Turn Off the Lights

Mother’s Birthday Weekend, Singapore. August 31-September 2, 2012. My family suddenly decided to be spontaneous and so we decided to go to Singapore for my mom’s birthday, and yes, I call her “mother” a lot and she calls me daughter too. I want to divide this post again into 2 parts because there are so many pictures I want to  include and it’s just too much for one post. So I am going to call this, PART ONE: The Sights. So creative, I know.

Thankfully, I finally discovered how to insert a gallery in wordpress (I seriously suck at this) and so I can just dump all of the pictures I want to share of our very brief trip. Yes, it was in the middle of my semester and I was pretty guilty for cutting one Friday class, but hey, sayang ang ticket. I’d love to share a travel itinerary for a 3-day weekend in Singapore because we originally did (courtesy of my Dad’s friend who works there) but since our spontaneity, apparently, spilled over that whole weekend, we barely followed anything on our list. And so, we skipped Universal Studios (because my brother doesn’t do rollercoasters) and Gardens by the Bay (which I thought was just some ordinary garden, turns out I was very wrong). So, what was left for us to do then? Easy, just shop and eat.

Day 1: We spent the whole afternoon of our stay in the Singapore Expo where there was a huge gadgets fair going on. I’m pretty sure the name would be familiar to some but I forget. But anyways, so we went around that huge place and passed through all the floors with the goal of buying my mom’s laptop and my brother’s Xbox. We got the former (a very thin laptop which I wanted for myself) and the latter’s expected for Christmas instead, haha. It was the first time we were taking advantage of this rebate thing. Up until the last moment, we were doubtful which ones we can declare for rebates. Well, it turns out, we were able to declare almost everything we bought in the airport – if you gotta shop, shop in Singapore! It’s already pretty cheap over there, probably because of the sales we chanced upon, and we got even more cash in the airport. Love this city.

Before reaching the Expo, we had to pass through malls and this “thing” or layout if you can call it that, really reminded me of Hong Kong. I miss it. One mall we passed had this fountain in the center and had this circular structure around it. I think it’s the biggest fountain in the city? But when we passed by it, I knew I’ve been there before. The difference then was that I was with a group of international students, led by Singaporean junior college students and we were rushing all over the city looking for clues for the race. I do remember this, however, because part of the challenge or the race was to go around this and touch the water because they said it’ll bring us good things, can’t say they’re not true, I’ve been thankful for so many things since then. We didn’t go around the fountain this time, but no worries, the gadgets were waiting.

Day 2: was spent in Sentosa. I vaguely remember this place, thankfully, I got another chance to see the whole park. I wanted to try the  iFly Singapore, their famous indoor skydiving place, but I didn’t want to do it alone. No one else in my family wanted to do it so we skipped it and went to the Luge instead. This was a pretty good experience. I underestimated the Luge. I thought it was just one of those cutesy things tourists do, but it gets pretty scary at a certain point. I couldn’t let go of the rod in front of me because I felt like I could fall off anytime because the bench was just so…free. It got pretty high at certain points and I guess that makes it something really worth trying out. The go-kart kind of thing on the way down was much more exciting though. This little cart was just so fascinating, the controls are so easy yet you can do a lot. You can go really fast but then the turns were there so you had to be careful. The weirdest thing though is that while my brother and I were rushing down the slope, we literally saw something like an iguana crossing the road. It was just so weird that we really had to stop for a moment and think if it was a real reptile or it was part of the attraction, something that automatically crosses the road when the carts approach because the timing was too perfect. We never really found out but maybe it was for the best, that weirdness just added much  more excitement to our drive back to the station. And, I think it was why for the first time in our amusement park lives (and even now that we’re legally adults) that we bought our overpriced pictures at the store at the bottom of the track. It was a great experience, what’s Php 300 to make sure we remember it, right?

That day was extremely hot and my parents just wanted to go and find the nearest mall where they can rest. But I couldn’t let go of this place in the map that’s labeled: The Southern Most Point of Continental Asia. I just needed to reach that sign and take a picture with that sign. I remember seeing one picture of one of my exchange classes in some point in China that is supposedly the (blank) most point of (blank Asia) and I was so jealous. There’s something about those “corners”. There’s really nothing to see from that place but it’s really the idea of where it is and this idea is huge for me. It makes me feel like I’m actually walking across the Earth, or something like that. Or if you wish, it feels like it makes sense now when you say, I want to reach the farthest corners of the planet. Well, however way I describe it, I’m sure you get the point. I’d put up a flag at that point if I could, feeling hardcore mountain climber.

While on the Sentosa train connected to Vivo City, the friend of my dad invited my parents to have dinner with him and his big-personality Gawad Kalinga friends and since my mom is in the business of “para sa bayan”, how could they refuse? And so, my brother and I were free to really explore Singapore that night and we really did. We went from mall to mall and we couldn’t even keep track of the names of the malls we passed through. We just walked along the streets of Ion Orchard, kept on walking and just entered random malls that looked nice. I was rushing my brother because I wanted to go to Esplanade to get a picture of the skyline of Singapore at night. It was our last night already and so I needed that picture (such a tourist). And so when we finally arrived at the place, it was just in time for the lights show which was pretty awesome. Of course, I’ve seen the HK light show a dozen of times and the beautiful beautiful HK skyline even more but Singapore’s version cuts it pretty close. I just took a moment to see it and sort of hear some music playing and of course, I finally took a picture of the beautiful sight and semi-immortalized it on my phone.

After the light show, we headed out to the Merlion Park but the fountain was under repair so there was no water flowing from the Merlion’s mouth but no worries, it was still a pretty good place at night. We just walked around for a few minutes more and found this place that’s like a tunnel with Starbucks below it and were lit by very dim but pretty blue lights. Singapore has a lot of those little surprises, I realized, from their intricately designed ceilings and well-placed lights. The artsy design of the seemingly unimportant tunnel was impressive as well. Respect, respect. On our way back and while looking for an MRT station, we passed by the big durian of One Esplanade, we checked out some exhibits and took flyers that functioned as multiple bookmarks and the night held one more surprise for us: the most pleasant little exhibit along the MRT station. I really love how they incorporate art and style into everything. The city may not have old buildings that are on my list, but I guess in this relatively small and young country, it’s also the little things that make it special.

Day 3: Shopping Day! It was actually just me and my brother who went out and bought stuff. We just spent our last remaining hours in Singapore inside the huge H&M store and I got out with only one dress and one shirt. I bought much more stuff in Cotton On during our first day in much less time. Well it would make sense because the store had crazy sales and there was even more discounts on top of the existing sales. It’s these things that make shopping special in other countries. I love local brands as well but H&M and Cotton On just so happen to forever have items on sale and they’re simply irresistible, with the rebates even more!

I must admit that Singapore is not on top of my list of places to visit, mainly, because it lacks the old old buildings I have always been fascinated with, but I guess I underestimated this city quite a bit. Maybe I expected less because, to be honest, my memory of Singapore just a few years back is a little blurred, probably because we were running around a lot. And even if we skipped some of the touristic places this time, I still loved this trip. It was a real trip abroad with my family (the last time I was 4 years old I think) and it was pretty awesome. It was also the type of trip that I got really into, no fixed tours or itineraries. You just hop on their awesome train, pick a point, get off and walk around and explore the place. I do prefer travelling this way, it’s much more personal.

“Travel is not about where you go, but how you see the world.”

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Hi, I'm Timmy. I believe in writing as a therapy, global warming and true love.

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