Mao na Ni.. Singapore!

Part I - Singapore series (2.11)

This is it!

After a month of on&off research and some fundraising, I packed my orange backpack, hailed a cab to the airport and headed for Singapore for a 4-day I'm-all-by-myself-this-time trip. While waiting in a mixture of a quarter of trepidation and 3/4 almost-uncontainable-I've-gotta-stop-myself kind of excitement, I finally boarded the plane that'll take me for a 3-hour ride to meet and get to know the Merlion.

Since I took off straight from work, I slept through most of the flight and woke up just in time to see an interesting group of cirrus clouds and tidbits of Malaysia and surrounding islands. My excitement climbs higher. Hihi.. we're prepping to land.

Welcome to sunny Singapore! ~said the heavy rain. Wow. And to think that I arrived at the Budget terminal where you'd have to get off the plane and walk - and grab an umbrella since it was raining, to the main building. Sunny Singapore? You're not being true to your words. This ain't kicking off right. But I won't let that get me! ☺

After finally making it to shelter, I made my way to fall in line for customs and immigration. And pinoys, as ever, are pasaway. Somebody started taking pictures of the entire process that an official shouted to reprimand that said person and have her delete everything. Whew. Even on the plane, people had to be asked not just once to turn off their mobile phones before take off. And we haven't reached a full stop yet after touchdown when more than 5 phones already rang. OMG.

After getting my passport stamped and my backpack picked up from the conveyor belt, I headed out. Quite unexpectedly, they din't make such a fuss over my things. I brought a lot of food, home-made ones for pasalubong. And no questions where asked regarding what's in the box. Nice!

Since nobody's gonna pick me up, I'd have to find my own way to my hostel but no major worries, I did my homework. After getting instructions from the info desk on where the bus is, I had some US dollars exchanged for Singapore ones, which I should have done outside of the airport. Or I should have exchanged just enough amount to buy a top-up (or is it tap-up) card for the bus. Arrgghhh! I've been ripped with my eyes wide open! Or should I say.. I made them rip me!

Anyways, I found my way to where the bus stops to take us to the Changi terminal. I bumped into a fellow pinoy who took me to where to purchase the travel pass. It's a few minutes walk inside the airport and my clothes were getting damp by the minute because of my soaked backpack! Stupid rain. With my travel pass in hand, I made my way to the farthest part of the basement bus stop to wait for bus 24. And when I'm just about to settle down and prep for what I thought was a long wait, there it was. Everything I read about Singapore's public transportation seems to be true. Really nice! After Introducing myself to uncle driver and telling him where I should get off, I picked my seat and settled my stuff. I even like their buses..a lot. Haha.. To think this was just my very first ride. Well, keeping the positivity!

Oh yeah! Singaporeans drive on the wrong side of the road. lol We've left the vicinity of the airport and were navigating through the freeway when I finally realized this. [Still processing...slow connection.] I've always thought something was wrong despite the very well-organized flow of the traffic and such. Haha. The bus took more people and dropped off less at every stop we made. Gosh. It's so different from where I came from. The jeepneys back home stop wherever you say "Para!" In the middle of the road, most of the time.

"Joo Chat Complex!" said uncle driver. My stop. I gathered my things, tapped my card, thanked uncle, and got off the bus. Against the flow. I looked around trying to orient my self and taking out my map at the same time. Where is Joo Chat road? Another helpful guy noticed my wondering and asked where I'm headed. Just the right opening. Haha..so I took it and asked about where this road is and about my hostel. Luckily, he's headed the same way so I fell in step with him. My destination is at 200 Joo Chat road and we started off at 20s. Hah. He turned right somewhere in the 40s and wished me good luck and a nice stay after I said salamat. Well, just a few more blocks to go.

Ten minutes, give or take, I found my hostel. Great! The rain, which at first dampened my arrival a bit, was a welcoming blessing.

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