Singapore — Still, humid is this afternoon in Little India where I’ve done little today, taking a break from work and tourist action. I sit for two hours at breakfast, doing administrative work at my laptop while the tables around me change out. It feels like a hostel here, with people from all over the world, energy a bit more open to community than your average hotel.
After a long nap, I get a haircut by an Indian barber in a dirty shop. Thankfully, he brushes off the thick hair from the buzzer before he touches it to my head. He only starts smiling when a friend sits down and they start trying to guess my nationality. They are most confident with Welsh as the answer. I grit my teeth as he uses a straight blade to shave the edges.
I ask where I can clean my clothes and he points me across the street to the Madras hotel. After returning to my room to gather 10-days worth of clothes, I head over to the Madras and enter a dark basement like set of rooms which house the washer and dryer.
It’s here, while my clothes are churning, that I decide to do my practice for the day. The acoustics are good, as they are in many cavernous, windowless spaces, though the energy is still and thick.
One of my favorite simple pleasures is cleaning my clothes while traveling. It feels like such a win, such a fresh start. It brings me into the mundane and relieves me momentarily of my inflated expectations of peak travel experience.
My singing is easy, unmemorable, slightly muted by my shyness, as I hear the Chinese clerk speaking to someone in the lobby down the hallway.