Monday, February 12, 2007

Travelling in Singapore: Because we're social animals, Part Two

Here's an apology for PY for my last 'memotong stim' post XDXD. Hop over to her blog to witness some really hilarious pimpin'!! I laughed so hard~ Gah, belly pain, belly pain...

And so, picking up where I left off:

Day 3 (Christmas Eve!!!)

At 10am, PY poked me. Before going to the main building for breakfast, I took a quick shower. I tend to shower more there, because even with the air con, the Singaporean weather made me feel sticky and uncomfortable. Oh oh, did I mention that on the first day, it was drizzling, then stopped. Drizzle. Stopped. And on it goes for the entire day... It's like the cloud is having some sort of weather constipation going on.

In the main building, we can have toast and eggs for breakfast, only we have to cook them ourselves, which I didn't mind. I can't cook many things, but at least I can handle eggs. We have to wait for our turn to cook. Meanwhile we'd drink coffee or tea. The stove there does not have fire... It's just a flat surface that heats up at certain spots. There's marjerine, salt, soya, Lea&Perkins, spices, jam etc supplied. Unlike PY, I didn't attempt to do scrambled eggs; just a normal fried egg sprinkled with salt and some spice which I forgot the name of (the type that accompanies a roasted turkey!). So yes, this was my breakfast for the five days I lived there.

That day though, I ate as fast as I can because there's people waiting for me. The three South Africans that we were going gallivanting with were Gregg, Keith and Kira... I was so so shy at first, and PY did most of the talking. About travelling, about Africa etc... It's just so fascinating. Gregg was telling us that Africa is a wonderful, absolutely gorgeous place, but you gotta be careful if you're there. Even locals are wary of the dangers. He also told us a bit of the reasons and that African History is very new; it only goes back for about 30 years? All that while, I feel as though I'm a sponge, soaking everything in.

Anyway, the first place we headed to was Chinese Gardens. Quite a big place; I didn't expect for a country with limited space to use up this much land.


Keith and PY in front of the pagoda | Kira, Gregg, me and PY


Part of the bonsai garden

It's sort of peaceful there.... could imagine myself there 50 years later, holding a bird cage and a mahjong set to meet up other old buddies for a cuppa chinese tea. I actually pretty much forgotten most of the buildings they have there, other than the pagoda. And a larrrgeeee bonsai garden. Nice place, yes; memorable enough to leave a mark, no. Boo.

But there's just these little memorable events... First off, this little guy.


Monitor lizard(?) who suffers from major PMS

He emerged from the lake and scared the bejeezus out of someone sitting on the bench. He then proceeds to charge and snap at anyone who is nearby. All the while, shooting the passerby's a contemptuous look. My, aren't you a grouchy little reptile?

Secondly, at the top of the pagoda (must mention that the stairwell smells suspiciously of pee), there were some scribblings on the wall and the balcony. On the wall it says something like, "No one understands me" and something that hints that he or she hath orz-ed in love. Then on the balcony, it says, "Someone help me". Sounds rather creepy right? Like someone jumped? On the third storey of the pagoda you know!!!

But then again, the pagoda is over the lake. So, the worse things that could come out from the jump would be hitting the short roof spattered with pigeon shit, then being covered in lake goo and then taking the MRT home, drenched and cold.

Lastly, over at the bonsai garden, we were checking out the trees; exclaiming over the gorgeous roots some of them have, or just over the sheer oldness of the trees, when we spotted something that has the potential of being super fascinating. Okay, picture this: a wall submerged in the lake; each end connected to the land on the opposite sides. So we're on one side. On that wall, there's some turtles just chillin' out, when a monitor lizard (not sure if it's the same one from before) appeared from the land opposite from ours and started walking rather menacingly towards the turtles. Aiya, hard to get the idea from words, so:


Excuse the lame monitor lizard (and yes, the turtles were in that position)

So we were all like, Ooooh! and promptly squatted down/sat on the grass to watch what will happen. We were observing them and spewing out comments like:

"Maybe he'll eat them turtles..."
"They could retreat into their shells I suppose."
"He could put his head in the shell holes. Then eat it."
"Look, the turtle is looking at the lizard!"
"Yea, and he's saying, "Hey, do you mind??"
"Move, turtles!"

... and a few more, which I can't remember. Just remembered that the comments were damn funny, but we got reallll silent as the lizard was getting closer to the turtle. Much to our dismay, none of the above happened. The turtles just... well, dropped into the water on either sides just in time for the lizard to pass through. Gregg or Keith goes, "Well. That's kinda boring." XDXD

After that, we took the MRT to HarbourFront; Vivocity here we come! Don't have much to say about it, except, boy oh boy, it's bloody packed! We need human traffic lights in here! Just imagine Sungai Wang on a Sunday, except it's more posh.


The crowd in Vivocity.

But gosh, I immensely adore the food court. The interior = love. It's set up to look like an old-fashion bustling Chinese street market. A glance upwards will be rewarded with old doors hanging from the ceiling.




Noodles anyone?

The things that I didn't like about the place is the sardine can's sardine can situation. It's so so so so packed and we could barely find a spot to sit. The place could get quite confusing with a crowd like this.



Red-faced after curry.

Me and PY had soup noodles which we didn't finish. Damn heavy food. We find out that Kira's a vegetarian and we were curious, to say the least, on how she'd survive backpacking. She then told us that in South America, the land of beef-galore, you really couldn't find ANY food without at least a slab of meat on top. Her solution? Three times a day for three weeks, she ate nothing but french fries. Yes. Oily french fries. Then in another country, hamburger buns with cheese.

Awe-inspiring determination methinks. If I were her, I think I'd falter within 5 days of straight french fries consuming, and perhaps less than that. Did I mention she's awfully sweet? Actually, all three of them are so outgoing and friendly and kind, it's hard NOT to get along with them.


Keith, Gregg , Kira and me. I thought I wasn't in the picture =_=;.

Something pretty


What I bought in ActionCity; Tissue boxes and a notebook

After Vivocity, we went to Funan Digital Mall, Singapore's equivalent to LowYat Plaza, only more freakishly neat and organized. PY and Kira wanted to find SD cards, while Keith was feverishly hunting for some PS2 games since his search in Vivocity came to naught.

I forget which part where this certain 'revelation' happened, but I remembered PY looking at me and saying...

PY: You know, there's something familiar about Keith...
Me: Yea, I know... really familliar...

Cue us looking at Keith who was in front of us on an escalator. Commence minor pondering. Then it clicked.

LC. He reminds us a lot of our hobbit friend back in M'sia. Especially their mannerisms. It's... oddly comforting? XD

Also, I finally tried the OSIM leg massager. Did I mention the amount of walking we did? In the rain? Aching limbs, can? So in Yunnan mall, there's a tantalizing OSIM store beckoning us. Kira went in first, then I did. Verdict? Felt so bloody good at that moment. I never dared to try it in M'sia, but in Singapore? Oh hell, they're not going to see me again (<-- also one of the reasons why I had so much fun in Singapore XD)

Back at the hostel, we had some beer while chatting outside of the InnCrowd where there's some tables and chairs so people can chill there. Am terrible with alcohol; my face turns beet red at a few sips of beer (BUT NOT DRUNK!!!). I think they didn't believe me when I said I could turn red fast, but 20 seconds later, they're going, "OMG YOU'RE RED!" Paiseh paiseh....

Anyway, Gregg was telling us about this African drink that sounds like "Yay-ger-meister", which is made from tree barks and tastes like medicine. Keith brought it out from the inn's fridge so we all could drink it.


Never heard of Jagermeifter before, but damn, it tastes good!!!


I didn't drink much really, because PY is halfway drunk and she needs a sober-buddy advised me to not drink beyond my limit =P


Yes, there's more people~
Back: Gregg, Gil, Chris and Keith. Front: Steffen, me, Sue Yin and PY


Hats courtesy of the fun Malaysian girls we met on Day 2
(they plonked it on our heads! XD It's the two girls in front)

The mood was very merry o(^o^)o. Chris is from Canada, Gil is from UK(?) and Stefan from Germany.

It's Christmas Eve and Kira, Gregg and Keith were catching a flight the next day real early. Better don't sleep than risk oversleeping, yes? XD It was getting really late and the staff at the InnCrowd kept trying to shoo us gently. Rinse and repeat and she had to put her foot down. So we headed for BaaBaaBlackChic, a bar owned by InnCrowd which is really near.

The deco there is really comfy! There were pillows and the 'sofa' is big and comfy. Anyway, pictures la.


Gregg and his SUPAAARRRMODEL pose


WE WANNA BE MODELZ TOO!!

When I first saw Steffen, I thought he was kinda shy and well, not so smiley. It could be due to the airport losing his luggage I suppose... But after a few drinks, waddya know?


Steffen: I'm not drunk!!!



Everyone else: Yea yea, we believe you...


I love the girl in the back... she likes popping her head with a funny expression into unexpecting photos


Back: Gregg and Chris. Front: PY, Sue Yin and me.

We were just chilling, and chatting and taking random photos and stuff. Spoke to Chris, who was the drunken guy/toilet mentioned in Day 1 XD. He's actually really nice to talk to, and he can get really hilarious. Like PY actually reminded him of what he did, which he couldn't remember, and when he wanted to go to the loo later, he went, "Okay, I'm going to the toilet now... WITH the doors closed." The expressions on his face is damn cartoon!!

Okay, culture clash session in progress: Sometimes when I laugh big and loud, I would cover my mouth with my hand. Just shield I suppose. I mean, it's normal right?

Right?

Anyway, I did that when the hilarious level in the conversation was off-the-hook and I noticed that there's someone who looks at me whenever I laugh. Later on this person asks PY what's with the mouth-covering, and I was within hearing distance. Eh, terasa, can? Apparently to them, it's rude.

Whattt?? I think you haven't met my relative before, who once tried to aim a peanut into my mouth when I laughed.

Also, how do you react to this:

Guy: Hey, you're actually quite pretty.

(Of course, if you're a guy, imagine you're a girl (unless you bat for the other team....))

As for me, it's this:

Guy: Hey, you're actually quite pretty.
Me : Hahahah, must be the beer!
Guy: *stares without saying anything but a smile*
Me : Uh. -smiles nervously- Bye. *turn*

..................................... orz

How anti-climatic is that???? My brain froze up!! Dammit, I could had been more cool and smooth, and reply with a joke like, "You're getting handsome too! (because of the beer)". Even though I'm drinking cranberry juice...

I think it's about 5 or 6am when we returned to our dorms. Only because, we got shoo-ed. This time by the BaaBaaBlackchic people. Twice in a night, what the hell? XD Before that though, urged by Gregg, we witnessed Keith doing a cartwheel with an opened bottle of beer in his hand WITHOUT SPILLING A DROP!! Although on the 2nd try, he kinda fell and spilled his beer to our amusement.

We said our goodbyes to Gregg, Keith and Kira. I've started to get good at climbing up my bunk quietly because there wasn't a night when PY and me returned to our dorm before midnight to sleep and lights were turned off by then.

Today was also the first time I got called a Malay girl... The sound vibrations, upon reaching my ear, did a whiplash of "WHA..???". Gil kept referring to PY and me as "you two Malay girls" even after PY explained that we are Malaysians but not all of us are Malays.

Day 4

Decided to stay a day longer, and went to get bus tickets with PY. After that we split ways. PY was going to eat lunch with her dad and she has a little hangover going on XD. As for me, I'm heading for IMM Mall in Jurong because my cousin wanted me to get her some jellies from there.

Couldn't find the konnyaku-jellies she wanted, so I bought some other brand instead. I think I bought four packets and it was damn heavy. Then I just explored the mall... I found this shop that sells loads of stuff, from Japanese items to food to DIY etc, but I didn't get anything because I didn't want to waste my money. The frustrating thing about the shop is that there's no price tags!! Only when I asked a staff there for the price of a cute Hello Kitty container, I found out that EVERYTHING in this huge shop has the price of S$2. Damn cun weh! But I only got one item T_T.

It was around 4 to 5 something when PY SMSed me, and I thought I ought to go back. But before that, toilet!! On my way to the loo, this middle-age guy, who was quite small sized, at the vending machine stopped and asked me if I had 20 cents because his coin wouldn't go through the machine. So I exchange the coin with him and somehow or rather, we ended up chatting for nearly 30 minutes (or more? I didn't check the time). He noticed by the way I spoke English that I'm not Singaporean. I can't really pinpoint the topics that we chatted about by now, I vaguely remember that we ventured into topics like politics, environment, Singapore, business etc. All sorts of stuff! But I did enjoy talking to him, because not only he's friendly and well-knowledgable, he didn't seem to harbour any ill intentions, or seem to be some disgruntled old man who liked to complain about youngsters these days.

At some point, my bladder is sending me, "Hello, remember me?" signals, so I told the guy that I enjoyed chatting with him, but I gotta get back soon. Then he tells me that not many Singaporeans would stop to chat with you and to keep my bright smile.

I didn't think much of it that time because I needed to pee. But later on, it did make me feel warm inside.

Or it could be my happy bladder.

Anyway back at the hostel, signed up for the Night Safari. Chatted with someone new in the dorm, who is from Italy. He's going to India next for 3 months, and I said, "Charcoal pills. You gotta have those," and he laughs and he said definitely. If only he knew how much I was in envy.


Dinner before going

While waiting for the transport to take us there, I chatted with this girl from Texas but she's teaching in Japan. I asked her, "JET Programme?" And she said yes. Her name is so cute; Peaches. I wanted to ask what her siblings' names are, just out of curiousity. She's there with a friend, who is also under the JET Programme. There were also Japanese boys (not together) for the Night Safari trip, but we didn't chat with them.

The Night Safari was kind of a let-down, because it rained halfway through the Creatures of the Night show. Sigh.

Guy in black is Freddy from Indonesia

Back at the main building and bored. Chris taught us this game called 'Asshole'. It's a lot like Chor Dai Ti, only more fun in a way.

You play the game the same way, with 3 being the smallest and 2 the biggest. Except, we will add in two Jokers into the deck, and a Joker can beat anything; a 2, a triple 'A', ANYTHING. One 2 can beat doubles and it will take double 2s to beat triples.
In Chor Tai Di, the game ends when one person finishes their card. In 'Asshole', there is crap. No no, I'm kidding. In 'Asshole', the 1st person who finishes his cards is declared 'President'. The next one who finishes is 'Vice President'. Then 'Secretary' and the last one is the 'Asshole'. The Asshole have to chop the deck and sweep the cards away when it's full etc. The Asshole also has to give his two best cards to the President and the President will give the Asshole his worst two. Same with Vice President and Secretary except it's one card.



The funny part is that Chris kept getting the Asshole post. He's like, What the hell, I taught you guys this game, why am I always the Asshole?? XDXD And Steffen kept winning, and winning, and only PY 'overthrew' him once. As for me? I kept hovering between Secretary and Asshole.


The guy on the far left was an Asian model who lived in our dorm.


On the InnCrowd desk


The guy who checked us in and a friendly staff.


The cat that PY likes to kacau XDXD

Day 5

Rained the whole day today. Started yesterday, I think it was a 24 hour ++ rain going on.

Morning, chatted a little with a Malaysian guy(Henry) and some Japanese dude (Sho). Later, me, PY, Steffen and Sho went to Bugis Junction MRT station. Then we splitted ways; Steffen to airport to claim his found luggage, Sho to Harbourfront and me and PY to Suntec City.

What we did today was basically shopping... Oooh, went to a bookstore and there was this delicious section that you'd never see in Malaysia; Adults *wink*. XDXD Went to Suntec City and ate Italian food. Supposed to eat sushi, but we missed the lunch hour. Later, Marina Square. PY was hoping to get some office wear.


PY in an overlarge top and my glasses XDXD



It's our last day in Singapore and we sadly returned to the dorm to pack our belongings for our 10am bus the next day. Chatted with a new guy in the dorm, Adrianto who is from Indonesia. He looked at our purchases and goes, "Hey, that's not backpacking..." and I said hahahah yea, it's more like budget travelling. After all, it's only Singapore. Nice guy to chat to. Chatted quite a lot with him. He was telling me about the time when Indonesian Malays and Chinese were in friction with each other (to put it mildly) and I was quite shocked. During that time, even uttering a Chinese word could get yourself slapped by ethnic Malays who are racist, and those who commited crimes of rape, pillaging, abuse etc towards the Chinese were never convicted in court.

For dinner, I was almost tempted to follow Freddy and this Taiwanese guy to Chinatown because PY wanted to go to Clarke Quay and I wasn't so keen on the idea since I've been there twice already. We were prepared to splurge a little on dinner because it's last day and all. Then I decided to follow PY, Chris and Steffen after all.

It turned out to be a VERY good choice. Why? Upon arriving at Clarke Quay, we were greeted with stalls from seemingly every restaurant in Clarke Quay, and it's free!!


Serious shit. It was the opening of some Mardi Gras event and we're in luck!! The food was simply delicious; I tried so many variety of food that I can't keep track of. Oh yes, HOOTERS!! They have a Hooter's stall opened and the fried chicken wings were very very delicious. Didn't dig the chilli soup or something though. Did I mention Singapore Sling, sake and beer?

As you may expect, we were delirious with joy:


Priceless expression on the right!!!


LIVE MUSIC SUMMORE!!! Radio Mundial (v good band)


This is what beer, sake and Singapore Sling in an hour will do to you


The happiest boy of the day XDXD
the airlines found his luggage today as well

Remember about Clinic? The fascinating bar I mentioned in Day 1?



Me: I'm sick! Requesting for Dr. Shepherd...

After we're well fed and watered, we headed to the MRT in a very merry mood I might say. It doesn't sound fun if I describe it in words, but that night, I was laughing till my sides hurt over Steffen's antics and Chris's comments.

Back in the main building, as PY would say, a mini UN meeting is taking place.


Chris, Freddy, Steffen, Taiwanese girl, Mongolian lady, me, and Adrianto

The Taiwanese girl brought some delicious pineapple cake and gave them to everyone there. (You can see the red box open there) At first I was drawing something quietly; feel as though my battery has run out. Started talking to the Mongolian lady, but after a while, everyone started listening in and Steffen was debating with her when she said Mongolian attitude is same as German attitude or something like that, and I soon lost the thread of the conversation and erm... decided to draw something.

Last day


Bye-bye place where I got my foosball-ass kicked


Bye-bye kitchen (btw, they're the Texan duo!)

I was sitting at the kitchen table talking to Adrianto when I stopped this Austrian guy to ask him something.

Okay, background story: When I first saw this guy few days back, he had terrible-looking red spots all over his arms. To cut a long story short, he's been bitten by bed bugs. To be more specific, scabies. Nasty little buggers they are; they would lay eggs under your skin, and that alone should give you the jitters. He was telling us about his predicament, lol. He went to the doctor, who gave him a special shampoo, so when he used that in the shower, he could see little black dots falling out of his hair, and he had to disinfect all his clothes and items he own. He looks much much better after that. Redness swelling down to almost nothing.

He stays in the main building, different from mine, but I'm still a bit paranoid because I had some red bumps on my arms. I asked him if it looks like what he has and he said no (PHEW!) but if it is, the red bumps will start to appear in one line etc. He's like the information center for scabies XD. Cut long story short, I don't have scabies. It's just some allergy (double checked with a pharmacist).

So now, for example, when PY says dreamily, "I've been bitten by the bug", I will scoot away first and ask her what kind of bug. If she reply 'travel bug', then it's safe to approach her XD.

Before leaving the InnCrowd, I took this SEA travel book out just to flip through. What was written on the first page was hilarious.


If you can't read it, it says:

"Look at page 557.
It tells you how to make heroine!
(and how to spell it...)"

ROTFL!!! But yes, it really does tell you how to make it XDXD

Finally, the time to go.


View from window, Konsortium

============================

Back home in my room, I gather that after all the walking , sweating and with three proper meals a day without snacks, I'm bound to lose some weight. But the scales denies me the pleasure of my assumption.

I did NOT lose weight as hoped. However, my boobs seemed to have shrunk a little.

*ahem* Anyway....

I loved this experience so much. For days after I got back, I couldn't stop thinking of going further, to absorb more and more. It's a bit like piercing... You can just get addicted to it, even if there's a momentary moment of pain.

Singapore is very minor, I know, but when I was travelling, experiencing new things, meeting people... I don't know how to explain it, but it feels as though my heart is filling up, you know? Sort of feeling cold, and then you sip some warm, glorious soup, and it blooms from your tummy to the tips of your toes and the ends of your hair.

I also realised that part of the reason why I loved this trip so much is because there's no one breathing down my neck asking where am I going, why I like to go out, what time am I coming back, how am I going, will my friend fetch me back to my doorstep, what's the telephone number of the people you're going out with, why are you back so late, who, why, where, what, how, ARGH!!

Throughout the whole trip, I learnt so many things just by striking up a conversation with a backpacker. I'm inspired. I mean, I love to travel before this, but all I had were hazy dreams. After this trip, I've made up my mind. The travel bug has sunken its teeth deeper into my skin.


Hello stranger.

1 comment:

gianne said...

1. puiyee left...
Monday, 12 February 2007 10:40 am

Guy: Hey, you're actually quite pretty. Me : Hahahah, must be the beer! Guy: *stares without saying anything but a smile* Me : Uh. -smiles nervously- Bye. *turn*

^ WHOOOOOOOOOO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. GenieOnTheLoose left...
Monday, 12 February 2007 7:03 pm :: http://willowhippo.blog-city.com/

NOT TELLING!!!!! XD