I had been to Singapore the first time in 2005. But now… Three countries. Three days. This experience left me tired rather than relaxed during the first few days of our vacation. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it overall.
DAY 1: MANILA – SINGAPORE
Our flight from Manila to Singapore was 6 am, so we have to be at the airport at least 2 hours earlier. I had no sleep that day since I was only able to finish preparing my luggage at around 2 am I took a quick shower then fetched my 3 officemates along the way. We arrived at the airport a little past 4. The check-in counter had a long queue because Cebu Pacific’s system was down and they had to check and print the passenger manifest, seat availability, and boarding passes manually. Talk about being in a hassle so early in the morning. We had to rush to buy our breakfast and just eat them at the plane. As soon as the plane took off, sleep caught up on me and woke up minutes before we landed.
We arrived in Singapore around 10 am. But due to the usual security and immigration procedures, we were able to leave the arrival area around 11 where the local travel company came to pick us up. He offered to take us to places we liked (the usual sales talk) but we were just too tired. We headed straight to Riverview Hotel where we stayed for the next several days. What was supposed to be a short rest turned out to be a 2-hour nap. We were supposed to meet our boss around 130 for lunch. We had no local currency yet and we had no choice but to exchange some money at the hotel lobby where the rate is a lot lower. When we left the hotel, there were thunderclouds looming over the distance. Since we were still unfamiliar (operative word: still) we took a cab for Outram Park where we were supposed to meet with our boss. A sudden downpour made the journey less enjoyable. With no umbrellas in tow, we walked where there is cover and where our legs would bring us. We arrived at a hawker center (take note: hawker not hooker) where we had our first meal of the day in Singapore. For the empty stomach, it was simply delectable… and cheap too.
After the hearty feast, we were energized to do some shopping despite the rain and headed off to Chinatown.
Shopping is a great way to kill time (and money). We didn’t noticed that it was almost 7 pm. After taking a quick break sampling the satay and noodle concoctions, we decided to head back to the hotel, dump the stuff we bought and then head back to Orchard road to do more shopping. But back at the hotel, my other officemates decided to rest instead to face another day. Luckily, my girlfriend’s sister together with her boyfriend were on their way to the hotel from work to pick up the pasalubong I bought for her… a box of Cinnabon! Since it was still early, we set off for Clarke Quay for some dinner and sightseeing. They taught me how to commute via bus and MRT from our hotel and gave me their extra EZLink card for easier and cheaper way of going anywhere. I’m just amazed how Singapore is idiot-friendly in using their public transportation. Together with some little walking, their transportation system is so efficient that you can go to any point just using the MRT and bus.
Since Cathy and Drew had work the next day and the last trip for the buses in the city was around midnight, they accompanied me back to the hotel. At the bus stop, it was then we realized that the bus number we rode on our way from the hotel does not go back since it was a one-way street. We rode the bus that would stop “near” the hotel. We tried out luck walking from there until it was still some 15 minute walk from that bus stop. Charging it to experience, what a better way to end a tiring day than to dip myself into a warm and sudsy water in the baththub…. Ahhhh….
(Day 2 continues…)