This is what I went through for full three days in a foreign land. Even the onslaught of super typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) failed to stop it. Destiny willed it to happen and I was an ungrudging prey.
Hear the real story.
Accompanied by my older sister Cristy/Nano, who’s also having her first overseas trip, and my niece Yula, a hardcore backpacker, I knew there would be a remote possibility of a Dumb and Dumber’s moment for me in the Lion’s City. My two travel peeps are two of my most astute members of the family (This is a personal assessment and belief. Others are welcome to contradict. 🙂 ) Their being certified navigators is what someone like me needed. I am totally their antithesis when it comes to directions. 🙂
So December 6, Saturday, the three of us had a safe touchdown in Singapore.
I was relieved and thankful that my first ever international flight was nontraumatic. In fact, Cebu Pacific slightly redeemed itself to me for its punctuality. You see, this airlines has become infamous due to its delayed and cancelled flights and other legal battles and issues despite their air fare promotions. My share of bad experiences with them though is not what I am going to talk about here.
Personally seeing Singapore Changi Airport had me agreeing with everything that I’ve read and heard about it. Undeniably, it was far beyond compare to our very own international airport. It was like entering a gigantic mall! I allowed myself to relax and enjoy the vista before me once the mall-like atmosphere enveloped me. Yula, being an experienced traveler abroad, had our itinerary drawn. Nano and I were just on stand by and were expected to say YES or NO. Suggestions were of course heard and voted upon.
Accomplishing currency change at the airport, we decided to look for a cab that would take us to our hotel before going to Expo Hall 5 where I would be claiming my race pack. Our getting out of the airport coincided with the heavy downpour. My niece had monitored the weather forecast in SG before our flight, thus we were prepared for it.
Our taxi trip was smooth, traffic-free and fast. Obviously, this could be the other way around to someone arriving for the first time in the Philippines.
We found Perak Hotel without any glitches. The senior-looking driver sure knew where to take us.
Met by a very cheerful male front desk officer, we settled our balance for our three-day stay before Yula informed him that we wouldn’t be able to avail of our complimentary breakfast for the next day since we would all be leaving the hotel early for my marathon. Perhaps that info plus our paying our dues already had him letting us have our breakfast that day even if it was already beyond the hotel schedule. Or maybe, we looked as if we could eat a horse.
But the best news was, being allowed to have an early check-in. Yahooo! Everything was working in our favor.
Hunger satiated, we went to our room to prepare for Expo Hall 5. Our smiles became wider. Room 202 was snug, cute and homey. A perfect place for us three who all love sleeping. 🙂
Now, our venture to the race kit claiming venue officially began our escapade.
OUR FIRST SG MRT RIDE
This is the source and arena of so much education, skills in helmsmanship, nuttiness, and laughter. With our reloaded EZ cards, we lost tracks of the number of times we rode the MRT as we looked for Expo Hall 5. We had to retrace our steps and kidded each other that the people behind the CCTV monitors had perhaps labeled us already as suspicious “creatures”. Hahahaha… But seriously, I envied the Singaporeans more for their convenient and efficient form of transportation. Space problem inside the MRT was nowhere in sight. It was indeed a joy ride.
RACE KIT CLAIMING
Our local race organizers should take a crash lesson from the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) organizers when it comes to race entry pack collection. It was orderly and swift. No iota of boredom and impatience entered my system as I entered the chute to wait for my turn. The place was very spacious to take in the 53,000+ runners, claiming their packs, and even non-runners. Afterwards, we toured the hall to see the different sports products on-sale. Nano bought more discounted items than I did. She was satisfied and happy. So with Yula, who did not buy anything but still got freebies. The acti-tape which I got had me receiving a free service in taping it to my injury. It lessened my worry even for just a bit.
DETOUR: BOOK SALE
This was a bonus to us before we left Expo Hall 5. The sight of books for sale had our feet dragging us inside. We lingered for a while as Yula and Nano dug in the boxes for a good book. Both voracious readers, I wished for them to be successful. Unluckily, the practical and auditor side of my sister prevailed as she computed the offered discount. She witted that the ones she buys from the Book Sale shops here in the Philippines were cheaper. And so, we exited the hall to eat our lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon enjoyingly and productively.
Singapore’s idea of a garden is to be supra-mundane paradise. This is what I found out when we roamed the Gardens by the Bay.
I was in awe and almost in a somnambulistic trance as I feasted my eyes on their heavenly beauty. My heartbeat was in a pitter-patter mode as their version of Eden became more enigmatic in the night. If they were women and I were a man, their drop-dead beauty could have knocked me down on the spot!
HAWKERS FOOD EATING
If there is one commonality among us Mediavillo ladies, it is our being adventurous, “cowgirls”, and real troupers. Our decision in eating in this hawkers food hub at Little India is a concrete proof of that. Subjecting ourselves to this purely new experience, we readied ourselves to whatever aftereffect our ingesting this new cuisine would give us. But first, end our hunger and curiosity to all these alien-looking and alien-sounding dishes after dealing with all the hawkers who huddled around us. Thrill inducing indeed! Hehehe…
Food critiquing came after we had a taste of what each of us ordered. Hmmm… we knew what to order and not to order next time as we walked to the hotel. You see, Yula’s choice for our residence in this sojourn was the best. Perak Hotel is situated near the commercial area and MRT station which made our first day stress-free.
As we retired for the night, I made sure that all my running paraphernalia were complete and ready for the next day.