Thursday, August 9, 2007
Well, 11 hours in Singapore. What can you really do.. let me tell you. You can figure out the MRT (Singapore’s train system), get to your hotel through a THRONG of people celebrating thier indpendence day (yes good timing on our part), and walk a little bit around some of the city.
So what was the impressions of Singapore on this whirlwind tour? First, we went to Orchard Road. A bastion of western decadance, commercialism, and outright moderninity. Walking down the road we saw.. Borders (US), Starbucks (US), Timberland (US), McDonalds (US), Burger King (UK.. right harry!), California Pizza Kitchen (US), etc etc etc.. you get the idea. Nothing Asian about this road. But it felt really kind of good to get back to something that felt a little familiar. We actually even stopped and had Micky D’s fries and a coke for dinner just to celebrate the journey.
While gino worked with the Borders folks to find the book he wanted for the flight home, I read a singapore tour guide and tried to figure out what we could walk to through the night. Interesting sights by foot seemed to be where we were, Orchard Road, the Raffles Hotel (home to the singapore sling), the parlament complex, and the circular quay around the river. Well, needless to say when we got off the MRT we turned the wrong way so we never saw the Raffles but we did get to see the Parliment Complex with the stunning city backdrop, and St. Andrews Cathedral. Then walked through what I’m sure is a thriving nightlife spot if the entire town hadn’t gone to the Marina to celebrate the 42 years of Singapore independence from the UK. Unfortunately we didn’t get into town early enough to go and join the party and I think the town had partied itself out by 11pm when we were really getting a chance to do some walking.
So it was back in the cab by midnight and a quick ride down a very Lake Shore Drive-like road to our little hotel in the middle of prostitute land. We spent a short three hours in our room before we had to get up to be at the airport by 4am to catch our 6am flight home. Right now we’re sitting in Tokyo getting ready to hop our last flight home. … I’ll be honest with you I want to keep travling and some of my newfound friends are going to Fiji next week.. I may hop back on a plane and join them.. who knows, I just can’t seem to stop 🙂
So, as we wrap up the trip, a little Top-10 list of lessons learned.
1) If you travel alone, stay in the hostels if you can, you’ll meet all the people you want and more.. just force yourself to say hi to anyone and ask how long thier traveling or where they are from.
2) ALWAYS drink with the Irish, and if you can’t find one of them, anyone from the UK will do
3) A few words like “Thank You”, “Hello”, and “Goodbye” in the local language go a long way to turning stone faced locals into grinning idiots willing to help you with anything.
4) When driving with the steering wheel on the right side of the car the turn signal is on the RIGHT side of the steering wheel, don’t try to use the windshield wipers for that.. you’ll just point out your a foriegner 🙂
5) If you need to get away from the strangeness and differences of a foriegn land, find your nearest Irsih pub, they are the same inside no matter where you go and you’re always sure to find an irishman or woman who’ll talk to you.
6) ALWAYS negotiate price before setting off for anywhere in a taxi, accepting a hotel room, or even buying dinner.
7) Don’t use websites for hostel reservations, pick up the phone and call them, its the only sure way to guarantee you’ll have a room.
8) If you’re going to dive, don’t go with a large boat of people just learning to dive, you’ll get the easiest and most boring sites. Research is king here.
9) Pack LIGHT.. let me say that again, don’t pack a lot, put out what you’re going to take, then put 50% of it back in the drawer. If you’re only goinig to warm weather climates, two pairs of shorts, two bathing suits and 4 or 5 t-shirts out to get you through just fine. Maybe add a nice shirt if you want to look a little bit nice for nighttime.
10) Make sure you have at least one beer for every meal, it will keep you relaxed and happy the whole trip 🙂
OK.. flights getting ready to board.. see you all in 13 hours 🙂