2nd day in Singapore (10 May -- Wednesday)

I left the Philippines exactly one week ago today, and I'm already in a foreign country.

I've had a sad and frightful dream with all the appearance of reality. I dreamed that while in Singapore, my brother had died suddenly and I told my old mother about it who was traveling with me in the same boat. The dream was confirmed by Sor Catalina and then I had to return, leaving everything in this country. Why did I have that dream? I'm thinking of cabling my hometown to find out the truth; but I'm not superstitious. I left my brother strong and robust. It is true that I had a dream once that was fulfilled. Before the examination for the 1st year in Medicine, I dreamed that I was asked certain questions but I didn't mind them. When the examinations came, I was asked the questions in my dream. May God will that it might not happen thus! After the bath and the luncheon, I hired a carriage for a day and I went around the town.

The first that I saw were two beautiful houses of Chinese in European style, surrounded by walls and trees. I made the carriage stop in front of a Chinese building decorated with dragons and paintings. I entered. I was equipped by Goinda with some English words. With these I entered a kind of small garden among columns and pedestals. Numerous beautiful plants and a variety of flowers, planted with symmetry and order; cages at the two extremes; in one of them were pheasants, a kind of turkey, and other birds beside; in the other, spotted deer and peacocks. I came out and got into the carriage to continue my tour.

My driver, whose name is Nija, he said, pointed out to me an English building, then a French church. There I stopped and went down. To reach it one crosses a beautiful garden, but I found it closed. From there to the Portuguese church; the same, it was closed, but the garden is less beautiful.

Running, running we reached the gas factory: a building, all new to me. I entered but I saw nothing nor could I get into the interior. After this, a magnificent Chinese temple, which was about to be finished. I entered it: Large and tall pillars painted the color of coffee; three altars with painted idols; in the middle is a genie blowing stones over a dragon; paintings, sculptures, and good bas-reliefs. In the patio is a little tower of live rock which is charming.

Afterward, through many streets and shops of fish, fruits, and a thousand enigmatic things. After having seen two beautiful markets, the like of which cannot be found in Manila, I saw the magnificent house of the American consul with the flag aloft. I visited also a large school for Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Englishmen. It is a magnificent building and there are many students. The palace of the Rajah of Siam is also notable and has a small iron elephant and whatnot on the pedestal placed in front of the building.

My carriage crossed a beautiful hanging bridge and we reached a lively place. Beautiful European buildings, shops, show-windows, etc. It is the Escolta of the town. The banks and a Japanese curio bazaar are located there. In all the houses there are fountains with faucets. In a certain way this is more advanced than the Philippines.

I told the driver to take me to the Messageries Maritimes, but as he could not understand me, I had to return to the inn and ask the majordomo how to say in English Messageries and he taught me a cabalistic phrase which I repeated to the driver who understood it as if it were his brother. He went then running and from there I returned to the inn, telling the driver to come back at three.

An hour later, we took luncheon and then I took the carriage in the company of Goinda, the young Indian, who taught me how to shop. Following that, I went to the Botanical Garden, seeing on the way the Armenian cemetery. The entire road is beautiful, shaded by trees; beautiful bridges, and charming houses.

I reached (10 minutes) the garden located on a hill, as the majority of the constructions in Singapore are. Its cleanliness and orderliness are admirable; numerous plants with their labels beside them, well tended by Malays. One climbs up through a clean path with canals on the sides until one reaches a poorly inhabited cage, for it had only one cockatoo, one parrot, and other little birds. I found beside it a Chinese woman with an English boy. I continued walking, admiring those trees which charmed me and I entered a kind of storehouse with numerous varieties of parasitic and air plants, most beautiful and rare. I met there a Malay who could not understand me. I went out looking for mammals, for I believed there were some and I found only a kind of cage-storehouse where I saw in different compartments two superb peacocks, an eagle, two marabous, turkeys and Guinea hens, blue birds similar to the hoopoe in plumage, wild pigeons, cockatoos, and other birds whose names I didn't know. I met another Malay, and as he could not understand me, I drew a cow and showed it to him and he replied: Tadar. Tired of looking for it, I approached an Englishman who was playing with his dog. I greeted him and asked him for the zoological garden. He replied that there was none. I went away then, looked for a coach, and went back.

I met on my way several English girls, some of whom were quite pretty, many coaches, and strollers. I stopped to watch the ball game and then told my driver, remembering what Mr. Buil taught me, steamer, meaning I wished to be taken to a boat. He understood me and we left.

It was my intention to transfer my luggage to the Djemnah but they told me in the Salvadora that it was impossible, because of certain regulations of the English.

I returned to the inn fretting and gave the driver two duros for my whole trip that day. It must be noted that yesterday for one trip alone, I paid $1.20 (2.50).

After a while they called us to supper and I had the luck to sit beside a drunk Englishman. He was talking in French so that we conversed. He was drunk like a toper and he repeated to me the same phrases. At last, we understood each other. He hardly ceased talking until the end of the supper when I had the chance to sneak away and to leave him alone. After a short walk, I went up to my room to write.

At two o'clock in the afternoon, after luncheon, we went to the pier to board the Djemnah. We spent two pesos for the fare as well as for the use of the coach that day.

Installed in my cabin, I went up to the deck and there I found the courteous Messrs. Salazar and Pardo who called me and greeted me, asking me about my health. Our conversation dealt naturally about the excellence of the Djemnah. It surpasses all praise and all the descriptions that I could make of it, I believe, will be pale. It is enough to say that everything is shiny for its cleanliness: copper, iron, zinc, and wood. The ship is large, very large; its length must be some one hundred fifty varas1 and its width about ten or twelve. The cabins are very beautiful, clean and well ventilated. Each has a light, curtains, basins, mirror, etc. The floor is covered with rugs; there are large halls; the comfort rooms, very clean; the bathrooms, excellent. In short, according to those who have traveled much, it is impossible to ask for more. As I go examining the ship more slowly I'll make better observations.

Great orderliness prevails. There is a large number of passengers -- English, French, Dutch, Spaniards, Malays, Siamese, and Filipinos. It is said that there is a Siamese prince aboard.

The service is unsurpassable. All the stewards are attentive, courteous, and smart. There is a good and pretty library.

This afternoon, during the luncheon, at which we were served pheasants and raspberry, there sat beside me a Dutchman who spoke many languages except Spanish. We conversed in French and thus I'm learning it.

1A vara is a measure of length, about 32 inches.


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