Day 131: Lost In Transportation

Today was one of those days every traveller loves. Not. It contained various forms of transportation. We rode different vehicles for well over 12 hours. After so much sitting down, enduring the punishments of the roads, and bumpy railroad tracks, you find yourself with new ailments when it’s finally over. For me it’s usually my back that gives out first. Every time, after long haul journeys my back cries out in pain. Enough of the build up, here’s how the day went:

• Damn you Sarah! Half an hour before my alarm clock went off, she disturbed what little sleep I got that night by asking me to turn off the ceiling fan. All because she was cold!! Boo hoo. I’m tired. The reason for my lack of sleep was out of fear of bed bugs. Fortunately I didn’t get bitten, so it was all good.

• I got up pretty easily, I went about packing my bag with the last few things, and got ready. During which time we heard Jenna and Megan return from their night stay at the hide. Somehow they managed to cover 3km of the jungle in an hour. That was an impressive feat by anyone’s standard! Even Bear Grylles would be impressed.

• Sarah, Anna and I were ready by 9am, and decided to rush to the nearby restaurant for a free breakfast. However, poor Jenna and Meg were left to fish out their phone, after it fell behind a false wall in their room. This meant they missed out on the food.

• We gave them our mango shakes, then the 5 of us walked up the steepest hill to reach our pick up point. It transpired, we needn’t have climbed the hill, we could have simply walked around it and saved our legs the workout.

• Initially we got aboard the wrong bus, which we discovered as soon as it started pulling away (talk about cutting it close). A lady told us our bus would arrive shortly. Her words were true, 10 minutes later, a large blue an green bus pulled up around the corner.

• We climbed aboard our second bus of the day for an hour long ride, where it dropped us off at the train station. Then began a 2 hour waiting session.

• We made use of our time by visiting a small restaurant filled with locals. The lady only offered two items, chicken and rice, or a pineapple. I can’t see that that is always her options, I believe she probably only had a few items left in her kitchen. Either way, the food she served us was another meal to add to the top 10 I’d had in Southeast Asia.

• As the time grew closer to our trains arrival, we made our way back to the station. A voice came over on the tannoy explaining the train would be making a casually late arrival. This didn’t matter, it was only running 40 minutes behind, and it gave us time to play cards. However, whenever Jenna opened up her tuna sandwiches, we were bombarded by the scraggly looking cats.

• When the train arrived everyone at the station was quick to get on, barely giving the exiting passengers time to get off. We located the carriage printed on our tickets, but struggled to find the seat numbers within. We had 14A, 15A,B,C,D. Yet the seat numbers seized to exist after 14. Thinking it must be a misprint, we sat wherever we wanted.

• Throughout the 8-9 hour journey, I sat next to Meg. As Sarah and Anna were busy watching movies on the tablet. I like Meg’s company. We had a great time on the train, we both had the intention of getting to work on our blogs, but ended up chatting until 7pm. It was only then the pair of us made a start. Every time we attempted to start before that ended in more anecdotes, and funny comments. She particularly likes the stories where I am the butt of the jokes! Just for Meg, remember those jump shoes?

• Halfway through the journey the ticket checker came around. When I asked him where seats 15 A-D were, he told me they were in the other carriage, but we were fine to stay where we were.

• You’ll be pleased to know that by the end of the journey I had checked through a lot more blogs. Before we reached the end of the line a group of immigration officers came aboard. Their purpose was to check everyone’s passports for validity. This wasn’t an issue, and at the last stop we had to change trains for a 5 minute journey to our final destination; Singapore.

• When we finally got off the train, the time was getting on for 11:30pm. After getting through the immigration check and having our luggage scanned, we had to run. Our hope was to get the last metro train to Little Italy. It was supposedly a cheap area for backpackers (if there is such a thing as cheap in Singapore).

• None of us had any Singaporean dollars at that stage, so Anna and myself ran to the nearest ATM machine. Because of our heights, we must have looked like horses in the grand national as we jumped up the few flights of steps.

• Our running was all for nothing, we had missed it, there was no way we could make it to the metro station within 5 minutes to catch the last train. In the end we decided to catch the bus.

• We made friends with a Spanish guy as we waited. He apologised for his lack of English knowledge, which was a million times better than any of our Spanish.

• When the bus arrived, Anna didn’t have the correct amount of change to pay the man, therefor ended up giving the driver 2 dollars extra. He could keep it as a tip for what he did next. After the hour long journey when we reached our stop, he was kind enough to get out and tell the girls where the nearest cheap hotels were.

• All 6 of us got off the bus, then asked a local man at the bus stop where we were. He got a map up on his phone, it turned out we were one street away from all the hostels, and were actually already in Little Italy.

• It only took 2 hostels before we found one for a decent enough price. However, $20 a night is a lot of money when you’re a backpacker, I think the conversion rate from Singaporean dollars to British pounds was around half. So £1 was 1.92 SGD. With prices so high, I could sense we wouldn’t be in Singapore for long.

• After checking in, the girls saw a poster advertising a city tour via micro scooter. You know, the ones you see kids riding all the time. We booked up 5 spots for the following night, before heading to the dorm to drop off our bags.

• The time was around 1:30am when we entered the room, and guests were already fast asleep. We had to make our own beds, using the bedding we were given. We did our best to do it quietly, but judging from the snores that stopped, I presumed we woke some people up.

• With our beds made, bags unloaded, a locker purchased, and our valuables locked away, my ladies and I walked the streets for food. At 2am in the morning!

• We were given direction to reach an area with restaurants, and cash machines. It was only a 5-10 minute walk from the hostel. Anna, Sarah and myself went to McDonald’s, whereas Meg and Jenna walked back to an ATM they saw en route, and visited an Indian instead.

• Stupidly, I ordered myself a mocha latte along with my double quarter pounder meal. I was already feeling awake, however, after drinking that I’d be damn near electric. We soon finished our meals, due to our levels of hunger, after that we scurried back to the hostel to conclude this long day.

• Back at the hostel there were no signs of Jenna and Meg in the dorm. Knowing them, they’d probably found some hive of entertainment, like a party or something. As for the rest of us, we continued with our night time routines in the communal bathroom. Sarah and Anna returned to the room. I on the other hand, had to run to the bathroom to see my porcelain pal!

• Just when I was ready to leave, I noticed someone else had come into the bathroom to go about their evening rituals. Feeling too embarrassed about being the one that did the crime (or the terrible awful if you like) I remained in the cubicle until the coast was clear. It took the person ages to give me an opening, so long in fact that I began to feel like a prisoner being subdued to the hot box treatment. I began sweating buckets as I bided my time for a clearing. Eventually this person used a cubicle of their own. It was now or never, I darted over to the sink, washed my hands, and hurried to the dorm room out of sight. During my imprisonment, I did manage to get a glance at my capture as I quickly peered over the door. I saw their reflection in the mirror briefly, before ducking back down out of sight. It was Jenna!

• Clearly the girls had returned safe and sound, much to my discomfort playing the waiting game in the bog. I typed out the rest of this post in bed, finishing what I started 5 minutes previous in the porcelain penitentiary. I then agreed with Anna (who was also still awake) that we should get up at 9am. That was only 5 and a half hours away. This would be difficult, seeing as we were sharing a room with a warthog; once again we had a snorer amongst us! As deep a sleeper as I am, it’s never easy getting to sleep with one of those ****** around you!!!

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