Thursday, September 07, 2006

Singapore Rocks to Wu Bai & China Blue

Let me begin by saying that I understand why a discount airline is called a discount airline. I flew Jetstar Asia to Singapore because the price was right. That price did not include a meal. Oh no, if I wanted food, I had to pay for my meal (and beverage), and no food not purchased on the plane was allowed to be consumed.

Fine, then, I'll buy it. I hadn't eaten since around 1:00 p.m. on Friday, and it was now coming up on 8:00 p.m., and I was starved. The food cart starts down the aisle, not far from me, because I'm in row 8. I can smell it, and I'm getting hungrier by the minute. There were three choices on the menu: Egg Noodle with Seaweed Roll and Mixed Vegetables, Fried Rice with Chicken Teriyaki and Sauteed Vegetables, and Nasi Rampai with Sambal Fish and Sayur Lodeh. The last item was completely incomprehensible to me, and the seaweed roll put me off the first, so chicken teriyaki it would be. The cart reached the row in front of me. Suddenly, the plane began bucking as it hit turbulence, and the captain ordered the crew to return to their seats. The cart was whisked away. Nooooo!!!! I'm so hungry!!!! Finally, after 10 or 15 minutes, the cart returns, and it's my turn. "I'll have the chicken teriyaki." The pretty, perky flight attendant made a little moue. "Oh dear, I'm so sorry, but we're out of that." Huh? How is this possible? I'm in row 8 for crying out loud! "Uh, fine, then I guess I'll have the fish thing." Again with the moue. "Oh dearie me, so sorry, I've just given the last one to my colleague. We have egg noodle with seaweed roll." "Well, what exactly is that?" "It's egg noodle with seaweed roll." "Never mind, can I just buy some nuts and some water?" I'm not gonna pay $5.00 US for something that sounds yucky. If they served it free, I'd try it, but I'm NOT paying for it.

The nuts didn't go far, and about an hour and a half before landing, the cart came around again. "Would you like to purchase a beverage?" a different perky, pretty girl asked. "Food?" I said hopefully, hoping to score some cookies. "Oh, gosh, gee, I'm so sorry, there is none." And then, as the cart returned to the front, at a speed only slightly slower than the speed of light, I heard the guy who was pushing it saying under his breath, "Drinks? Snacks? Drinks? Snacks?" but before my brain had a chance to say, "Hey...wait a minute, snacks is food!" the cart was gone. WTF? Stupid perky flight attendant doesn't know that nuts, candy bars, and cookies are in the FOOD group?

So, I landed in Singapore ready to chew on the arm of the person in front of me at immigration. Luckily they're quite speedy there, and I was into the baggage check area in no time, grabbing my bag and going out into the mob of waiting people, wondering how the hell I'd find Tona and Lee Ying. I only had to look around for a couple of minutes, though, before spotting them, and the first words out of my mouth were "FEED ME NOW!" We jumped into the car, where David had been waiting for us, and off we went for my first taste of Singapore food. That food was prata with chicken curry, and it was sheer heaven. The restaurant was Muslim Indian, I believe, and was quite crowded even at midnight. I managed not to faint away while we waited for the food. After the meal we drove to Tona and David's place (check out the nice view from their living room window), dropping Lee Ying at her stop on the way, and then hit the sack.

Saturday Tona and David took me for breakfast to a place that serves pork rib soup, known in Singapore at Bak Kut Teh. This is a marvelous broth with lots of roasted garlic and strips of lean pork, along with some sort of green veggie. They told me this is one of Wu Bai's favorite things to eat in Singapore (and this is a photo of his favorite shop), and I see why. I ended up buying some of the do-it-yourself seasoning packets at the grocery store to use here at home. After breakfast we drove around, with Tona pointing out various sites to me. We stopped briefly in Chinatown and walked around, but it was pretty hot, and Tona is five months pregnant and tires easily, so we didn't push it. We went to a shopping mall to meet Angela and Takasan for just a little while, and we went around to some used bookstores but didn't find anything good. Then later in the afternoon we collected Lee Ying and went to dinner for another Singapore specialty, Hai Nan Chicken Rice (along with some fried tofu and veggies and beer for me). The chicken is cooked in a seasoned broth and then allowed to cool, and the rice is cooked in the broth, the special seasoning giving the rice a great flavor. A light soy sauce is poured on the chicken, which is on a bed of cucumbers when it's served. Very yummy, and I bought the fixings for that, too.

After dinner it was off to the concert venue, picking up Lee Yang on the way, where we met up with Angela, Lilian, and the other Singapore fans, most of whom I didn't know (and my memory sucks, so I don't even remember everyone's names). We didn't have to wait outside long before they let us in, and we found our seats pretty close to the front. The front four rows had not even been available to the public for purchase, all reserved for special folks. Too bad, because those folks didn't even bother to stand up during the show. Lame arseholes. Why don't they let the real fans have the good seats?

The first part of the concert was Zhang Zhen Yue and Free Night, along with guest MC Hotdog. I don't mind their music, especially "Wo Ai Tai Mei" and the "oh Mama, wo yao qian" song, but ZZY was a bit down that evening. Not surprising since a couple weeks before his girlfriend (or close friend, depending on the source) committed suicide. It's a wonder he was performing at all. The crowd was rather subdued, and it was obvious that most of us were there for Wu Bai & China Blue.

And then the real fun began, with Da Mao hitting the stage and sitting at his keyboards, and then Wu Bai coming on for the opening number, Summer Night Wind. The rest of the concert was typical Wu Bai & China Blue, great performances, Wu Bai forgetting song lyrics (he blew White Dove soooo badly!), and Dino cutting up in the back while DJ eTurn was spinning his records - Dino was pretending to spin his cymbals. The crowd was mostly standing (and that's a no-no in Singapore), at least where we were (except for those fuddy-duddies in the front rows), and we were all singing at the top of our lungs and waving our light sticks. This concert was like a combination of the Love Power tour of 2004 and the Li Hai concert of last year, a good mix, a lot of favorite songs that I can sing along with. Doesn't matter how many times I hear the same songs in concert, I still love 'em.

The show was too short, of course, and the finale was Wu Bai & China Blue together with ZZY's band and MC Hotdog, a fun song, one I'm not familiar with. Then it was over, and we left. We hung around in front for awhile, then walked over toward the car. We noticed some fans waiting at the back, so we drifted over that way, saw some of ZZY's band come out, then Dino, Da Mao, and Xiao Zhu walked out the back door. I yelled Dino's name, he looked around and saw me, then came over to the barricade, shaking hands with fans and signing autographs. Finally Wu Bai and wife, along with other staff members, came out and boarded the little bus that would take them back to the hotel. We waved as they went by, but I'm not sure if anyone waved back, because I was just noticing that Miss Chen wouldn't even look our way and acknowledge our presence. Hmph.

Sunday the guys flew home, and Lilian and Angela went to the airport to see them off. They got to get their photos with Wu Bai and say a few words. I just can't make myself chase after the guy, you know? I mean, going to the show is one thing, but showing up at airports or hotels just feels wrong for me. If it had just been Dino, Da Mao, and Xiao Zhu, I would have gone, though, because they're just down-to-earth cool guys.

Sunday I went off with Lee Ying to meet Angela, Lilian, Eileen, and Li Yan for lunch, which we had at a shopping mall. I've been online buddies with Li Yan for about six years, and this was the first time I'd gotten to meet her face to face. We all hung around chatting a bit, then Lilian, Li Yan, and I headed off on our own. All we did was go to Carrefour at that mall and hit a couple of DVD shops. Then Lilian drove me to the airport so I could meet up with Tona, who was dropping David off for his flight (he works for Singapore Airlines). Tona and I went for dinner, choosing satay, both chicken and beef. Another yummy food! Then we went to a grocery store and ended up finding a book exhibition that had some great deals on used books (I bought four). We were pretty tired, so we just went back to Tona's and kicked back, watching a bit of TV (did you know there's a restaurant in Australia that's a Clydesdale-drawn carriage? check it out, and talking.

Monday morning I was up bright and early, packing all my stuff, and Tona dropped me off at the airport around 11:00. We wanted more pork rib soup for breakfast, but the place was closed, so we decided to wait for next time. I grabbed some sushi at the airport. I was seated in row 2 this time, and I was able to actually get the chicken teriyaki. Too bad, because it was simply awful, half cold and really tasteless. Next month when I go back I'll definitely stuff myself at the airport before boarding the plane!

Landed at almost 6:00 p.m., got on the bus back to Taipei at 6:25, finally hit home a little after 8:00, tired but happy. Now I'm just waiting for the new CD to be released and more concerts!

1 comment:

Ranger Steve said...

The food looks delicious! Typical, I suppose :)