Mar 4, 2008

Back to Singapore: Day 01

Okay, it is kinda late, but I will be writing about my experience and thoughts during my 6 days-5 nights' visit to Singapore in late February.. :)

This entry was written on the night of 22 Feb in my it is kinda long and has more vivid descriptions of my feelings.. :p

Yes, I used the word “back to”, as I still consider Singapore as my home.. maybe it might sound weird or maybe you think I am unpatriotic, but that is my true feeling..
When I boarded the coach (PFW2882) at Simpang, Taiping, I felt like I was going to go home.. I could say for sure for now that Singapore is where my heart belongs, but I can say for certain that my mind and body felt most at home in Singapore.. even when I am staying in a backpackers’hostel!!

Anyway, the coach reached Singapore around 5:30am, just in time to “join in” the daily mass exodus of Malaysians flooding the causeway on their way to work in Singapore.. Some statistics put the number of people crossing the short bridge separating Singapore and Malaysia at 200,000 a day, including workers and students!! Imagine how early these people would need to wake up everyday and how late it would have been when they got back from work/school every day!!??!! Yet, they did it anyway.. so that shows how much Singapore and Malaysia are connected.. Singapore benefits from the brawn and brains of these Malaysians, while the Malaysians capitalised on Singapore’s need and irk a better life for themselves.. Symbiosis..

By the time we cleared the customs, it had been 6:30am.. this time, instead of alighting at the Woodlands customs, I am alighting at Beach Road.. as the hostel that I booked is in Lavender Street.. I had to either take a taxi or walk there, I decided to walk, since the day has yet to break and the temperature is still quite cooling.. so I walked.. with my laptop (in a backpack) over my shoulder and dragging a luggage, I walked more than 1.5km to the hostel.. It was located at the cross-junction of Lavender Street and Serangoon Road..

As I had arrived way too early (the usual check-out timing is 11am, thus the earliest I could check in would be 1pm), I decided to leave my luggage at the counter and go visit the Buddhist temple at Farrer Park. First I went to wash up a bit.. Washed my face and changed in another pair of (shorter) pants as the weather is getting hotter by the hour.

Then I left the hostel and walked along Serangoon Road.. I passed 2 Indian temples and then I reached the Farrer Park Mrt station. I went into the station and top-up my EzLink card, just in case I wanna go somewhere else that requires bus or train. In Japan, we have something similar too, it is called the Suicca, which can be used for trains only, and Passmo, which can be used for both buses and trains. But in Singapore, we only need Ezlink to travel on train and bus.. :)

I bought a kong-ba-pau on my way there… haven’t eat a thing since last night’s supper.. still have some water from the bottle of mineral water given last night before boarding the coach.. then I went to Sakamurni Temple.. I liked the place as it is so unlike the other temples. It is quiet and clean.. simple yet magnificent.. it has a big statue of Buddha at the center of the temple, and a statue of the 4-handed Buddha at the front.. after paying $3 for the joss-sticks, prayer papers and candles, I went praying.. I went around donating money after that.. not much, just a little token of appreciation.. I like talking to the auntie there.. she has seen so many people come and go, and is able to give sound advices. I spend about 2 hours there.. I also went to ask for a “qian”.. and it turns out to be a very good one.. While there, I received a phone call from Sok Fang. She cant make it for tonight’s dinner, so we arranged to meet on Sunday noon at Orchard MRT instead.

Then I decided to go to Suntec City, as I still have some time before check-in… I didn’t want to be carrying so much cash on me.. I brought some Japanese Yen to be deposited into my DBS account, so I wanna changed them into Sing Dollars. The most convenient place to do that is in Suntec, where the money changer gives the best rates (as far as I know) and the bank is just around the corner.. the rate I got was okay, SGD1.29 for 100yen.. after changing the money, I still have some time left, so I went for my foot reflexology at one of the Wan Yang outlets in Suntec.. Aaaa.. it was truly a relaxing indulgence.. then I went to Carrefour hoping to buy a pair of slippers to be used in the hostel later.. didn’t find any that I liked.. so instead I bought a packet of Milo and some Mars bars.. went to Sports Shop and paid 29.90 for a pair of comfortable slippers.. reached the hostel around 1.30pm..

Checked into a single room, named Tulip.. it comes with an attached shower.. not too bad.. I took a video of the room.. Paid $96 for 3 days.. will be changing to another room for tomorrow and the night after.. tonight’s bill is $20.. not bad, don’t you think? A short video of my room today..

Quickly took a bath, change my clothes and went out again.. this time, I wanna go to AMK, to get my hair cut.. took a bus there, Bus 130 which went to Whampoa and Ballestiar and Thomson.. places that I have only been to less than 3 times in my 13 years stay in Singapore.. it was quite an eye opener.. :p Got off at AMK bus terminal.. wow.. before I left for Japan, the Bus terminal has yet to be officially opened for business.. went to have a late lunch, had “Ban-Mian”.. was starving.. and in the process burnt my tongue eating that bowl of hot hand-made noodles.. took a bus to my hair stylist..

Told her to tidy up my long hair, which was the longest I ever had in my life.. I just let her cut and dye as she pleased as I trusted her professionalism fully.. although I did told her not to dye it too bright as it would be quite ugly if I didn’t get it cut a few months down the road.. spent about 3 hours there.. even had my eye brows trimmed.. :P

Was late for my next appointment..the first of my many dinner dates with friends and ex-colleagues.. got there 30min late.. :P Only 4 turned up from Visa, Handy, Sara, Mui Cheng and Bernard.. the rest of them cant make it due to some reason or another.. We had dinner at V8 Café.. the food there was nothing to shout about.. we talked and chatted during the meal.. then we left.. and I went back to my hostel room and wrote this entry..

Side note:
The phone I brought with me died, or more precisely the battery died.. I had to change another one.. and it too died within 2 hours.. I gave up and swapped to an older version that dad had the foresight to ask me to bring along.. and from the SMS that I received from SingTel and maxis, every SMS I send out would cost me RM1 and RM5 for every minute of phone call!! What a daylight robbery! As my prepaid phone had only RM20, I didn’t make any calls home.. instead I send SMS sparingly..

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