Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
31Trip End Apr 03, 2012
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Where I stayed
CSed with Ted
With another flight onwards to Malaysian Borneo already scheduled for 4 days later, I already had limited time for visiting Singapore. This unexpected extra night in Vietnam reduced my exploration of the new city to a mere 2.5 full days. I don't believe that was enough, but it had to suffice. As it is a major transportation hub for the region, I believe I will likely return one day--on my way to hit more/other SE Asian countries, ones I missed this time around (and who knows, maybe re-visit some I've seen these last 4 months?). At that point I will have to do Singapore more justice.
As it turned out, these 2.5 days there were a rather emotional time for me. While I enjoyed the city and discovering a small piece of all that it has to offer, at the same time I was heart-broken by what came to pass with my poor kitty at home. We had to put her down, as she was just so sick and not going to get any better. Ani was staying at my mom's place in CA; a million thanks to my mom for taking care of her in her final days. I was "with her" to say a final good-bye via skype. It was obviously very sad for me. I still can't imagine returning home and her not being there. She was such a good kitty, and it was completely unfair that she got so sick. She was only 11.5 years old
In between skype dates with Mom and Ani, it took a lot for me to muster up the energy and motivation to go out and see the city. Somehow I managed to get out a few times, and I did appreciate the things I saw as best I could. Singapore is a super easy city to navigate, with public transit being widespread and efficient. It seemed so quiet there after Vietnam. No car horns or street vendors, and hardly any motorbikes. I was struck too by how clean, modern, and well kept it was.
I couchsurfed with Ted, who is very knowledgeable about the city, it's culture (and many other places in the world at that). He was a good guy, very hospitable, and he kindly put up with my melancholy state. I enjoyed a concert of traditional Chinese music with him on the night of my arrival, as well as a whirlwind tour of Chinatown, the waterfront, and parts of the business district.
I went on a meditative walk on my own up Faber Hill and along part of the Southern Ridges trail (nice city views). I also walked through Singapore's Little India and Kampong Glam--the old Muslim quarter of the city--as well as along the river and through the old colonial district
On my second night I pulled myself together enough to meet with another CSer for dinner. I should mention my somewhat new and recent fascination with India--I suddenly, in the last year, have found myself wanting to travel there SOON! CSer Harish, my dinner companion that night was originally from India, and I enjoyed having a chance to learn from him a bit more about the country as we shared one of the best Indian meals I have ever eaten. He was super friendly, and easy to talk to, and--amazingly--he helped me forget about my sadness for a few hours.
The following day--post walking and crying, crying and walking--I sat out one (of numerous) giant thunderstorms undercover with some cheap beer at a corner seafood restaurant in Chinatown. People-watching and drowning my sorrow in beer rather than rain water proved to be a decent way to gear up for the Night Safari on that--my last in Singapore--night. One of the city's famous attractions, I had to go to this. It's basically like visiting a zoo after hours; but the place has minimal cages, so the idea is that it is more "wild." There is a train-ride through the various areas, and a few walking trails. Most impressive in my opinion were the bats and flying squirrels. Over all, I found the place rather corny, and I am not sure it's worth its inflated admission price. But, I am still glad I did it.
Ted and I stayed up late that night, drinking more beer and talking travel. I was so thankful to be surfing there with him at that time. He and his kindness, his upbeat demeanor, his knowledge and his travel tales were all really helpful in getting me through such a tough emotional time. Also having the comfortable space, internet connection and privacy that I did at his place was invaluable to me. I believe the sadness would have been much more difficult to bear had I spent my time there in a hostel or hotel. I owe Ted, big time. Hopefully I can repay his kindness and understanding when I pass through Singapore again one day. And surely, when I return I will not be numb with grief. I will be happy and able to really appreciate the city for all it's worth.