I finally made it. This is the last of the travel installments from 2007/2008. 10 damn years it’s taken to get around to writing these blog posts. I can’t help but wonder if half of what I’ve noted really happened or if my mind is playing tricks on me. What about the things that I didn’t write down? I hope my memories don’t fade. This whole mini project has already bought back so many forgotten images and emotions.
When re-booking my return flight home from Australia in around May/June time (orignal return date I think was July), I had a stopover planned in Singapore. How long I would spend there was entirely up to me. Having done absolutely no research of course, I gave myself a week on a whim and then didn’t think about it again until just a few days before I was due to leave Oz.
In truth, when the time to leave arrived I was kinda scared. I’d just proven to myself I could cope in Australia, but the prospect of Asia was a little different and my only experience had been those couple of days in Bangkok the year before. I had zero idea of what to expect from Singapore. I also had hardly any money. In fact, when I closed my Australian account the morning I left Manly they had made me pay them for bank charges they couldn’t recuperate from my account leaving me to bum a few dollars from Mike (who I met at Circular Quay for a goodbye, we were the final 2 people from the trip a year before still in the country) to get the train to the airport! Oops! If you read this Mike, I still owe you one!
I booked a cracking little hostel called The Inn Crowd in Little India. Getting there from the airport was so easy, with a bus dropping me off right at the door. (Getting back would not be so easy … the MRT to Changi airport I think is hard enough at the best of times, let along with a backpack, surfboard and skateboard!). They gave me eggs in the morning for breakfast every morning and even put on a walking tour or two free of charge.
For the next week I would spend my time exploring the city on foot as I couldn’t afford public transport. I felt so much regret in Sim Lim Square, there was just so much camera gear I wanted to buy! Eating every day was spent in either the local hawker centres knocking back 2 or 3 dollar meals or in the food halls of one of the numerous shopping malls … and they were always amazing.
I met a few great people for the first few days of the hostel, which made settling in easy. First up was Gaby, an astonishing girl from Canada. For her it was the start of her travels and she’d spend the next 9 months to a year cycling from Singapore through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. An incredible person. I also met a couple called Adeline and Brad (from France and South Africa respectively). They also were just starting their adventures … and now live in New Zealand with a baby!
I think my most favourite thing about Singapore was the Botanic Gardens. They were such a sight and I spent hours walking around them exploring.
As I think you may guess, my biggest regret with Singapore was that I didn’t have enough money. I enjoyed my time heaps, but there was so much more I coud have done. Perhaps in a parallel world, Singapore was just the start and I’d have continued my travels up through Malaysia and just kept going.
Still, if my experience* in Orchard Towers at the end of the week was anything to go by, perhaps it’s sensible I didn’t have any money left in my pocket …
So then, it was finally back to England … and to real life.
*That story doesn’t go in print. If you see me, buy me a beer and I’ll tell you all about it!