It was indeed the WICKED-est weekend I’ve ever had in my entire 25 years of life on earth! Three of my dreams came true while I was in Singapore. I’m still spazzing like a crazy fangirl right now. It was such a great adventure and experience for me and it still seemed so surreal.
First, I was able to travel to another country. That was such an accomplishment for someone like me – an independent young woman in her early 20s who’s living away from her family and who’s only been working for merely 2 and half years. Moreover, I barely have 20k in my bank account. I still can’t believe I was able to do it. I was hesitant at first of course. I jot down all my expenses and my savings and computed again and again until my head hurts from all the numbers. My main purpose of traveling, at first, was to watch the Super Junior concert in SG. But that would mean I have to spend more because of the ticket prices. So in the end I canceled my plans and told my friend (who was the one pursuing me to go with her since she’s going to watch the concert as well) that I have to bail out for now coz I’m not yet financially ready’.
But then, last January, just before my birthday, I woke up one afternoon and checked my twitter. The said friend was still insisting that I come with her since another friend of ours is also coming with us and her RT flight from Clark only costs about P3,800 only. I dunno what went over me. It was definitely an impulsive decision. I just said “Okay, GO.” After realizing that I cannot be absent for two days from my two part time jobs, I re-booked my flight which made me spend more money than I intended to. T_T Damn you work! I had to buy another P2,500-worth ticket for Saturday early morning instead of my orig RT ticket which was Friday noon. Furthermore, instead of departing from the airport which is nearby my hometown (around 5 hours by bus), I had to go all the way to NAIA airport in Manila (around 8 hours by bus). Just thinking about all those traveling involved exhaust me.
It was my first time flying International, mind you, so I was absolutely terrified and keyed up at the same time. I have no idea what to do first and where to go. Good thing I have my friend with me. ^^ So our flight was at 6:20 AM and we checked in at around quarter to five. I traveled in NAIA 3 before but that was domestic, my flight this time is international and its in NAIA 1.
I just have to say, there are three things that I am totally NOT looking forward to the next time I travel.
- The grumpy and snooping immigration officers. They don’t smile, they’re so damn stern and serious. Get a life. You’ll get old soon guys. Especially the ones in SG. I was unfortunate enough to get the grumpiest and snappiest of them all. It was this old man who kinda looked gay to me. The other I.O. (immigration officer ^^) called his attention, so naturally, I turned my head to look at her as well. Then, in a SNAPPY and ANGRY voice, the I.O. in front of me said “HEY! HEY LOOK AT ME! YOU LOOK AT ME NOW!” I was taken aback by the attitude. Chill, dude, I’m not impersonating someone and I’m totally not avoiding eye contact with you. I just couldn’t bear looking at your BB Cream-ed face. XD
- The damn embarkation card. My friend and I were making fun of someone (I’d rather NOT namedrop ^^) for taking a long time in answering the embarkation card before. We thought, “How stupid could he get? It’s so easy to fill up.” But we were wrong. Well, for first time flyers it is kinda confusing in some way. And there are actually lots of info to be provided. Like my passport number, date I received the passport, date it will expire, the address of the person I’m visiting abroad and some other info that I couldn’t think of right then and there. I had to check through the papers that I have with me and take a peek at my passport for that. It was kinda stressful. Haha. To our chagrin, we needed to answer ANOTHER card, this time a disembarkation one, before we land in SG. Wow. Just how many embarkation cards are there?
- Gigantic American seatmates who snores LOUDLY and who seemed to have halitosis. Yes. Unluckily for my friend and I, we were put in the same row as this humongous American who sat in the aisle (coz I have the window seat ^^). So we have to get through him before we can visit the loo. I had my mp3 on and I was trying to get some sleep during the three-hour flight but I could still hear him snoring REALLY loud. If that isn’t enough, I could smell something stinky coming from him from where I was seated. UGH.
The first thing I did when I set foot on the soils of SG was… SMILE. I want to enter and leave the country with a smile. ^^ The weather was pretty much the same as the Philippines but it was much tolerable. What I noticed the moment I got on the SMRT (their subway train which, by the way, was simply fantastic and very helpful) was the fact that SG has such diverse set of people and culture. It was like the melting point of mixed races and nationalities which are poles apart. Indeed, it was sort of overpopulated by Filipinos, but other than that there were like 5 other dominant races – Singaporean, Bangladesh, Indian, Chinese and a bit of Japanese as well. It was so amusing that it felt like I was in a United Nations conference or something. 😀
One thing I love about this country was how progressive and advanced they are. Particularly their transportation system. I was so amazed by how disciplined and organized the transportation system was.
They have this EZ Link card that can be used for both bus and SMRT (and even at McDonald’s and 7-11). My cousin, who lives there, even told me that one time she left the house with nothing but that EZ Link card and she was able to eat and get around the city with no troubles. Imagine that! I love tapping out that card in the subway turnstile and before and after I get on a bus. It was very convenient and pretty cool for me. ^^
I really envy their country for having this structured system, which is why there is less traffic in the streets. It also makes the people more disciplined because they cannot just ride or ‘alight’ a bus anywhere and anytime they want to. They really have to wait for the specific bus with specific route at specific bus stops. If they missed the bus going to where they are supposed to go, they have to wait for the next bus with the same route OR find another route. It was so beautiful. Haha. I’m so in love with their transportation system.
EMBARRASSING EXPERIENCE ALERT! Well it was more like humiliating. ^^;; My first time to ride the bus, we were in a hurry coz the bus was about to leave so we ran after it. I was the last one to get in and in my haste I forgot to tap out the card. I also forgot what my friend told me about the people using “Hello” as a substitute for “Excuse me”. So I just walked inside and ignored the driver who was “Hello-ing” me. XD My friend told me that I forgot to tap out so I have to go back and do that. ^^;; Talk about embarrassing.
Another thing I like about their buses and subway trains are the ‘RESERVED SEAT’ part for the elders, pregnant women, children and disabled. I know we also have that in the Philippines but the ones in Singapore seemed more legit and people seemed to really avoid this seat. I felt uncomfortable when I sat at it once even though there were no elders or pregnant women around whom I had to give it up to.
And OMG the DOUBLE-DECKER bus! I was literally jumping up and down when I saw that and I couldn’t wait to ride on it! It was totally a ‘dream come true’ when I finally got to ride in one – it felt like I was in Harry Potter or something. ^.^ I really, really wish our bus system gets upgraded. Actually, I wish they’d give the transportation system a face-lift. That way we can avoid traffic, road accidents and people would not cross the streets anywhere and anytime they like.
Like I said, this country is so diverse that you can also find traces of other nationalities in their food. There’s a variety of choices so you won’t really get tired of the old Singaporean food. But of course I had to try out some of their famous meals. Chicken rice and Pepper Rice were both sumptuous.
^ Chicken Rice~
^ The Indian Prata – pancake bread with different curry sauces
The latter was kinda spicy for me though. I wanted to try some of those Indian Prata but they were out of stock when I ordered it. 😦 I noticed they have lots of noodles; there was even a stall in the food court where you can pick a variety of toppings for your noodles. I’m not a noodle person so I didn’t try any of that.
I tried one of their drinks called CHESTNUT WATER and I loved it! ^^
I found this really cool parody of the Philippines’s JOLLIBEE fast food restaurant. It’s called JOLLIBEAN. Haha. They sell some bread and flavored soybean shakes. I tried it and it’s pretty good. 😉
When it comes to houses, they are quite organized as well. They don’t have a lot of real ‘houses’ – like Desperate Housewives-type of houses. All you can see are apartment complex and I love that setting. It was just so organized. OKAY, I gotta stop comparing it to my country… hehe. I just really hope that by the time I have my own family, my country would be as progressive as Singapore.
We went to this upscale and high end place called DEMPSEY HILL. Nothing much to see over there. Unless you’re blond and you have a Ferrari or a mini-cooper or something. ^^
We had fun at Ben and Jerry’s though. The root beer that I ordered – which really looked like beer – totally quenched my thirst. I hated the weather that day. It was cloudy but for some reason it feels muggy and I was sweating.
After that we started ‘mall hopping’. The malls were pretty cool but I wasn’t really that amazed once I saw the inside. Of course the façade was fantastic, but inside, it was just like any other shopping mall. I kinda got tired from all the walking so I felt a little grumpy and moody by the end of the day.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE SHOPPING and all that but I can only tolerate much. PLUS, I didn’t really go to SG to shop. If I’m gonna buy clothes, shoes or bags, I’d rather visit my favorite secondhand stores in my city. ^.^ Plus, everything is expensive in SG. I couldn’t really complain to the people I’m with coz I’m just a ‘visitor’ and I have no right to do that.
ANYWAY, we shopped at FAIR PRICE before going home. That place was heaven! The chocolates, the multi-flavored Yakult and Cream-O, the NUTELLA ^^ and loads of food and stuff with cheaper prices!
The following day, we were supposed to go to the Chinese-Japanese Garden early in the morning but we didn’t realize that the sun shines a bit later in SG. It was already 7 am and it was still dark outside! Same with the sun set, 7 pm was still bright outside. So we woke up kinda late and we just went to church. YES. I went to church. ^^;; Moving on, we went to another shopping mall (YAY…) but this time I kinda like it because I saw lots of nifty and pretty cool stuff. There was this stall that sells some pretty awesome flash disk drives with various designs: credit cards, finger, banana, animals, cartoon characters, mini-cakes and candies and other really cute things. I also got inside this shop with lots of KPOP stuff and of course I was just ecstatic. 😀
After that I had to run over to the Marina Bay Sands Theater to do something I’ve never done before – WATCH A MUSICAL. ^________^ Yes, finally I can say that I’ve seen a musical and one of the most wonderful and amazing musicals at that. It was this Broadway musical called WICKED. My spazzing and review of that deserves another blog post which can be found here.
My dream of riding those ‘gondolas’ inside the Marina Bay Sands mall didn’t come true though coz we didn’t have time for that and it costs $10, I think. But I took some pictures. 😀 I wasn’t able to see some of the more magnificent parts of that place but I was able to enjoy my time there. ^^
Sentosa Day. It was one great trip to wrap up our last day in SG. Although I had no intentions of going inside Universal Studios (coz it’s too damn expensive) I have to say it was definitely worth it.
Strolling around Hershey’s World and Candylicious felt like stepping into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It was just amazing with a capital A.
We had a fun time over there but we couldn’t really visit the other tourists’ spots in Sentosa like the Merlion thingy coz my other friend and I need to catch our flight back to the Philippines. It felt sad to leave just like that but all things must come to an end. We bid goodbye to our friend and went back to Changi airport.
^BTW, I love the escalators in the subway! They would eat you up and spit you out so quickly you’d pick yourself up from the floor afterwards. Haha. They’re so freakin’ fast! Like, really FAST. So you really need to watch your step and KEEP LEFT if you are not in a hurry coz the right side is the ‘express way’ where people who are in a hurry zoom past. ^^ It’s pretty cool once you get used to it.
^ My last peek at SG.
And that’s the end of my wonderful, WICKED, weekend in SG. The ending was quite simple but it was magical and memorable for me. I would love to go back there but I don’t think I can do that anytime soon. I probably have to work my ass off and prepare a lot of money. 😉