Singapore and Bangkok

Friday, December 19th, 2008 @ 12:53 pm | Uncategorized

I’m back in Tamil Nadu after spending ten days on winter vacation. I split my time between Singapore and Bangkok, visiting with friends Shauna and Jared from Kansas. Within the first few days of being back I saw a buccal stem cell transplant (even got to follow up today!), presented my data at lab meeting with Dr. VRM, and gave a lecture to students in the lab preparing for their national CSIR exam. A very productive week so far! The patient who got his stem cell transplant had previously undergone surgery for his acid burn, received at the workplace, which was unsuccessful. This attempt was potentially his last hope for vision in his blinded eye.

I haven’t posted an entry since I went on vacation, so I’ll write a bit about my overseas experience. By the way, Fulbrighters are allowed two weeks outside of India during the duration of the nine month grant, and now I’ve used up ten days! Anyway, I first rode eight hours by overnight train from Madurai to reach Chennai, which is where I caught my flight to Singapore. The flight was nice, cheap, and only four hours long!

It was great to see friends from back home. We took in all the sights of Singapore, like the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo (where you can even have Doctor Fish nibble on your toes!), and several of the Singapore Museums. I was especially interested in the South East Asia civilizations museum, which had an extensive exhibit on India, with drawings from the 18th century of the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai! It was amazing to see such a great preservation, something I haven’t seen yet in India. It was very educational as well; apparently the Indians established what we call the Arabic system of numbering, along with plenty of other interesting firsts! “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
Albert Einstein

I think the thing we all enjoyed most was the food, which was well priced, although not cheaper than in India, and tasty! The other thing that made Singapore a lot of fun is the fact that there is a large population of Indians there, especially natives of Tamil Nadu. In fact, some of the first rulers of this Island nation were of Indian origin. It was nice that I got to keep my Tamil skills polished while I was away… even if it can barely get me around, it usually at least gets a smile!

I also made it to Bangkok, which was in doubt due to recent protests at the airport. It did seem like there were less tourists there because of recent events, if for no other reason than the fact that my hostel lobby was always nearly vacant! In a way that was good news for me because the volunteer guides were happy to go with me to explore the city. I went to the major tourist destinations like the Grand Palace, Temple of the Dawn, and Buddha monuments. It was great to take water taxi rides too. It may be the fastest way to get around Bangkok, considering the massive traffic congestion.

Overall, I have had a great past two weeks and am looking forward to the next two, which will involve a lot of catching up work in the lab as well as some small celebrations for Christmas, my birthday, and New Years. Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

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    2 Responses to “Singapore and Bangkok”

    1. NH Says:

      Paul –

      What a great trip! I love Singapore and Bangkok. Although they are both Asian cities they are so different and interesting.

      Elizabeth’s school (Dalat International School) on the Maylaysian island of Penang is just a couple hour flight from Singapore. Grandpa and Grandma Lehmann once took a 24 hour train trip from Bangkok to Penang to visit her. Grandpa’s take on that trip is very interesting.

      Have a very Merry Christmas – you are daily in our thoughts and prayers.

      Love,

      Nola

    2. Elizabeth Says:

      I’m jealous.

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