Sunday, May 30, 1999

Strolling through Singapore

Malacca, Malaysia
It was 20 minutes from the time I woke up this morning until I was ready to go. I awoke just before my alarm went off at 7 am. There's a slight drizzle outside my window. I arrived at the Malacca bus station and found my bus without any problems. I met two Canadian girls (well, they're actually six years my senior) headed to Singapore whom I saw yesterday in the A&W. Today is Wesak Day, the "Thrice Blessed Day"-celebration of the birth, enlightment, and attainment of nirvana by Buddha. Last night's parade was part of the celebration that carries on into today. The meat locker of a bus left at 8:06 am. But the bright side is that my knees don't hit the seat in front of me. We made a stop around 10 am and I had yellow and red watermelon, and some green melon too. We were back on the bus at 10:23. Johor Bahru around noon, and we got stuck in traffic for the border crossing. Into Singapore and through customs by 12:30, on the streets of the city walking towards downtown at 1:11pm.

Singapore
I found a room on Bencoolen street, at the Peony Hotel. Dropped my stuff and went for food. I passed by the Lego truck again, this time it's exhibit was open so I strolled through. From there, it's down to Merlion Park (The merlion is the symbol of Singapore...the head of a lion on a fish's body.)

 After checking out the park, I strolled into Chinatown and ate lunch in a huge eatery (I think my food came from stall 231) I walked about 4 blocks in air-conditioned overpasses up to Clark's Quay, the little ex-pat hangout.
Is this a biker gang?
Passed by the Ft. Canning Reservoir area. Turned onto Orchard Road, the busy, crowded, shopping street. I caught the last half of a street performance show that had some amazingly talented guys balancing on ladders and rollers and throwing stuff into the air.

 From there, I ducked into the MRT station, just before 7pm. I got off the train at the Ang Mo Kio station and hopped on an air-con'd bus to the Night Safari. It's a very cool place. I walked a bit, trammed a bit.

Ate a burger at a table with three other people I didn't know. They didn't know each other either. The safari consisted of animals subtly lit in natural (invisible fences) habitats. I walked through one of the few remaining pockets of primary forest in Singapore, very cool. Saw a bull elephant with tusks, but I was too close to fit him in the camera frame. 
My biggest issue with film cameras
At 10 o'clock, the ZOO-1 express bus arrived. I lucked out and got the very last seat. A pair of people ahead of me-technically, I was ahead: the driver said the bus was full, I stepped back, the couple moved ahead, someone cleared up one seat previously assumed to be occupied, and I got the seat. Back at my room just before 11pm, got my stuff ready and checked my flight info, and then went to sleep.

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