I landed in Singapore for the first time yesterday and the flight here from Beijing gave me two indications of what can be expected.
First, many of the people speak English a little funny.
Second, they speak Mandarin (Chinese) very funny.
So let me tell you, when a gui lou (foreign devil) has a much better pronunciation of Chinese than the
flight attendants, you know you’re in for a fun time.
In the evening we went to a Brazilian joint for a feast – and man, it was awful. To recover we went for a three-hour long walk through town, and this, as well as a couple fresh fruit drinks, fixed everything.
Fresh pineapple juice. Can’t beat that – so long as you make sure they don’t add ice, water or sugar.
Unlike China, at least they ask if you want them added.
Afterward I walked past a number of foot massage places. One man put the hard sell on – telling me “his word was his bond” and a host of other unknowns like “lowest price, best service.”
Something he said must have worked as he finally got me to agree to an hour. After roping me in he walked into the studio and demanded that the ladies who had just finished their foot massage approximately .0001 seconds ago get out of their seats.
“Get out,” he said. “We have new customers to serve. Come on. Get up. Move.”
I politely chimed in: “Yeah, get up. We got your money. Now go. Get out. Massage finished. No more money right now Get up. No next time. We very rude to you. Just like New York. Big city, you know.”
The ladies enjoyed my sense of humor. The boss-man ignored it, I guess, as he kept poking them with an imaginary cattle prod.
“Come on. New customers. Service over. Get out.”
So the guy who is going to give me a foot massage needs a break before working on my size 10’s.
“I take a break. I go to the toilet,” he says.
“Very happy to know that in advance,” I reply.
I then turned to my brother-in-law from China and said, “I think he can give you a better foot massage. Maybe someone else for me.”
Both of us laughed.
After the man took his potty break he stood outside the door smoking a cig.
“Look,” I said. “The man uses the toilet. Then smokes. Just what I want from a health practitioner.”
The boss man called him inside. “Get to work. No more smoking. We have a customer waiting.”
He walks in and I ask for a lady instead of a man.
“No lady. Man is better. Man has the power. Lady no power. If you want hanky-panky you go somewhere else.”
“Hahhahahahahaha,” I laughed. “Hanky panky??? I haven’t heard that one since Hong Kong Fuey.”
So I cut my time from one hour to 30 minutes.
The boss man tried to negotiate for 40 minutes. I stuck to my guns.
Lucky for me he called another man in with a sleeveless shirt on. The boss man kept trying to upgrade me, but no cigar.
During the massage the boss man turned out to be more than a good salesman. I think he’s a good guy, too. We stood outside talking for a while afterward and exchanged several good stories.
Before leaving though, I said: “Next time I come here tell the workers not to tell me they’re going to the toilet.”
This morning I got up and walked several miles, ran some hills, did some exercises straight out of my international best-seller, Combat Conditioning.
Tonight I’m having dinner with some customers. Perhaps I’ll have something funny to tell you afterward.
Singapore. What a place. Hustling, bustling and absolutely beautiful.