Singapore's fire hall and Sentosa Island

Trip Start Oct 20, 2011
1
9
Trip End Nov 04, 2011


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What I did
Sentosa Island

Flag of Singapore  ,
Saturday, October 29, 2011

I definitely woke up with a dry mouth and a bit of a head throb. But I woke up, which gives way to fabulous possibilities. I was woken with 15 minutes to be ready. But I can scramble out of bed like nobodies business and was ready by 8 am on the dot.

We met our bodies a tad late though. Transportation took time. We rode the bus to the station and caught the train to city hall station. Our buddies and our teachers were there waiting for us. They took us for breakfast which consisted of Kaya toast and more delicious coffee. I enjoyed talking to Christina about her family and sharing about mine.

Then we were off to the fire station. It was open to the public. We got to check out the insides of different ambulances, some are smaller van like ambulances. They even had bike ambulances. Which is efficient because here in Singapore they could use them year round. Where as in Calgary we have a window of opportunity for the use of bikes.

I enjoyed checking out the fire trucks and seeing the fire men in their outfits. And the station had the fire crane set up. It had the ability of going 80 meters in the air. I rode it with my friend Attica and we went up probably 30 meters. I only have a mild fear of heights.

Next we got to tour around the fire station museum. Here we were exposed to the vintage wear and epilats that fire fights and paramedics wore. The history was neat and has a similiar history to Canada. The fire fighters and paramedics have a strong military influence and started in the Civil Defense.

When we went upstairs we got to see some of the older firehalls that have been torn down. Here in Singapore there is high building standards and often things are being rebuilt. A building ten years old is considered old. Imagine that. Singapore continues to blow me away by it's efficiency and use of space.

There was a DART team member upstairs who had incredible things to say. I can't remember the acroynym for it but it's disaster forces search and rescue. The officer told us about what it takes to do such work. The officer showed us pictures of his search and rescue dogs and explained to us the processes in which they are trained, how they are used in the force and what happens to them when they get a certain age. He explained that during the last few years of the dogs life they are sent to a home where they can be a dog again. The trainer does not visit the dog as it will remind the dog of it's service duties. The officer was extremely passionate about his dogs and showed us pictures of different dogs, even one he had sent to heaven. Disaster rescue is an incredible force, and takes an incredible mind. A person puts themselves in grave danger and with help of the dog and the dog camera they can help to save those trapped in rubble.

We all seemed to really enjoy the fire hall. We all bought fire station shirts. I bought an EMS shirt too. And I most definitely left with a grin on my face. What neat things our class is getting to experience here in Singapore.


Singapore's Sentosa Island

The weekend is here. And Saturday brings new adventures for us. Into Singapore’s beautiful Island of Sentosa we go. The island is extremely commercial with flashy buildings and its very own Universal studios. A person can pay $1 to walk over the bridge to get to the island.

Instantly KFC’s, Starbucks and McDonalds surround us. One can never seem to escape the fast food realties of capitalism. And I’m in Canada, which pangs me to feel that north American twinge again. I see Caucasians everywhere I look and feel a miniature culture shock happen. But putting the business aspect aside Sentosa is divine.

The waters bring a certain feel into me. Walking along the bridge I got to take a peak at the port, which is quite extensive. I was told that Singapore has the second biggest port in comparison to Panama. If a person were to line up all the crates that come into Singapore in one day it would wrap around it twice. WOW

Our group got to Sentosa and checked out some awesome sites. There were amusement attractions like Luge, Segways, bicycle riding, and site seeing towers, inside skydiving; water world adventures, and beautiful white sandy beaches. There was also fort Siloso, which is a replication to help to describe some of Singapore’s forts during the world war two I believe.

Sheldon, Naomi, Ali and myself decided we’d like to swim with sharks. We went into the underwater world and one of the intense experiences began to unfold. There were stingrays that could be touched; there were fishes from all sorts of places. Some of my favorite fish were the invertebrates like the jellyfish. I also saw gray reef sharks, dragon fish that looked like mini dragons. My teacher had told me that they’re very rare too. I saw worm looking fishes too. I can’t even remember all the kinds of fishes I saw.

But my favorite part of being in the under water world was going scuba diving. There was this large tunnel in which tourists could go into. The tunnel was glass and a person could stand on a flat escalator that would tour them around to see sharks, stingrays, and a variety of different kinds of fishes. There were some huge ones too!! First Ali and Naomi went and watching them was a blast. They got to swim around and tourists watched and snapped photos of them. They were with a guide. The fish would swim so close to them. I couldn’t wait for my turn to come. And eventually it did.

When It was my professors and my turn we got to see above the tunnel. From above it was much less commercial. And we put on our scuba gear. The instructor gave us guidelines. He told us to touch the fish but not to pull on their tails. He told us to treat them like our babies. Which made me laugh. This man was a neat fellow. The instructor gave me the run down on how to scuba dive, like how to measure your mask, how to breathe calmly and the hand signals to say I’m okay, I need to go up right now, or I need to go up to fix something. He also showed me how to equalize the pressure by popping my ears or adjusting my jaw.

I am submerged into the water. It is 27 degrees. So it’s fairly warm. The instructor and Sheldon go down first. Breathing with an air tank is a little bit strange at first. Because my logic tells me I’m under water and cant breathe and there is resistance to breathe. But I take a deep breath and breathe out. Bubble burst from my mouth. I feel heavy with the rock belt on me to keep me on the bottom of the tank. Humans are buoyant unless weighted down. I can still remember looking around this 4 meter tall tank (and who knows how many feet wide) and seeing fish rushing all around me. I got to watch them swim and play. Pet Gray reef sharks; touch stingrays with their barbs on them that were almost my size, and some that were even bigger. I loved watching fish swim around. And there was a puffer fish that was extremely friendly. He hung out around my feet. His little fins cracked me up.

A few times I scared the sharks. My movement underwater with all the gear was clumsy and sea animals are just as sensitive if not more then land animals. And being underwater was so quiet. Every breath I took was echoed into my own ears. I couldn’t talk and for 30 minutes or so I just got to see, and feel.

It was a serene kind of peace, one I’d like to actively pursue again. At some point in my life I think I’ll try and get my scuba diving license. It could be a neat hobby to get into.

So that was swimming with fish and sharks. Animals are fascinating, especially because instinct still is strongest. And I put value on primal instincts.

We met up with the other group and separated again. Sheldon and I went to try the Luge. First we went up the skyride, which was absolutely surreal. The view was incredible and we could easily see Malaysia. The jungle was accented on the Sentosa Island and again the atmosphere around me penetrated me. I felt peace and thankfulness to be able to see beauty around me.

When we went on the luge, it was little sit on skateboards with steering wheels. We went whipping down the hill laughing the entire way down. The ride was short and sweet and had my adrenalin going.

When we were awaiting to meet back with our group I went and sat at the white sandy ocean. I put my feet into the water and it was so warm. The East China Sea is so delightfully warm. I sat down on the beach and enjoyed the silence. I dug my hands into the sand and the feeling was extremely satisfying.

I’ve realized on this trip even more then before how simple of a girl I am. I am comforted by a warm meal, by sand in my hands and by a warm supportive environment. I can get ready in 5 minutes and would wear the same thing every day if I could. I also realize that I am so incredibly thorough and so inside of my head that I am currently having to put more effort to come out into the now. I have been working on being present in my existence mentally and though it is not always easy it is definitely rewarding.

Our buddies from Singapore took us for some dinner and then home. I remember falling asleep warm and happy. Thinking to myself that though I live in a luxury world in this limbo land of Singapore at home awaits a new journey. In my future I see a budget, dedication to school and with a future full of new and beautiful challenges. I have come to feel that I would greatly benefit from some real life experience in the paramedic field and I’d like to do that by volunteering or even getting a job. This is my mission for when I get home.

Saturday Sentosa adventure was divine. I hope to tell this story down the road. But that’s the unknown. And now is my bedtime.

Sweet dreams my friends

As always,

Sincerely always

Lots of my love

Samantha

xo
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