We ( I and a bunch of friends) bought the tickets last year. It supposed to be our group travel. From about 23 friends who had bought the tickets, we ended up leaving with 17 of us. It was still a big group. I am not a big city fan. I have never thought nor interested to visit this city/country, but traveling with big group of friends sounded tempting, thus I decided to join in. Yet, decided not going to go in the near departure weeks, until 3 days before the H day I changed my mind. So, there I was in the early flight with my friends heading to Singapore.
The 1st day was tough. Not only I have no freaking ideas what the plan was, my own bad didn’t follow up my friends group planning, I only knew that we supposed to be together on the first day, then we can split up and do whatever we want on the 2nd and 3rd day. From the moment we were about to leave the airport we got split up into 2 groups. We left the arrival gate heading into connecting building by taking a transport they call it “Sky Train”, some of my friends sounded excited by the idea or maybe by its name, which is indeed cool. But what it is about is nothing than a speeding capsule in the dark. Next, we got our selves MRT/City bus card, to transport around. Then we hopped into the train to get to the hostel where my friends are going to stay in Little India. My 2 friends took charge reading the map to know which trains to take. So, I basically just followed wherever the group is going. 1st train, 2nd train I was alrite, but as soon as I lost track at how many platforms we were at, how many escalators we took, how many trains we hopped in, the frustration and exhaustion started to creep in. All I saw that moment was a crowd of rushing people and tunnels. We woke up really early, we were hungry, and we had to find our way, and I specifically have light claustrophobia and agoraphobia (that’s the point where my head starts throbbing), and I am used to be the one who navigate, not to be navigated, so it was kind of tough for me. Even once we were in open space, I still couldn’t catch my breath as we needed to keep moving to find the hotel and food.
We found the hotel, and even to go for lunch, we had to travel by the train again, coz a friend wanted to take us to this particular place to eat. So its another struggle with people and tunnels and escalators. But we did it anyway, and after lunch we felt recharged, we had chicken rice, the chicken was amazingly juicy and soft. We went to China town and visited a big Buddhist temple ( I never quite paid attention to places name, so I don’t know the name for this temple), all I can remember this temple has 4 floors and a roof garden and quite beautiful and well maintained and that I had to go up and down the elevator just to find a toilet which actually located at the emergency exit stairs, and it was quite an emergency for me. Then we took a walk around a bit, while waiting for the 2nd group to join in. At the end of the day, we never got together (fyi). Then my friend took us to Marina Bay, to take pictures with THE LION. All I looked for was a place I can rest my head and nap a bit. So I saw stairs and a little piece of wall, so I sat down, laid my head on the wall, covered my face with my hat, and doze off…for few minutes, while my friends taking pictures. After one more building visit, I and a couple friend decided to go back to the hotel earlier, too tired to enjoy anything at all. I was already a zombie with a headache.
While my friends staying at hotels, I decided to CouchSurf for 2 reasons only, I couldn’t afford the hotel and I simply want to experience couch surf and staying with the local. I contacted a friend; Noer, who I met in Bali before. She lives at one of the end areas of Singapore, in one of the high blocks, it is a flat. Noer lives with her sister and brother and parents in a simple small space. It was interesting really. In Indonesia, we call it Rumah Susun ( I don’t know the term in English), I don’t quite remember I have even been in one before. It is basically just one block divided into few rooms and a kitchen and a bathroom, it has little front porch, and located on the 7th floor of the building ( I think..or was it 6th). And there are 3 buildings that have the same structures as where Noer lives in. They don’t have the field….to play kites, or just running around wildly. They do have playgrounds, small one compare to where I used to play. I met her mum for breakfast, and had a nice prata bread (indian bread with curry sauce) and a glass of tea, chatted with her a bit before experiencing another day. And in fact, my day started to get better by then on.
Things I noticed at that first day were, almost everyone wearing earphones, and busy with their phones/pad/tablets/devices, they are always in hurry, they seem never sit on the floor on the stations (the fact that when we were just sitting on the floor resting a bit in one of the stations, people were looking at us, strange). And coming from a less developed country compare to Singapore, everything become so damn expensive in there. We kept looking for free tab water around to fill our bottles rather than paying One dollar to get the medium size mineral water. (1SGD = 9.500IDR)
Oh! I did a little crime on that day, Noer was shocked when I told her. I managed to hop on the train without tapping my card, but tailing my friends, in a quick movement while they tapped their cards and crossed the automatic metal gate (in and out). Mind you! CCTV is everywhere and fine is crazily high (like 500SGD at least), but YAY! It was more for fun sake and dunno…breaking the rules a bit…fun.