The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Completing Asia

Day 427-430, January 28-31, 2012

The trip from KL to Singapore was a pretty quick one considering the distance. It probably helped that the bus up to the border had private TVs, much like an airplane. And it also had Wi-Fi connectability. That certainly helped pass the time fast. Crossing the border was a breeze and suddenly I was in the City-State of Singapore, the final stop on the Asia leg of my trip. I was lucky enough that a friend offered me to stay on his couch during my brief stay in the small island country. Considering I was going to Australia next, I was going to take any and all opportunities to stay for free/cheap.

Singapore Skyline252cb9bf-ecea-47d9-bf09-2414008e786d

Singapore is quite a large city, but many of its best sites are located in relatively small area downtown. The Singapore Flyer, the worlds largest Ferris wheel, was one of my first stops. Because my time was short in the city, I did what I’ve started calling “Geocache tours” around the city. Basically, I use the geocaches to take me to the interesting spots. It works out great. And I don’t get lost, which isn’t great when you’re pressed for time.


From the Flyer, I walked up to the Bay area that is covered with iconic Singapore images. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Merlion statue, the Helix Bridge(built to resemble a DNA Double Helix), as well as the Singapore skyline from the Bay were the major highlights. It’s hard to fully remember that you’re still in an Asian country considering that English is one of the main languages, and the city itself is insanely clean.

Helix Bridge with Marina Bays Sands Hotel8f4cb078-c5c5-48c6-99f6-9bf575d14b3c

Singapore Merlionde427bef-e701-4107-b40e-33cc8000ae50  

The city seems to come alive at night though. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel seems to have a laser light show. I saw it from a distance so don’t know if there was music attached. Walking along one of the river promenades, you’re surrounded by pub after pub after restaurant after restaurant. And each one is showing the exact same Australian Open tennis game on numerous flat screen TVs.


Way back in Europe, while doing some random research about Asia, I stumbled across the small little fact of Singapore having a Universal Studios. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a junky for rollercoasters. Hell, I went to a theme park in Santiago and the one in Madrid I went to twice! So, on the Monday before I left, I headed out to Sentosa Island to try and get in. I say “try” because I had heard whispers around that tickets to the park can sell out. Which sounded really odd to me, but oh well. I was taking my chances I guess.

Getting in wasn’t an issue at all though. Yes, it was expensive, but it was totally going to be worth it. And it was. A few weeks earlier, the Transformers Ride had opened up so that was the first one I went on. Suddenly, being a single person at a theme park worked to my advantage as many rides had separate lines of “Single Riders.” I felt a little guilty as I strolled past the other people lined up in the regular line, but that guilt disappeared when I sat in my seat. If anyone has been on the “Amazing Spider Man” ride at Universal Studios Orlando, that’s basically what the Transformers ride is. Just with better graphics. And more explosions. And with Transformers. But no Shia Lebouf(Plus? Minus?).


The day at Universal was one of my favourites. I checked out the duelling coaster of Battlestar Galataca(sorry, but the Cylon side was the better of the two. Sorry Humans); the indoor, pitch black rollercoaster of The Mummy; the Shrek 4D film(Bug’s Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Honey I Shrunk the Audience at Epcot); Madagascar(boring, sorry); Lights, Camera, Action! Special effects show; and my all time favourite: Jurassic Park. Just walking into the line up for that ride, with the theme song of the movie playing brings goosebumps to my flesh.

And add to the fact that, up until I walked up to the ride I was under the impression that it was closed for renovations. Yup, that’s right, I jumped and squealed when I saw it was open.


I split that day up with a little hike around the island, which has been built up in recent years to be a major island attraction, with a few other theme parks, plenty of beaches, and hotels. For me though, the highlight outside of Universal was walking to the end of the island where a sign proclaims that to be the Southernmost Point of Mainland Asia. That was cool.

My final day in Singapore ended up being a wash out. Literally. I tried to head to Chinatown to check it out but got caught in a downpour that lasted for a good two hours. With no umbrella, I was stuck under an awning of a small business. A random stranger walking by actually ripped the cardboard box he was carrying in half for me to use as a makeshift umbrella. It was enough to get me to the nearest metro relatively dry so I could grab my stuff and head to the airport.

There’s a reason why Singapore’s Changi International Airport is constantly named the best Airport in the world. I found that out first hand the moment I walked in. Checking in to the flight was the smoothest I’ve had. There are so many service desks that the lines seem to just constantly move. Past security you have so many things to occupy your time. I saw signs for “nap rooms” and even a sign for a movie theater showing free movies. There’s even a two story tall, indoor butterfly park in the departures lounge. If I had known about half the stuff in the airport I would’ve gone there sooner to spend more time!

Asia is officially done for my trip. I’m sad and not ready to move on. But I’m excited at the same time as I will be meeting friends in Australia that I had met along the way. And best of all, I’ll be surprising my good friend Steve for his birthday. As far as he was aware, I was flying to Borneo.

The surprise is going to be epic!

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