Wednesday, November 27th, 2002:

It’s an oddly comforting feeling returning to a place so familiar that’s so far away. My hotel room has the same “open concept” shower (no shower curtain, just a big drain in the middle of the floor). There’s UE Square up the street, with the tasty breakfasts of Delifrance just a few steps within, and a valuable resource for groceries on the second floor. If I can drink my way through a two-four of Tiger beer from there, I can bring home a free cooler for my efforts!

First, though, there was the matter of some requisite gadget shopping at Sim Lim square. Bargain hunting for such items in this city-state seems to be a waste of time, but Sim Lim manages to distinguish itself a bit with some straight-from-Japan product. Just down the street I met up with the rest of the gang to tour Little India, and with shoes and socks respectfully parked outside, paid my first-ever visit to a Hindu Temple.

Only half of my comedy colleagues stuck it out for a visit to the Night Safari, but it was well-worth it. Imagine yourself on the set of Jurassic Park, with CGI dinosaurs replaced by living, breathing nocturnal wildlife, and you can only begin to understand what an incredible experience this is. At different points of the 40-hectare park I found myself eye to eye with a trio of giant hanging bats, audience to a gaggle of screaming baby otters (fun by day, cranky at night?), witness to the terrifying howls of laughing hyenas and privy to some Himalayan tigers actually meowing for food — the sound is a lot deeper, but still instantly recognizable to a cat owner like myself.

After a scant few hours of sleep the presence of myself and Jenny Parsons was requested for an interview on Mandarin TV. It’s more than a little nerve-wracking to be on live television in a two-shot next to someone who’s talking at length about you in a language you don’t understand. Thankfully, the actual questions were addressed to us in our native tongue.

Tonight is our opening night; stay tuned for a full report tomorrow!

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