Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Missing Months - from Chris

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - While 2013 will be one year that Ricky and I will both remember fondly for a long time, it was a challenging one for us given the disruptive events for Ricky and me around changes in my work environment. We are each filling in the gaps in Singapooch. My company was running through some changes that I felt would inevitably affect me one way or another, and we together made the decision that it would be best to concentrate those changes with me rather than with the whole family – small as it may be. So, that meant long times apart from Ricky, and Lucy (the pooch in Singapooch), a part of our family as any child might be to us. Ricky and Lucy left Singapore, and took all of what we had built together there, and I went solo. At first, my months in a Malay Muslim neighborhood were exciting.
Kembangan, Singapore
I was the only Ang Mo (westerner) around in Kembangan. But slowly, the windowless quarters, the great street food menus written in Malay and Chinese that I could not read, and the isolation become less and less intriguing. I took to the road on business trips and weekends on side trips on my costs. April was nonstop with trips to Beijing, Xi’an (central/west China), and Bangkok with a weekend trip to the Ayutthaya ruins, Tokyo travel too. Xi’an is the home of the Terracotta Warriors – 2100 year old stone soldiers built to protect the Emperor in death.
Terracotta Warriors and One Bubba
Impressive enough, but most day trippers to the excavation site miss the city of Xi’an itself. This was a terminus of the Silk Road where Muslim traders from the Middle East travelled and traded with their eastern brothers. And here in Xi’an is a 1600 year old Islamic mosque built to Chinese architectural models. It’s hard to explain how puzzling it is to see Chinese pagodas with Islamic stone engraving.
The Great Mosque of Xi'an
In Bangkok to Ayutthaya, an ancient city that was the ancient capital of Siam.
Reclining Buddha near Ayutthaya, Thailand 

Stunning – and stunning as well in the breadth of a core spirituality that reaches from Indonesia and Japan to Thailand, from Korea to Sri Lanka.
Good Old Sally Barber Mine
In May, I found myself in Colorado. I forget the business reason or for how long, but the reunification invigorated me more than I would know. I left Colorado for a return to Singapore for five hours before going to Australia for a few weeks with a long weekend in Melbourne. It was nice to be part of an autumn (Southern Hemisphere. May = October) and seeing trees changing color and cool rains hitting the hills.
Healesville Sanctuary
I went from far north in Victoria at an animal rescue reserve to far south to watch the Blue Penguins in their dusk parade to shore for an evening of wild fornication before returning to the sea at dawn to sleep it off. (they are on shore at dusk to dawn to avoid the birds who prey on them when the birds’ eyesight sucks). It was a good revisit from my first visit with them 24 years back on my first trip to Australia. (The whole place went Hollywood)
"Little Blue" Penguins of Phillip Island
June was back in Singapore, where I continued to get reacquainted with my old Gary Fisher HK II mountain bike and many many 20, 30 and 40 km bike rides around Singapore.
Singapore from Marine Barrage
The end of June brought me a resolution to my Asian work assignment and another very rewarding visit home for a good old American 4th of July and massive kanreki in Breckenridge . And, planning on the future ahead.
Getting a Welcome at Denver International
I dumped my Malay housing situation and was taken in by our new lifelong friends in Singapore who now refer to me as their Unemployed Teen Age Boarder! Louise and Rob Baskerville have showed me more genuine hospitality and friendship then I could ever imagine. And, I have a surrogate pooch in my pal, Ralph, a Schnauzer miniature in breed, but giant in personality. I will be forever grateful to Rob, Louise and Ralph… in making what should have been a traumatic lifetime transition, toward a new chapter with Ricky.
Louise and Rob Baskerville

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