Singapore, A Home Away From Home

One week ago, I went on an unforgettable trip to Singapore for the weekend. It was certainly one of the best moments of my life.

I left with Selene and Raymond from KL on Friday morning. It was a smooth trip with the exception of sudden weather changes halfway. It rained for a couple of minutes and stopped. Then it drizzled and stopped. This was when we were already in Johor. Did I mention that the Johor highway is damn awful? God, with two lanes ONLY and you get trailers and buses trying overtake each other like they’re some race car. They should get their license revoked.

We entered the Singapore checkpoint at about some time past 2pm via the second link. We headed to Balestier Road dropped off our luggage and checked in. Since Selene would be staying with her cousin, we’ll be dropping her off at Orchard Station. Balestier to Newton Circus to Orchard. Sounds easy right? Well, I’m embarrassed but Ray got us lost for about an hour.

Raymond: "Shit... Weren't we just here?" | (Photo: Myself)

Every direction Ray took was the exact opposite to where we were supposed to go. On the bright side, we somehow managed to find our way to Orchard (Thanks Jess!) after about an hour of aimless driving. We dropped Selene off and then decided to look for something to eat. Sad but true, our first meal in Singapore is at Burger King. Leeching their wifi was the best thing at the time. After an hour of being “disconnected” from the rest of the world, I felt reconnected once again.

We met up with Erika and then headed to dinner at Sushi Tei. Dinner was heavy. The chawanmushi I had was just heavenly. After dinner, Ray’s uncle (Ray’s cousin’s god father) showed up after work to guide us back to his place so that Ray can park his car until the day we leave. Ray’s uncle took us out for some Hokkaido ice-cream for dessert. We parted ways with Erika and eventually headed back home to Balestier.

Universal Studios Singapore, Entrance | (Photo: Myself)

The next day (Saturday) was Universal Studios Day. Seven of us were supposed to go. Ray and I took a cab to Harbourfront Station. We were one of the earliest to reach. There we met with Mau, Jess, Kit, Amin and Selene. We then took the train to from VivoCity to Sentosa Island and well…entered Universal Studios Singapore for the very first time. (It was Mau and Ray’s second trip to USS!) The Sentosa train actually reminded me of KLIA’s train to the departure terminal: Small, crowded and I nearly fell over.

Alex, Myself | (Photo: Mau)

Yes, I am afraid of heights and yet the first ride I went on was Battlestar Galactica: CYLON. Yes, I survived but I still have that phobia of heights. Although I’ll think twice now before ever agreeing on sitting any rollercoasters, I’d dare say that I’m mad enough to sit on it again. Just for the damn thrills and me screaming my lungs out. And you’ll probably need to coax me harder. Although my body would most probably say no, my inner thrillseeker might just give in.

Amin; Minty! | (Photo: Mau)

We met about five or so years ago while playing Granado Espada. This picture was taken the next day (Sunday) while we were at Starbucks in Tampines. I want his Abstergo hoodie though…and maybe his Angry Birds iPhone cover (even though I don’t own an iPhone).  There is this series of SMSes between Ray and himself regarding Kit. Amin and Kit were taking the train together and were the last to arrive. It was funny. I pity the poor guy. He got slapped on the arm by Kit because of me while queuing for the Revenge of the Mummy ride.

Jess; First time meeting! | (Photo: Mau)

When my house underwent renovation, I didn’t have net access and apparently stopped playing for some time (it led to me quitting the game thoroughly). It was during my time of absence that I think Jess joined the guild in Granado Espada. I know Kit and Ray has been tweeting with her. We finally met on Saturday for the first time. I want her Olympus camera though. That lens on that camera is just awesome. This photo was taken the next day (Sunday) while were at Wee Wee’s house for lunch.

Kit; Ore no imoutou! | (Photo: Jess)

I met Kit about the same time as Amin, we were guildmates years back while playing Granado Espada. (Sorry Kit, I forgot your character name.) She kept insisting I get myself on Twitter after I eventually quit playing Granado Espada. One of the reason was that her PC was dead at the time. And she…misses her nii-san. Okay, was I supposed to say that? Uh… I miss your hugs. This photo was taken the next day (Sunday) while were at Wee Wee’s dad’s place for dinner.

Mau; That face... | (Photo: Jess)

Mau was another Granado Espada guildmate. While chatting with him on MSN, I never figured he would be this of a funny guy. Actually it’s that face. It’s like the sound of a camera shutter instantaneously transforms that face of his into well…take a look at the photo. He wrapped Ray’s WD My Book Essentials hard drive in plastic wrap like it just came out from a cargo plane before handing it back to him. He has the best camera (a DSLR!) among the seven of us.

Raymond; Needs a slap to wake up! | (Photo: Mau)

Driver who got lost for about an hour after checking in, got drunk on the next day and pulled his leg muscle while stretching right after waking up. He insisted that we take the cab to Harbourfront and then take the MRT and bus back to our hotel. Plan failed. We took the cab all the way just because his leg was already hurting badly and it was already about 11pm by the time we left VivoCity.

Selene; Mai waifu! | (Photo: Jess)

Selene came to Singapore for Rain’s concert that was actually happening the next day. If it wasn’t for her, Ray wouldn’t have pushed forward the date for the Singapore trip and I’ll still be sitting at home waiting for July to come. She packed a bag full of snack and tid-bits for the trip. A whole -big- bag. I remember she had Mamee, potato chips and some other stuff in that bag. It was like a mini-party in the car. Oh yes, I still owe Jess and Kit (especially Kit, since she was constantly asking) that “waifu” story of mine.

We started some time after 10am and we were done at about 7pm at night (or later) and proceeded to buy souvenirs. I got myself this awesome Battlestar Galactica t-shirt and some Hershey’s chocolates. Ray spent about SG$100 just on chocolates alone. We had dinner at ThaiExpress in VivoCity and proceeded to head home.

Thomas Ong; Singaporean actor! | (Photo: Raymond)

Right after we entered out hotel room, Ray’s uncle called for a late night supper. We went for some dim sum near the Mustafa (I hope I spelt it right!) complex. Their steamed chicken in chilli was quite delicious. The shop’s name is Swee Choon Tim Sum. By the way, take a look at the photo and tell me if any of you recognize him. I know for some people, sitting at the same table with him just for a snack would be a dream come true. For the win, I also sat in his car. Okay, maybe that wasn’t such a big deal. Anyway, we headed into Mustafa to grab some stuff (Ray wanted a plug extension so he could multi-charge his cam, phone and laptop.) and we went home.

KOI! | (Photo: Myself)

Sunday was an even busier day with the exception that we didn’t have to wake up as early as the day before. We walked towards Novena Station from our hotel. The walk was about 20 odd minutes. It’s like walking to Taman Bahagia Station back home, minus the lunatic drivers and the shady trees. We took the train to Tampines to meet up with the gang for lunch at Wee Wee’s house. We stopped at this place called KOI Cafe for some bubble tea (or something along that line) before wandering around in Tampines Mall.

At One Place Western Restaurant; Wee Wee's dad's place! | (Photo: Wee Wee's sis!) | Standing L-R: Ivan, Erika, Jia Jun, Kit, Jess, Kaslyn, Jian Xiong | Sitting L-R: Yat, Amin, Alex, Raymond, Wee Wee

When evening came, we took two cabs to Wee Wee’s dad’s place at Jalan Kayu (if I remember the road right) for dinner. The beer was awesome; Asahi Premium. According to Ray, it’s not available here in Malaysia. Since he’s not exactly driving, Ray had like seven bottles of beer, heading to the toilet every now and then to pee so that there’s room for more beer. Time does fly when you’re having fun. We hugged and made our way back to our hotel.

"One for the road!" | (Photo: Jia Jun)

We left Singapore and returned to Malaysia the next day (Monday) but not before some last minute shopping at Orchard again. Strangely enough, we spent like a couple of hours in Orchard much to my surprise. The trip home was apparently faster than the trip to Singapore. And…my suitcase still remains unpacked one week later.

To my Singaporean friends old and new, your hospitality was amazing. Sorry it took me so long to come down. My last trip to Singapore was about 10 years ago and I was stuck in Changi for an interchange flight to Perth. As Wee Wee said, I didn’t know him 10 years ago. So yeah, it wasn’t as awesome being stuck in an airport for an hour waiting for an interchange flight. So when will you guys come down to KL for a visit? I’ll try my best to return the hospitality you guys showed us. Know that I will definitely return to Singapore. (Kit, you owe me a karaoke session!)

“It’s not where you’re going, nor where you’re from. It’s the journey that matters and those you meet along the way.”
— Some guy that I forgot. Or it could be me!

Head over to my Facebook page for pictures of the trip. I’ve linked the various albums of the gang in my album too. Also, check out Ray’s blog post on the trip as well.

With love, Lexxie.

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