Monday, July 08, 2013

Singapore-Malaysia Weekend

On the move
My recent trip to Singapore and Malaysia was not a vacation. It was an adventure, which is by far, the most exhausting. If we weren't running from one station to the next and hopping from one train to another, we walked--carrying our backpacks and honing our legs with the strength of our youth.
Photos by Crista
We landed on Changi Airport on Saturday past 1am and had no place to stay. After a quick midnight meal, we scouted the place for a free charging station. By the time we found one and thought we could finally get a nap until daylight arrives, a group of security guards appeared and started asking for our passports.

Confused looks were exchanged and after a few silent moments, we were informed that it was not allowed to loiter at the airport unless you have a plane to catch. We were then escorted by a few more airport security to immigration. We have not landed on Singapore grounds (technically) and we almost got ourselves in trouble! This became something to laugh about among the group during the rest of the trip.
Early birds at the train station
Botanical Gardens Singapore - a death march for these lost souls
We left the airport in hopes of finding a hotel. A taxi drove us to Chinatown. The driver was a real character!  When Franz and I were on the verge of getting nowhere, he stopped at the side of the road and waited for us to decide. I sadly thought of how it could have turned out if it happened to a tourist in the Philippines.

We walked the length of Chinatown for what seemed like an hour. To our dismay, all the hostels we passed were already fully-booked. The streets were beautiful anyway, and we all felt safe even though it was past 4 in the morning. We all decided to wait for the train station to open and visit Botanical Gardens.
The making of Roti Prata
The second we entered the gardens, we immediately looked for the food court. It was at the end of the map. Okay, noted! We just have to walk until we get to the end and we can have our food, we thought. We were fools! Walk, we did. And the signs still read Food Court at the bottom, so we walked farther. We passed by gardens after gardens, and no restaurant was to be found. We asked locals after locals and got various answers that we were beginning to believe there was no food court to begin with!!! We were so tired and hungry.

The gods were probably mocking us at this point because right when we were at the last stretch of our patience, we turned around and BOOM! There is the food court right in front of us! I remember Isa cursing so hard as we crossed the road to get there. We ate so much good food that morning to mock the gods back. But we were punished in return. Haha!
The view from the cable car
When we left in search of the nearest MRT station, we found a cab but the taxi driver refused to let us in since it was just a few blocks away! We thanked him and marveled that at how honest Singaporeans are. We walked a few blocks, all right. But we would have been happier to ride a taxi than walk 400+ m of concrete under the sun, carrying all our belongings. It was a workout we didn't need/expect. We reached the station alive, in case anyone's wondering. We spent the afternoon at Sentosa.

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