Sunday, April 10, 2011

The True Meaning of DHL

Singapore Skyline
My first image of Singapore, even before the stubborn ATM outside of 7-Eleven, was that of a DHL truck laying at a 45 degree angle in the bushes of the meridian leading out of the airport.*

"Do you know what DHL means?" asks the cab driver in a strong Philippine accent. I search my jet-lagged expat memory and am forced to admit that I don't.

"Don't hurry la!" he says glancing at me in the rear view mirror as I burst into laughter and immediately take a liking to Singapore.

"Don't hurry la..." I repeat back to myself as I settle into the faux-leather back seat of the cab and watch the city unwinding before me. The "la" I learned from my cram school students (who are no longer mine) and bears a vague resemblance to the American "duh" but with a much sharper and witty edge to it.

Meal on banana leaves
And my week in Singapore, with the cash crisis, the bizarre shower/toilet-with-no-toilet-seat combo in the hostel bathroom, the boulevards that feel uncannily like certain parts of Beverly Hills, the mall after mall of high-end brands reaching to out match one other with the scale and modern impact of their store front displays, and the utter lack of available seating anywhere near a power outlet, just makes me want to tuck my portable chopsticks back in my bag and head for home.

But it's not time yet. There is still a beautiful skyline to see, mysterious food served on banana leaves to sample, a Japanese student trapped out of Japan en route back to Australia to drink with, a middle-aged Chinese lawyer to bunk with, and no less than four American teachers from Taiwan asking why I'm making this visa run, yet to discover in this place. And last, but far from least, a three-foot dragon (before the tail) lurking in the grass only two blocks from my bed.

Wild dragon
Indeed "don't hurry" back was my first but most quickly forgotten piece of advise in Singapore, whether the cab driver or DHL's PR message knew they were offering it to me. And now that I'm continuing this working holiday back "home" in Taipei, I have no other intention than to take these words straight to heart as this experience continues to unfold before me.

*image unavailable due to taxi speed, late night disorientation, and general unexpected nature of photo opportunity

1 comment:

  1. Singapore is really an amazing place to visit and spend good vacations there. I loved your post and will plan a trip to Singapore soon.