(Art by Oak&Bindi, commissioned by Lululemon's first store in Asia.)It’s 22 hours from Philadelphia to Singapore, with a stop in Hong Kong. I spend it working, watching mindless television and processing the death of three family members. One line of one eulogy in particular still weighs in my mind. “It’s not, ‘How did he die?’ but ‘How did he live?’” The “he” in question lived life on his own terms. I mean truly lived it. For better or worse. Without caring what anyone thought about it. It’s something I strive to do, but continually get hung up on the “caring too much what other people think” part. To my left, Justin sleeps. I turn my head further and peek through the crack behind my seat. My brother raises his eyebrows at me. He combined his Christmas break with two weeks of vacation days to join us for a month in Southeast Asia. I desperately want his experience to be everything ours has been so far. But that’s out of my control, and so I refocus my thoughts to the present, offer up my bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos and drift into a restless sleep filled with people I can now only see in my dreams. In the wee hours of the morning, the overhead lights turn on and the flight attendants pass out declaration cards to all visitors of the country. I blink my red, burning eyes. “DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKERS” is written at the bottom in red and all caps. We land at 4:00 a.m. and spend the hours before the sun rises building our bikes in the airport. After being told that we can’t take them onto the subway, we ride our bikes from the airport into the heart of Singapore. It’s rush hour at this point and we’re riding the daily commute along with everyone else, only on two wheels instead of four. Did you know cars drive on the left side of the road in Singapore? The country, whose official language is English, is lined with designer stores and I can’t help but feel like I’m riding through Manhattan. In the short time that we’re here, Justin spends the days meeting with distributors, and Brendan and I take in the ultra-modern city-state on foot.
(Yep, that's a floating stadium.)We dodge downpours to visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, which leaves us speechless... We feast on incredible food and enter a temple barefoot for the first time in Little India… We spot our first monks… We write notes on “wishing spheres” to celebrate Singapore’s 50 years of independence… We stumble upon people escaping the midday sun... And we familiarize ourselves with Southeast Asia's toilet of choice. When it gets dark, we take in the holiday decorations... Eat homemade tofu... And wander through Chinatown's night markets, where kitsch souvenirs remind us to live life in color... Singapore is a beautiful country, but it's a bit tame for our tastes. When our time here comes to an end, we're ready to move on to more foreign territory. On our last day, rain falls heavily and we suit up to ride out of the country with no idea what we're about to encounter at the border crossing.
hello from warminster
hello to your brother
it looked pretty exciting to me
Hello back to you … from Kyrgyzstan!
Thank you, LEK! Hope you are EEM at home!