Singapore, Saturday 15 March 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been a quiet day, nursing my left foot.  It has been very painful but is recovering quite well.  I set out walking to the Little India MRT about 1pm but half way there realised I’d forgotten my MRT stored value card.  Damn. I had no particular destination in mind, so I turned around and went back to the hotel, very slowly.  It’s a beautiful, if overcast day.  Not hot at all – maybe 28C. While I was standing on the corner of Bukit Timah Rd and Selegie Rd reading the historical sign about Little India, an old guy came up to me and started gesticulating and saying something about “half a mile that way”.  I could hardly understand him, but I got an impression that he was saying there is a parade, as he was wiping his arms and face as if to say, “They are in costume” or something.  I really couldn’t work out his meaning and the idea of walking half a mile out of my way didn’t appeal, so I thanked him and moved on. Pity.  I don’t know what I might have missed.

From the hotel I changed direction and went to the Sim Lim Square food hall.  This is local food at its best.  Well, its fastest, maybe.  I had Vietnamese beef noodles today.  I asked for a spicy dish but this was a bit bland, no spice at all.  Oh well, for $5.00 I’m not complaining.

However, I would complain at the restaurant in the corner of my hotel.  The prices are beyond my limit.  I saw a very delicious looking dish in their window menu, but it costs S$28 !  All their dishes start at about S$18 and rise to S$68.  In a recent survey, Singapore was rated No. 1 of the world’s 10 most expensive cities.  As I’ve said, you can eat quite adequately for S$7.50 in a food hall, but off plastic plates at plastic tables on plastic chairs.  Taxis are now almost unaffordable (avg. S$15 per trip) compared to S$5 – $8 ten years ago.  This hotel is A$140 per night, but although the room is described as “Superior”, the room is very small and as I said, lacked a fridge, or an armchair. I have a small steel framed chair at the tiny desk, but it’s hard and uncomfortable. The room is smaller than the cabin I had on the ship.

As I also said, goods here cost more than they do on-line in Australia now so there’s no fun in shopping any more, except for finding nice things.  But when you’re hobbling along with a painful ankle and foot, it’s not much fun.

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Interesting:  I bought a CD yesterday and played it for the first time in the CD/DVD/BluRay drive in this laptop, listening on these beautiful new KEF headphones from the laptop’s headphone socket.  The CD is an HDCD, meaning extra high specs.

It sounded superb.  Deep bass such as I’ve never heard before, smooth strings, rich sound.

Today I converted and transferred it from the CD to my iPod Touch as mp3 files and listened again on the iPod.  Hmmm.  It’s not as good.  It’s hard to pin it down, but the sound is very subtly grainy, not as smooth, the strings are a bit coarse.  This is the difference between uncompressed CD quality and the highly compressed mp3 format.  Mp3 is not hi-fi.  The conversion to mp3 involves high levels of compression, discarding a huge amount of the original data to reduce the file size and data rate.  Mp3 stands for “mpeg” (Motion Picture Experts Group) “layer 3”, which is a section of the mpeg data packet used to transmit compressed video and audio over satellites and cables.  The method used to compress the audio for the mpeg data stream happened to be convenient for other uses, so it’s become ubiquitous. Pity.

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For this post I’ve been trying to convert some video to include in the posting.  But WordPress doesn’t seem to accept anything I try!  I’ve tried .mov; .mpg; .avi; .mp4 – all are rejected.  One I suppose I haven’t tried is .flv.  Watch this space.

OK, it won’t accept .flv either.  So what video format will it accept?  I don’t know.  Annoying.

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