Alameda Americana

It is only in my thirties that I have started to think this: growing up in a city-state where the ‘capital of Singapore is Singapore’ (from an Alfian Sa’at poem) is a unique experience not understood by many globally. That when nationalistic people in city-states say ‘if you don’t like it, leave’, it’s really about leaving your entire country behind. There is nowhere else to go.

So the idea that one can simply leave your city and find another one, is a way of thinking that has not really properly entered my mind. I have no sense of how large a country, or even a county can be. Back home, whenever I wanted a change of scene, I had to leave the country.

I spend some of my days in Alameda, a town accessible from San Francisco by ferry. Some people take the ferry to work. I’ve always found it quaint. It feels like the kind of small town America you might see on TV. I don’t really see elements of this lifestyle (or urban setting) where I live in San Francisco. Some times, it’s just nice to be able to be briefly away from what you know.

a scan of a black and white photo showing people standing on a wooden boardwalk looking at birds

Birding at Elsie Roemer bird sanctuary.

a scan of a black and white photo showing a beach hut on a beach in Alameda, California

Don’t be deceived: beaches in Northern California look gorgeous, but the water is much too cold!

a scan of a black and white photo showing stone textures on pillars on a building


a scan of a black and white photo showing an old school home with a car covered with a sheet outside, the sheet has a clear outline of a retro style car.

Retro cars and homes.

a scan of a black and white photo showing some blocky apartments lined with cars outside

Shoreline apartments.

Alameda has birds, food, coffee, and soon, good Singaporean food (at Mama Judy’s), so I expect to be spending much more time there in the future.

All photos taken with Nikonos V, on Kodak 5222 film, developed in Rodinal 1:25 for 5:45 min, and scanned on Plustek 8200i.

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Adrianna Tan @skinnylatte
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