17
Mar
10

Mar 15-18: Phuket to Singapore

The end is here.

It makes me super sad that in approximately 21 hours I will be standing once more on Canadian soil. Not that I don’t love Canada, but I’m not quite sure I want this adventure to be over. Anyone who knows me knows that when I travel, I don’t go halfway. It’s always an epic trip, and it goes without saying that the longer I am away the harder it is to come back. Yes, the life of a traveller can be tiresome, but it is never boring, and I think I will miss knowing that each day I wake up is going to be new and exciting in it’s own way.

On Monday morning we left Thai beach paradise for a gruelling 28-hour trip to Singapore. Our minivan pickup came at 7:30AM, and we arrived in Penang, Malaysia (only!) 13 hours later after one more minivan pickup (the great Thai minivan shuffle, once again!) and a transfer to a VIP bus. The bus to Singapore was surprisingly comfortable, and besides the obligatory stops at immigration along the way (twice at each border – Thai, Malaysia; Malaysia, Singapore) the trip was quite nice. We arrived in Singapore at 9:30AM and caught a taxi to our hole-in-the-wall hostel. The only thing this place had going for it was the location, which was in the CBD and was excellent.

Singapore is a strange and unique city. It is immaculately clean, which I liken to Hong Kong, although without the throngs of people everywhere. Singapore is known as the “fine city” both because it is nice and clean, but also because there are fines for EVERYTHING. Some signs I saw warned people against doing things like spitting, chewing gum (yes, Singaporeans aren’t allowed to chew gum, so they don’t sell it anywhere!), eating or drinking on the MRT (subway). There are also stiff fines for possession of pornography (jail and caning!) and possession of drugs (death!). And the funniest thing is, people here actually adhere to these laws! It’s so bizarre.

Courtney and I spent pretty much our entire time walking around the city. Singapore is pretty pedestrian friendly, but their streets have a tendency to not follow a grid pattern, and sidewalks are known to end abruptly and start again at the other side of the street. Motorists are fairly respectful of pedestrians, though, and will usually give them the right of way. Refreshing from the chaos of Bangkok and even the insanity of drivers in Toronto!

On Tuesday we went shopping at the electronics malls, but didn’t find many good deals. Mobile phones are cheap and plentiful, but things like iPods and netbooks are cheaper at home, surprisingly. Singapore is NOT a cheap city, for anything. Food, clothes, attractions, all are more expensive than anyplace else in Asia (including Hong Kong) and more expensive than at home as well.

Tuesday night we went to the night safari, which is a big attraction in Singapore. There is a nocturnal animal show, where trainers show an audience the skills of creatures such as sloths, otters, and hyenas. Then we took a tram ride through their night jungle, where we saw tons of animals from all over the world. The highlight for me was the lions! They’re beautiful!

Yesterday Court and I did a walk through Chinatown and Little India, as well as the Esplanade which is home to the Merlion, the Singapore icon (it has a fish body and a lion’s head). After a shower and a quick nap, we treated ourselves to a ride on the Singapore Flyer, which is the world’s largest Ferris wheel (kind of like the London Eye). We went by the famous Raffles hotel for a signature Singapore Sling, but left quickly when we saw the price tag: S$29.95 (approx. 25CAD) for one drink!

Now I am at the airport waiting for my flight. I’ve been here for about 5 hours now, since Court’s flight was 3 hours earlier than mine, and I’ve taken the skytrain around all 3 of the terminals. It’s super cool that they have free internet kiosks here!

Once again, anyone who wants to track my flights can do so here:

http://mobile.flightview.com/TrackByFlight.aspx?loc=tbf

Flight No: CX 714
Depart: Singapore, 12:25PM EST, Wednesday March 17, 2010
Arrival: Hong Kong, 4:10PM EST, Wednesday March 17, 2010

Flight No: CX 826
Depart: Hong Kong, 5:35AM EST, Thursday March 18, 2010
Arrive: Toronto, Canada, 7:25PM EST, Thursday March 18, 2010

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in Toronto!

Lexi

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