Day 209: The Quay To Happiness

It was days like today I yearned for the days of old. The days where Sarah and I led around doing nothing all day. It’s sad to think we needed Sarah parents to put a foot up our backsides to get us going. For the third day running we didn’t get to bed until gone midnight. By then we were absolutely knackered. Muscle and bone achingly knackered. I can’t quite stress how much I ache as I lie here in bed typing about the day’s activities. Today saw us walking even more, we spent the first half of it ambling through markets, following Sarah around. Then we walked around the quay, and in the evening we spent more time walking around the harbour front. It has been another long one folks, so get comfy as I try and piece together how the day played out.

• I will start today from the early hours of the morning. One of the snoring men I described at the end of yesterday’s blog didn’t stop. As I finished typing and I looked around the room, everyone was awake with frustration painted on their faces. Including Sarah. She wasn’t happy one bit, I needed to go to the bathroom anyway, so as I got up I handed her a sleeping pill to help drift off again. It was then that someone else got up to shake the snorer into consciousness. After that the room was quiet and peace was restored.

• I didn’t wake up until 9:30. I played about on my phone for a further half an hour until Sarah opened her eyes. We were supposed to be meeting Ann and Simon at 11, but at the rate we were going about getting ready, it didn’t look promising. As the time grew closer to eleven, Sarah received a message from her parents saying her mum had a headache. This bought us another hour. After having showers and getting ready we went downstairs to have breakfast.

• While I was eating my final piece of peanut butter toast, Sarah’s parents appeared outside the window. I quickly finished up and washed the plate, then we met them outside. It was here that we learned Ann had a large breakfast in bed out of a styrofoam tray – Ann wanted me to include this, I think she just wants an excuse to star in the book that this blog will inevitably one day become. The plan for today was to go to Bugis Street and look around the shopping mall – this was mostly Sarah’s idea. First of all we needed directions. After Sarah ran back inside to ask the receptionist, we learned the best, and quickest way to get there was the bus. The four of us then set off to the bus stop across the street.

• Like everything else in Singapore, their bus service was efficient. Above the bus stop was an electronic sign that showed the arrival times of each bus. Like clockwork, when the three minutes were up, the number 2 bus pulled up alongside us. The fare cost no more than 1 dollar 20 cents, and five minutes later we were outside the world’s busiest mall.

• Briefly I had been there before with the girls, but only briefly. I spent most of that visit getting Spanish lessons from Julio. This time however we were there for a long time. Bugis Mall was comprised of three levels, each one being less busy than its predecessor. The ground floor, or ground zero as I liked to call it, was the most hectic. There were maze like corridors no more than 8 foot in width, each one filled shoulder to shoulder with people. Everyone was pushing and shoving to get by. Not long after our arrival Sarah found a fire exit with a set of stairs leading to the next level. We looked like a team of survivors fleeing a zombie horde. The next level was much nicer. It was still a maze to navigate around, but it was cooler and had about 60% less people. However this turned out to be a bad thing because it gave Sarah a lot longer to look at clothing. Eventually Simon and I left them to it and went up a level in the hopes we’d find some electronics. There were a few stalls, but most of them only sold phone cases and chargers, nothing to get excited about. When we relocated the girls they were still ambling around, the only difference being that Sarah had a couple new bags in her hands. I don’t quite know why Simon and I bothered going up one level, as we only ended up going back there with Ann and Sarah. I should say by this point that it was only Sarah who enjoyed this shopping experience. By the time she’d finished looking at everything, more than two hours had passed. TWO BLOODY HOURS! Even Ann and Simon were telling her to leave come 3pm. Because of the pace we moved at, plus the fact we’d spent the last two days walking nonstop, my legs, feet, and back were hurting something chronic. I was all too glad to be out of there come the end. We grabbed a couple fruit shakes for the road, then attempted to walk to the quay.

• We had to give up in the end, the sun was too bright and hot to stay out in it for long. When we saw the nearest MRT station we studied the map outside, then rode that bad boy to Clarke’s Quay. It turned out we weren’t actually that far away before, but we just didn’t fancy walking in the sun’s blaze. When we reached the surface again I stopped in Burger King for dinner. However I was the only one to eat, looking like a greedy pig as I wolfed down a double whopper meal. During the visit Sarah used my phone to go online and speak to Beth. Because of how expensive perfume is in Australia, she asked Sarah if she’d mind buying some for her at the market. This would mean going back to where we’d come from. If anything I think Sarah was happy to do this, because it would give her an excuse to shop some more. After food Sarah came with us to the quay, saying she’d go back later on, or first thing the following morning.

• Clarke’s Quay was another stop Nora took us to during our scooter tour of Singapore, but it looked a lot better at night. It reminded me of the waterfront of Bristol during the day. We all walked along the water’s edge and crossed a bridge, but when we reached the other side it was nothing but expensive bars and restaurants. It was then we decided to split up, Sarah didn’t want to have to get up early in the morning to go back, so instead chose to leave there and then. Ann went along with her, most likely out of guilt of not wanting Sarah to go alone. Simon and I decided to stay by the quay and go to a bar. We located a pretty pricey bar back across the river which was currently having happy hour. I don’t quite understand why it was called an hour, it went on daily from 11:30am to 7pm, and again from 9pm till late. Either way we took advantage of the offer and enjoyed two beers each.

• It was a nice afternoon. We had the hot weather, the sun was in the final couple hours of its shift, and a cold pint of beer in front of us. Simon and I were left alone for an hour or so, during which time we got the chance to bond a little over drinks. I also got to learn about what was happening back home. The council were back at it again digging up the roads – something which I used to find a nuisance no longer bothered me, the perks of travelling. And from what I could gather there were constant plans to build more supermarkets. How many of those things do people need really? When will enough be enough. After all, there’s only so many nectar points one person can collect. At the rate they’re being built you could probably save enough points to buy your own supermarket. We covered many topics during those beers, and at one point Sarah and I received praise for keeping it together for this long, after being under each others noses for the past 7 months. What can I say, we make a good team. We both have our strengths and weaknesses, the key is knowing how to utilise them to our advantage when needed. Three quarters of the way through our second beers the ladies returned. Sarah had managed to find the perfumes, and even bought one for herself. She complained before that her holdall was heavy (on the rare chance she actually carried it) but after today she’s probably added an extra 5kg to it.

• Rather than faff about on the train again we chose to walk back. We were given directions by our waitress before setting off. We were so close, we couldn’t have been any farther than half a mile away. When we got back my legs were so happy to be able to sit down. We gave each other 20 minutes to get ready, we used it productively by going on Facebook, then met up outside our hostel. I was still feeling pretty full from the beer and burger, so I didn’t really want any tea like the others. I joined them all the same though. We went back to the local food court inside the shopping centre two blocks away. If I’m honest I didn’t like the look of anything the guys ordered. There’s only so many times I can look at rice before it has the same attraction as… “insert your own word here”. Even though I wasn’t that hungry it didn’t prevent me from ordering a mixed meat dish. My plate contained both duck and pork, but I only liked one of the two. When everyone was done eating we left for the Harbour Front.

• Because Ann liked the light show so much the night before, we decided to spend the evening around that area again. Getting there was a nice walk, we passed many fancy architecture which made for good photos. We took a different route to the Harbour Front than the other day, by doing this we ended up following the path we took on the scooter trail. It was in that moment of realisation that we discovered the large local food court Nora had taken us to. Sarah was kicking herself as she had been trying to remember exactly where this place was. We went inside to show Ann and Simon what it was like, as well as the amazing food they had on offer. As we looked around we noticed a group of scooters rested against a table. It was Nora. She had with her another group of travellers. Sarah and I figured she wouldn’t remember us, so we didn’t bother to pester her, instead we walked by with smiles on our faces.

• The Harbour Front wasn’t very far from the food court, when we arrived all the buildings looked fantastic. Because it was a clear sky all of them stood out so well. The Marina Bay Sands looked magnificent as it speared the night sky. Rather than walk the same side of the harbour as last night, we decided to walk the opposite side instead. This way we got to appreciate the famous landmarks, rather than the tall skyscrapers which lined the Singapore skyline. Along the way I saw one of my favourite statues, “The Thinker” by Rodin. As I admired the sculpture I noticed a small etching on the back which read “8/25”. Clearly this wasn’t the real piece, I knew that, that was still in Paris, what these numbers represented were the amount of replicas that were made. Where the rest of them were I don’t know. After the brief stop to look at the knock off, we continued along the harbour until we reached Esplanade bridge where we took a seat halfway along. The Esplanade bridge overlooks the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and harbour, and because of the hour of our arrival it meant we got to see the water show again. I hadn’t realised until now that the show was two shows rolled into one depending on where you were. We saw the show and all its projections the previous night, but from the bridge we got to see a light and laser show. Bright green beams of light were firing down from the top of the hotel to the waterfront, and all along the shopping centre below the roof flashed different colours. I zoned out after a while as my body was crying out for rest. All the muscles in my legs were really aching now. Ann seemed to hate it every time we moved again because her legs were equally as sore. We all seized up anytime we stopped. There was one last thing to see before the pain could be over, and that was the Helix bridge.

• This was the bridge I wrote about a while ago. It was built to represent a DNA strand, otherwise known as a double helix. It was Sarah’s favourite bridge “in the whole wide world” as she put it. And she wanted to show it off to her parents. In all fairness it is an amazing creation. It’s a combination of both metal and glass, not to mention exceptional welding work and craftsmanship. The shortcut through the small Olympic stadium was closed, meaning we had to walk all around the outside. This was even more bad news for my poor legs. When we eventually got there Sarah definitely got her money’s worth. It must have taken us 20 minutes to cross the relatively short bridge. During that time it was funny to watch a couple have their photos taken. The photographer was using a slow shutter speed and would run by with a bright light drawing patterns as he went. The end result would be a beautiful picture with a white pattern around the subjects. But to someone who didn’t know that trick, he was simply an idiot jumping around with a light. At the other end of the bridge was the large Marina Bay shopping centre. When we got inside we were on the top floor, and down below us on the ground floor was a fairly big ice skating arena. I took a photo for the blog, then we had the pleasure of finding the MRT.

• It was so far away, even when we managed to locate it at the end of a long corridor it was a lot farther away than it looked. It was a case of walking, followed by more waking, until we reached the ticket machines. We each updated our tickets and switched between trains to Chinatown. It had gone 11pm by the time we’d got back, and all the market stalls were closed for the night. Which in a way was good I guess, as Sarah would’ve only felt the need to meander. The night still wasn’t over, even when we reached the front doors of our hostel. We needed to print off the flight itinerary for the following day, as tomorrow we’d be leaving Singapore for the more laid back location of Bali. After Simon returned to their room to grab all the documents we needed, Sarah used our computers at the hostel (because they were free) to sort it all out. Even then we still couldn’t go to bed because she couldn’t print the forms. The receptionist told Sarah she’d need to email the documents to her computer in order to print them. This process took bloody ages, and even when they’d printed out Sarah was unsure about them. Regardless, she stapled the forms together. Besides, all the important information was legible, so the people at the airport would accept them for that reason.

• When the pair of us finally figured out how to delete our information, and ensure it was deleted, we were allowed to go to bed. Finally what I’d been waiting for all day, a chance to regain my energy. But oh wait, I can’t rest just yet because for some unknown, stupid reason I started a blog. After yet another two hours of slaving away, giving myself crippled thumbs in the process, I had finished. Shame it’s now 2:30am. Typical, just when I thought it safe to sleep there is another problem. We have in our midst another bloody snorer, and what’s worse is the fact the snorer slayer from yesterday has gone. Maybe if I just pinch this guys nose he might…

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