Saturday, February 09, 2013

Saturday, packed

Today was pretty exhausting; I got up and started running before 7 o'clock, and since Tuesday I've done more than 50km, which, after doing between 5 and 10 in recent weeks while I was tapering down, has been a pretty hefty step up. So far, the experience I've had of higher volumes in 2012 has been standing me in good stead. That, and a diet of smoothies every morning, so I've been filled with a mix of fruit, spinach and hemp powder every morning. If I'd done it on bread and water, I believe I'd be a broken man by now.

After my run, we went to visit the doctor, but as it's Chinese New Year, the surgery was closed. The new year starts tomorrow, which means there's one last hurrah in the square beneath us. Tonight the volume has really been stepped up. Even with all the windows closed it's still loud enough that the band might as well be in our bedroom, doing a reasonable interpetation of throwing a piano downstairs. There are some odd musical choices blasting up from ground level; lots of synthesised brass and guitars, and then yelling (at great length), and more electronic parps from the band. I looked out at 10pm and there was a fairly impressive (or over-the-top, depending on your viewpoint) lightshow. It's pointless trying to sleep through this, and at midnight there's a firework display, which promises to shake us from our beds. Ah, pyrotechnics, how great thou art.

In between whiles, we've been out to see friends up by Seletar Airport. Going there is a surreal experience, as all the roads were named by nostalgic Londoners: there's a Lambeth Walk, an Oxford Street and even a Mornington Crescent, all full of palm trees and tropical heat, and none of them containing gloominess or Tube stations.

Our friends have three small children, who were all rather excitable; one had a pet rock called Coral (I was on my best behaviour and didn't once point out that coral is not a rock), two had butterfly nets, and all three behaved on occasion like pastiches of small children. They acted much as you'd expect small children to act, but it felt somehow intellectually dishonest, as if they were perpetrating some mental sleight-of-hand and were actually all 40 year olds, sardonically impersonating creatures a fifth of their age. I wonder if I'll be as sceptical about the authenticity of our own child.

I drank lots of beer, and it rained, and Coral was lost and found again, and then we headed back down to Chinatown, to a new Mexican restaurant with laughably bad service (until one of our friends wheeled out his Spanish and started talking to the Mexican member of staff) and very good food. Most of the "Mexican" food I've eaten in the US has involved fist-sized globs of sour cream and great sadness, so to eat something that was more flavourful and less artery-clogging was a real and welcome surprise.

It felt rather inefficiently managed. The waitstaff didn't give the impression of handling specific areas of the restaurant, and often two or three people would arrive in succession, each asking if we wanted to order food, or drinks, or food and drinks. I'd assume that was because everyone was new, but it's been going for a few months: you'd expect the kinks to have been ironed out. The food made up for this, even if it took half an hour for one of my tacos to appear.

Back home, we spent a few hours catching up on Skype with people, until the music grew too loud. I'm envious of my wife's ability to sleep through it (I guess pregnancy supplies that as a side benefit) although I suspect the peal of doom at midnight may wake her from her slumber.


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