Singapore, I’m Charmed to Meet You!
After crossing the Pacific Ocean on Cathay Pacific, and 15 hours later, I arrived in Singapore! The flight itself was very interesting because I met my first new friend. Her name was Gita, and she was a Hindu from Trinidad! The moment she heard me speak, she recognized my accent as Caribbean, and she was really happy that I was seated next to her. Her personality was great, and I appreciated her company on my first long haul flight. Even more touching, was her dedication in making sure that I arrived at my gate in Hong Kong in time, so that I wouldn’t miss my flight to Singapore. Gita, thanks for everything!
I’ve never stepped foot in Asia before, and I felt like an explorer, out to discover a foreign land. I had no set plans for this new country, and I was excited by the prospect of letting fate take over. I was a mess of happy emotions by the time I rushed through the airport (having only hand luggage made this quite easy).
First matter at hand, find my guesthouse! I’d copied the directions and had them written down in my notepad, so after two metro stops and about 5 minutes of walking, I found myself at my new home. That weekend was the Singapore Grand Prix, so lots of rooms were sold out, so I decided to stay at my very first backpackers house. It was called the Rucksack Inn 2, and it was quite lovely. I especially loved the chilled out common room, with the bright colours and tiny bicycles parked near the flat screen tv!
I freshened up, and went straight back outside to hit the town! I walked down to Clarke Quay and went around the area to the Riverwalk. It was very peaceful, and I had a nice time just drifting around with little care in the world. There were a few young couples sitting at the river’s edge, older couples taking a stroll, and the odd lonesome person (like me!) simply enjoying their own company.
I then happened upon an Arabian ice cream vendor and decided to try a chocolate ice cream cone. How was I to know that I’d be getting a miniature show for the price of a scoop of ice cream? He’d give you the empty cone to hold, place the scoop on your cone, and the second you move your hand to lick your ice cream, he’d flick his wrist, and your ice cream disappeared off your cone! It was quite bizarre, yet he made me laugh! Random things always seem to happen when you’re away from home!
After finishing my cone, I decided to practice the art of self photography. However, my efforts were never truly fulfilled. A friendly local noticed what I was trying to accomplish, and offered to take my photo for me. This was very touching, the simple act of kindness from one stranger to another.
At this point, I wanted to look for the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple near China Town. I decided to walk, not only to stretch my legs after the long flight, but to also get a more intimate view into the life of the locals. After about 20 minutes, I arrived at the temple. I loved the bright red colour, however, it was a bit difficult to photograph given the fact that the sun was setting. I tried my best, and after I was satisfied with my efforts, I was starving.
Being in China Town, there was no shortage of outdoor restaurants. I chose one at random, scanned the menu, and decided to order a dish of rice noodles with shrimp and chili sauce. I also ordered a glass of freshly made orange juice, to accompany the meal. The food was delicious, and I ate to my heart’s content. I playfully struggled with the chopsticks, as we don’t really have them in Antigua. A guy from the restaurant noticed, and sat with me for a while, giving me a few pointers on how to use the eating utensils. It was lots of fun!
Night fell, so I finally settled my bill and left the restaurant. Before heading back to the guesthouse, I decided to try a bottle of Tiger beer. I seated myself at one of the countless bars in China Town, and ordered a bottle. I was beyond shocked when the lady plopped this massive bottle of beer in front of me with a smile. The beer was HUGE! Good thing I enjoyed drinking it, or else that could have been a problem.
After a while, of sipping the beer and drinking in the noises, smells and atmosphere which is China Town, jet lag caught up with me, and I decided to call it a night. My first few hours in Singapore were great, and who knows what adventure lies ahead for tomorrow?