I sit here, shedding a single, solitary tear for the splendid time I did spend in the South East Asian country of Singapore. The longer I stayed, the more I grew fond of this special place. My only regret is that I will be missing Zoukout 2009. (More details at bottom of this update) You’d be shocked how many people type in “Singapore + Bored” or “Singapore + Boring” related search terms. Many coming here, of course.
That being said, I had a different experience then most travelers would. I stayed with an old friend and his 2 flatmates were great people whose hospitality was only out shadowed by their hilarity. Almost every other backpacker I’ve run into has stayed no more than 72 hours. Many leaving in shorter than 48. For a guy who is writing a blog and earns online, odd how the couch I was given had a Twitter & RSS Feed pillow, yes? I dreamed of subscribers and had nightmares of spam from want to be “life coaches”, whatever that means.
Woke up today with some problems involving a bank account, a domain registration and other things. I won’t bother you with them because frankly, they were boring and I’m glad they are done with.
I will note though that you should keep your credit card and your bank cards separate even though I have them together until now. If your bank card isn’t working, time to hit up the credit card for some cash. Just be sure to pay it off instantly as I *believe* they accrue interest from the moment it’s been withdrawn. Not sure as I’m very unfamiliar with credit card interest and I plan on keeping it that way.
If you ever go to Singapore I recommend you do the following. Check out Orchard Road and see ALL that it has to offer, it’s quite a range. Check out Sentosa beach area and have a laugh. Stroll down Haji Lane and maybe do some shopping, then go on a leisurely jaunt to China Town for some cheap but good food before going for a drink anywhere in Clarke Quay. If you want a really cheap and random experience, crash an alumni or work party.
If you stay longer than a day, you may wish to peruse some bargains in Little India before catching a flight out. Be sure to use the MRT as it’s one of the coolest most complex subway systems int he world and incredibly efficient and affordable. Avoid cabs as they run high with all the traffic. Also ask around what some of the “Local delicacies” are and try whichever one tantalizes your taste buds. You should also try and visit a Hawker Center which are these massive outdoor food courts run by independents. Be warned though, some of the best meals are there but it’s also where I got my “worst meal in Asia“.
Things you could do without while visiting Singapore? I said go to Clarke Quay for A drink, not “drinks”. The clubs are good but clubs in most places around the world are good. A large large beer in Thailand is ~$2US a regular sized beer at a club in Singapore is ~$12-$15US and a sugary Singapore Sling is ~$24US(pre-tax). They also add your “tip” into the bill so the price will be higher then you expected. Save your liver for other countries where they encourage that type of thing. You also don’t need to really try the “Chili Crab or Singapore Sling“.
If you ARE going to go out for a “night on the town” with a group of people, it sounds ludicrous but your best bet is to buy a bottle of vodka for ~$190. You scoff sand say that’s ridonkulous(sic) but if you go and start drinking singles or doubles as a group, you will QUICKLY surpass that at any major club, trust me. Better yet just hang out in Singapore and save that dinero for other places where you can spend so much you’ll think you were robbed when you wake up and it still only adds up to ~$50.
If you know people and you are traveling for a while it’s one of the best places to “relax and regroup”. The internet is splendidly stable and this is a first world country so I’m sure it will be like “hanging out at home”, only on the other side of the planet for those of you from North America, like myself.
So I’m going to Indonesia where EVERY traveler is a millionaire! Check out that exchange rate. $1US is ~9425 Rupiah. For the sake of simplicity round up to 10,000. Therefor if something costs 50,000 Rupiah it’s actually $5. KNOW your calculations before you leave or pay the price like I did in Singapore.
1 Indonesian rupiah = 0.000106 U.S. dollars
When I get to Bali @ ~11:30 tonight I will take a cab to “Poppins” Street in Kuta as supposedly they have a plethora of guest houses and affordable Bali hotels. A cab should cost me ~50,000R or ~$5US. I will then do what I always do. Go into a few, check for bed bugs, ask for rates, inquire about wireless and then go check out more until I find a place I like. Then I’ll go back to the one I like and and shave a cool ~20-25% off. Note: After suggesting a discount, you will KNOW if they are game or not. If they are not, don’t make things awkward and go with it, ok? Then again you may not know if it’s awkward as many people spend their whole lives going through one awkward encounter after the other. Kinda like when someone speaks too long at an awards ceremony, everyone in the audience is cringing but they just keep yapping.
I don’t typically like hitting strange cities late at night but the one benefit is getting a flexible room rate is very easy as you have leverage. It’s like “Listen, if I don’t take this room it’s going empty, let’s work a deal”.
A friend of mine emailed me about places to go surf. I’ve done “Boogie Boarding” in Venezuela and Dominican Republic when I was a kid but that’s about it. I think surfing would be fun and something I could get into as skiing and snowboarding two thins I used to love are no longer available to me after my “Freak Leg Press Accident” in 2001. Also supposedly Bali has some of the best surfing in the world so why not?
From Bali, I have no idea where I’m going to go. I may Check out Java then Sarawak on the island of Borneo before heading back to Bangkok to either travel north or catch a flight to Tanzania and work my way to South African then North through India to Burma to Thailand and restart there. If i did the latter it would be “getting warmer” when I went north from Thailand, makes sense, yes?
That said, I’m horrible with plans and a friend from Finland just sent me a message on IM so who knows what will happen.
Today as I was walking home from the MRT I ran into this guy and for some reason I said “What’s up”. He said “Nothing” we started talking. Then he told me he is from here but lived in China for 20 years. I said awesome, if one were to get clothing made, like show up with an article of clothing and say “Can you make this exact thing with different fabric and change a few design things here here and here, and add this here and there” etc… He said, that’s simple, where I’m from and he gave me his card, mobile number everything. Turns out he runs a company related to the industry but different.
So to conclude, Singapore was cool to hang out for almost 2 weeks. <pause and inhales a massive cloud of insecticide> they are doing their fumigating again. Where was I? Yeah, Singapore was cool and I’m glad I came. It’s not the most exciting place but it’s a must see on your trip and has many things that are “uniquely Singaporean”. How long you stay and how you play it is up to you. Just make sure you come visit. It’s also a “hub” for cheap flights to anywhere and only a ~$13US bus trip from Kuala Lumpur. I have to get going, need to pack and get ready for my flight ~20 minutes ago.
Yesterday, when I had my last meal at this Indian Place that had effectively become my “Kitchen” I made a video. Check it out or don’t, whatever.
P.S This new battery pack is better then the last but still quite poor. Go with quality when it comes to this type of thing if you can.
P.P.S Had I planned it better, I’d be in town for Zoukout which is Asia’s largest outdoor music festival. ~40,000 people on Siloso beach, Sentosa, this weekend. Oh well in the future I will pay attention to when the massive annual parties are. Those are the times to go full and just chill out the rest.