Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Promised Land

*If you're a L'arc En Ciel fan, you know the title is a song. :P

The plane arrived a few minutes shy to 10AM. When I stepped on the ground of Singapore for the first time, I was really happy by the weather that greeted me. Yes, it was hot but not humid. I felt it was the perfect weather for sightseeing. I don on my sunglasses and I was thankful that it was tinted since it will hide my expression of awe. I also tried to act cool as if I'm an experienced traveler, walking around the airport with ease while my eyes carefully followed where my fellow passengers are going. And finally, I saw the Immigration desk. While waiting for my turn, I turned my phone on and checked if the roaming service was already activated. I'm using a BlackBerry and it just showed an SOS on the network indicator. I dismissed it as we just arrived in SG and thought it will change once I go outside the airport.

When it was my turn to the Immigration Officer, she read my name correctly and with no hesitation how to pronounce it. And I thought my name's unique. LOL. Anyway, I replied a very cheerful "Yes!" to her. She asked me if it's my 1st time in SG and who lives in the address I stated in the Immigration card. I answered the Officer very briefly and I could hear the excitement in my own voice. I hope I didn't look so silly by smiling all throughout the said process.

It seemed I forgot those horror stories at the Immigration. And then I heard the sound of the passport being stamped. I said "Thank You" to the Officer and proceeded to get my luggage. Once I got everything in place, an officer reminded some of us (especially those who have their cameras hang around their necks or wrists) that we can't take pictures inside the airport.

As soon as I went outside, I immediately saw my friend, Hoshi. We glomped each other and ecstatic to start our adventure. LOL. She also took a pic of me but outside of the airport. We also stopped by at the airport's money changer. Aside from the notes, I got my 1st SG coin which is 5 cents. I checked my phone and there's still no sign that my roaming is active. What's odd is that I have received an SMS confirmation that the roaming service will activate once I reached my destination. And I've registered 24hrs before my flight. I'm a GLOBE prepaid subscriber. Hoshi offered her phone so I can contact my family and tell them that I've arrived safely. My mom's phone was off so I was only able to reach my younger brother. He was teasing me, "Are you sure you're in Singapore already?" After talking to my brother, Hoshi and I had a quick snack at the airport. We had cake and tea. Hoshi's cake is strawberry. While mine's chocolate. She also gave me a crash course on the escalator and MRT rules. We rode a train from the airport and switched to 2 lanes (if I rem it right) before we reached Hoshi's place.

I settled my things and changed to something more appropriate for a city tour. The first thing that caught me in SG was the mobility and how organized the transport system is. Also, you can just use one card to pay for your train and bus ride. You can also pay credit card in their taxis. Also, I noticed the vehicles are in the right-hand drive. Hoshi and I rode a 2-level bus. I think we got off at the area of Lucky Plaza then proceeded to those hi-end shops. This place reminds me of Makati and Cubao (in a more organized way). There were also a lot of shops that caters to high-end brands like Versace, Louis Vitton, Armani, etc. I learned that the gov't has a rule when it comes to buildings. The developers have to follow a strict limitation on how many floors and what materials they can use. Another thing I noticed is that there are only few private vehicles. Aside from that it's very expensive to buy vehicles in SG, the permit and other fees for you to own a car is also quite expensive. One even claimed you can buy another car with the fees you need to pay.

             Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre 

My friend, Hoshi and our first Singaporean meal 

Hoshi and I decided to go to Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre to eat. YAY! My first Singaporean meal. We had seafood noodle and orange juice. Lau Pa Sat is located at the CBD of Singapore so if you're going to eat there, avoid going around lunch time. The usual lunch time is around 12:30nn-1:30pm. Good thing, we arrived at around 4pm and there were no queues. After eating, we stopped at a drug store and I bought a box of medical tape with Doraemon design. My shoes rubbed on my Achilles' area and the tiny wound created from the friction is starting to hurt while I walk. Once I got it covered by the tape, we proceeded to the MRT and here I experienced again how complicated the design of their train system. I meant complicated in a good way. Because you'll need to walk a lot but it's fully airconditioned and there are shops to check out too! On our way to Esplanade, Hoshi and I got ourselves a drink called PINK DOLPHIN. I tried their Apple flavor and liked it. We also found a souvenir shop that sells items that are made from Kimono fabric. Some items there costs similar to a seat in a L'arc En Ciel concert. Maybe if you have money to spare and like cute stuff out of Kimono fabric, you'll like it there. ^^;;

Anyway, we went around Esplanade. I must say I REALLY love this place. I love how this place with lots of paintings, exhibits and art-sy stuff. I saw a group of people doing some dance and the vibe was all about art. We went out of the Esplanade hall and walked a few metres until I finally saw the famous Merlion statue, Singapore Flyer and the Marina Sands Bay Hotel. Yes, I did the compulsory photo-taking with the Merlion. :)

We stayed there until 7:30pm. We went to a place called Makansutra for our dinner. There were a lot of people who are talking in Tagalog. It made me feel like I didn't leave PH at all. :D I was entertained how some of the sellers are speaking Tagalog. That's what you call connecting to your customers. LITERALLY. ^_~
For dinner, we had beef satay with peanut butter sauce, prawn roll and Yang Chow. For drinks, I had Bandung. Hoshi said it's made with rose. I love the smell and it tastes so yummy.

After Makansutra and checking out a pop culture and movie paraphernalia shop, we went to meet Hoshi's relatives (who were at Clarke Quay). I was shy at first since supposedly, we're going to meet them around 8PM or 9PM but we (Hoshi and I) had some fangirl-related stopovers so we met them around... 11PM already. >.< Anyway, they're a fun bunch and they accepted me as easily as if we've known each other for a long time. I even managed to crack some jokes to them. After eating, we saw another bunch of tourists who tried this bungee jump-thing. It was fun to watch and maybe if I wasn't so full, I'm willing to try such risky tourist attraction. :))

We waited for Hoshi's aunt and uncle to get a ride before we went home. It was almost 2AM (I think) when we got home. Once my head touched the pillow, I fell asleep in a snap. LOL. Good thing before I fell asleep, Hoshi and I talked what time to get up to prepare breakfast so I managed to set the alarm.

Continue reading about my Singapore Trip and the L'arc En Ciel event report... For Part III: I'm So Happy

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