that intense rhythm, and I am certain I would burn out very quickly if I tried. There are destinations I do not treat as a tourist. I have now been to Kuala Lumpur a couple of times where I have stayed with friends but only dealt with admin. That city for me is a home away from home, it is about relaxing and chilling out.
I have been very disciplined about shopping during my trip, reluctant to add extra weight to my suitcase. I’d have to lug any shopping from country to country and it is not practical, so I haven’t. The only things I have bought so far are fridge magnets. I have a very kitsch collection at home, a replica Eiffel Tower from Paris, a Leaning Tower from Pisa, a gondola from Venice and such like. I love them because they make me smile, like those 3 ducks flying in formation people used to have in their sitting rooms from a few decades ago. How could I possibly resist buying a boomerang magnet from Australia or a lotus flower from Thailand? And after nearly six months on the road, other than two long sleeved emergency shirts at Target in Adelaide as weather was cooler than expected, fridge magnets are the only other thing I have bought.
My first day in Singapore I made a half-baked attempt at being a tourist. I went to Little India and walked around all the clothes shops oohing and aahing at the wonderfully OTT saris and dress clothes. The Museum of Singapore was interesting but hard work. The free audio guide was extensive and fiddly, there were several sections per room or painting and it took a long time, so after a while I gave up and headed back home before the rain started pelting down.
As I had only planned to visit hot countries during my trip, my suitcase only consisted of summer clothes but I was heading to China to spend Christmas with my son and would go from temperatures of 30C to -10C. Unless I wanted to freeze I would have to buy a few things. Arriving at the shopping mall in Singapore where I ended up staying all day, was like arriving at an oasis after months of draught…spotlessly clean, everything worked, clean toilets, people spoke English, familiar shops, the credit card made a few appearances, I bought winter clothes, a couple of t-shirts, watched blingy Christmas lights and decorations, listened to jingly bells and songs about Rudolph and Santa, ate macaroons and drank Frappuccinos. Call me superficial, but I really needed that.