Ricky here: Got the keyboard, and two beautiful rugs, so the echo is starting to go away. Actually the keyboard doesn't echo, as there are no speakers - don't want to piss off the neighbors, so I just have my headphones with me - is OK.... but I may have to break down and get a small speaker.... It's a Roland 300NX keyboard, and feels and sounds like an acoustic piano. Have already over-practiced - the arm is sore - it's a good sore!
Purchasing the rugs was an interesting experience. It was a combination of finding this place on the web, and then having it recommended by a local, saying "Mohammad is the guy you want to buy rugs from". His shop is in a warehouse structure in the middle of Singapore, and is a cavernous room with piles and piles of gorgeous rugs mostly from Iran, Afghanistan and India. We were a tad intimidated.... however, I had been looking at examples from different regions online, and the tribal rugs from Shiraz (Southwest Iran) were the ones that resonated - fortunately, they did for Chris as well - we saw this one and loved it. And it turns out that Mohammad Ali (yes, that is his name) was born and raised in Shiraz, so it felt like more of a personal transaction, and he reveled in telling us about this area of mountains, desert and his city of Shiraz. So we grabbed that one, and a beauty from Afghanistan (Mazar-e Sharif). At the end of the day, what I thought was going to be a chore, turned into a wonderful experience!
More about tribal rugs: A tribal rug is often used by the family who made it, before it is sold, and the design is created as the rug is woven. ("City" rugs, on the other hand, are planned from beginning to end.) Muhammad thought ours is about 40 years old and was woven over a long period of time, as the background color from one portion of the rug is different than the rest, as if they remixed that color at a later date, and it turned out differently. The placement of symbols and animals changes as well. Gives it "character". Sorta like us.... characters that aren't too fancy..
This is Lucy.... I like the red one (from Afghanistan) - it's comfy, yet cool on my tummy...