Day 134: Lego Of That

• After a late night we weren’t eager to get up early. Except for Jenna. For some reason she had been up since 7:30 that morning. As for the rest of us, we ambled out of bed around 10:30ish.

• We had to check out by 11am, I took a quick shower, packed my bag, then took my bag downstairs to the storage area.

• One by one, the girls came down in their own time. The breakfast was a bit disappointing. I had a standing bet with Meg that I could eat 10 eggs in a single sitting. I was feeling hungry and was prepared to accomplish the task. Yet when I cracked the boiled eggs, ready to peel off their shells, I learned they weren’t fully cooked. I failed. I could barely peel them, let alone eat any. In the end I managed to get through 2 or 3.

• Jenna, Anna, and Sarah decided to visit the shops and buy some clothes. I had my own plans, I was off to the art science museum to see what it was all about. To my surprise, Meg said she was coming along too. We all parted ways around 1pm. This gave Sarah and I 4 and a half hours before the last bus to the border. We decided we’d leave Singapore today, like the others, because as great a city it is, it’s too expensive for a backpacker.

• It took half an hour for us to reach the Museum. We had to catch the metro, and do a spot of walking, but it was worth it for what we saw inside.

• The Art Science Museum is a uniquely shaped building. It resembles an upside down open hand. It is used to house various exhibitions, and at the time of our visit there were three. We chose to buy a ticket to only one of them. It was the one which drew us there in the first place. An exhibition called “The Art of The Brick”.

• The Art of The Brick covered four or five rooms in total, and was by a New York based artist named Nathan Sawaya. To create his art pieces, Nathan uses only Lego bricks. It was such an impressive exhibition, that I’d happily return to look at it all over again. Here’s link to the mans website if you want to find out more: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CE0QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbrickartist.com%2F&ei=v1QzUZagJYOQrgeajYCYDQ&usg=AFQjCNGONsZUcF1wSmMRjtdoQ20HT0JOGw

• I used to love Lego as a child, and if someone were to buy me some nowadays I’d happily play with it all over again (ahem, hint hint Sarah). The beauty of Lego is that you can create absolutely anything you want. Nathan proves that with the various models he’s created. A video was playing on loop of the artist himself. He mentioned how he first got into building Lego. As a boy he asked his parents for a dog. They told him no, and gave him Lego instead. He used the pieces to build his very own trusted companion. However, because he didn’t have enough pieces of the same colour, he ended up with a colourful block shaped canine.

Each room was more impressive than the last. Beside each piece was a placard that explained the thought process behind them, as well as a block count. This told how many pieces were used to create the models. One placard read how Nathan particularly liked making models of the human anatomy. He claimed it was because he loved the way a square or rectangular brick was able to create the round curves of the body.

In one room there was an opportunity to see if you could be the artists apprentice. The task was to create a raindrop. Meg and I had a go at it, of which I think mine was the best. She asked an onlooker which they preferred, to which he said Meg’s. What did he know anyway. I’ll allow you to make up your own minds by looking at the picture at the bottom of the page: (ahem, mine’s the one on the right).

My favourite part of the whole exhibition was the dinosaur skeleton. It took a whole summer for the poor guy to create, and a sign said he nearly gave up when he couldn’t figure out where certain pieces should go. The reason he chose a dinosaur was because of all the fan mail he received from children. He wanted to give something back to them, and he thought “what better than a dinosaur!”

Another exciting thing to happen during our visit was when we were able to Lego-nize ourselves. In the room with all the portraits made of Lego, there was a computer that allowed you to take a picture of yourself. You then pressed a button and it would convert your image to look like one of the many on the walls. We did that for a while, and took pictures of the results on my iPhone. Surprisingly they were a lot clearer through the prism of my camera.

At the end, there was a reflexology mat made of Lego pieces. You had to take your shoes off and walk along the top. Some were higher than others, and the more downward pressure you applied, the better your feet felt. To quote Banksy’s book title, we exited through the gift shop. Ignoring the various amounts of Lego sets for sale on the way. Before we could reach the lifts, we were stopped by an employee. She asked us if we had the ticket we were handed at the beginning, after meg and I posed for silly pictures. I handed it to her and she got the results up on the large tv monitor. Because she was hidden behind it she couldn’t see what Meg was doing. I gave my phone to her, and she snapped the 3 photos we posed for. After all, we weren’t paying 20 dollars for one picture.

• We casually made our way to the elevator, as if nothing happened. Although, I did think the girl was wise to what we were doing. I felt quite bad, after having done the same thing the evening before at the Flyer. However, unlike then, there wasn’t a “No Camera” sign. As soon as we stepped outside the building we knew we got away with it.

• When we left the comfort of the a/c filled room, the humidity in the air steamed up our glasses, and our bodies were drenched with condensation. Wether or not that was punishment for being bad, or just a difference in temperature, I don’t know. We scurried away, joking about what Meg just did, then caught the metro back to Little India.

• For some random reason, there was an outdoor gym next to a children’s park. Not the sort of gym you’d expect to find, you know, one with weights and the like. This one had fixed stations that were used to stretch and twist. What benefits it offered the user, I couldn’t tell. We tried out everything, following the explanations to the letter, before walking 5 minutes to our hostel.

• Meg left me then, she wanted to do some shopping of her own (before she went home), and try to locate the girls. I took it easy, and sat down on a large beanbag to enjoy the movie some of the guests were watching.

• Around 20 minutes later, Anna, Jenna and Sarah returned with lots of bags. “Oh dear”, I thought. Sarah showed me what she purchased before they left me with the bags and headed out for food. I wasn’t feeling hungry, so I chose to remain where I was. I used that time to book a hotel in our next place, Melaka.

• Sarah didn’t return until 5:45pm, which meant we were in a rush to catch the bus. We were also leaving our friends once again. It’s funny how quick the time passes when you travel with a new friend. We were with Anna for close to 3 weeks, and now we were setting her free. We gave them big hugs, before heading out into the thunder storm for the bus station.

• I nearly slipped under the wheels of a passing van where the floor was so wet. Luckily, the bus station was just around the corner. Nora had spotted it out to us during our scooter tour. It cost very little to ride the bus, and it left shortly after our arrival.

• We watched the movie adaptation of a book I had for the first leg of the journey. It was “The Life Of Pi”. In the corner of my eye, I could see another passenger trying to watch it over my shoulder. I didn’t mind, after all, bus rides are long and tedious. Especially when grey clouds and rain are the only other visual alternatives.

• There was a lot of faffing involved in the process of reaching Malaysia. We had to catch several buses before we arrived, and the whole process took around 4 hours.

• The first bus journey lasted about an hour (mostly down to the rush hour traffic). We then had to climb off at immigration, lugging our bags with us. A race ensued between every passenger. To get to the front of the queue seemed to be all that mattered. We managed to procure a half decent place, and got through relatively quickly, but found we soon had to queue up once again for another coach. I thought Sarah would have enough time for a bathroom break, given how long the line was. I was wrong, no sooner than she left, the line began moving. She managed to squeeze herself to the front, and we climbed aboard the bus for a 10 minute ride across the Johor-Singapore Causeway. This was the borderline bridge, and the end of Singaporean territory and start of Malaysian territory could clearly be seen by the differences in road surface and markings near the midsection.

We had to wait 15-20 minutes at the station for our next bus to arrive. I visited the bathroom myself, then bought some snacks and a drink for the last leg of the journey. It all moved a mile a minute when I got my confusing amount of change (it turned out, I received Ringgit instead of Singaporean dollars). The bus had arrived, and the people were trying to get Sarah to hurry aboard. She wouldn’t budge because she waiting for me. I ran straight over, and we climbed aboard for another short journey to another bus station. There we bought a ticket to Melaka, and it was set to arrive at 9pm. That was an hours time from then.

Obviously, because there was a McDonald’s at the station that’s where we went. Little did I know that would be my last one (more will be explained tomorrow). After the meal of the gods, we made our way over to C-41, and waited out the last 10 minutes. The bus arrived dead on time, we climbed aboard, and watched the remaining half of the film. Followed by another film directly after. We arrived at the bus station in Melaka at midnight.

When we dismounted the bus, there was a taxi driver already waiting. Constantly he shouted the word “taxi”, to which Sarah went over an enquired about prices, while I grabbed the bags from under the carriage. He told her it would cost 20 Ringgit (roughly £4). The good thing about Malaysia’s taxis, because they are government run they are fixed prices, which writes off the whole haggling process. It didn’t stop Sarah from trying to get it for 15 though. 20 was fine, we followed the driver to his vehicle, put the bags in the boot, and he drove us to the front door of our hostel. It must have been a poplar place to stay, as up until then, most drivers have no clue where our pre booked accommodation is.

• We paid the man, then climbed the stairs to check in. We had to remove our shoes (which is god manners anyway) before we could enter. The reception was just a desk, it was located between the dining table, and the kitchen. The communal tv area appeared very chilled, there were a number of sofas to sit on, and there was a DVD player and flat screen on the wall. It had a very homely feel to it. It looked like “Lavender Guesthouse”, was a good choice on my part. We were given a brief tour, which finished with our room. We unpacked the bags, went through the evening routines, and finished off the day with the reward of sleep!20130304-120404.jpg

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