Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Off to a foreign land

For the first time in the 21 years of my lifetime, I went sight-seeing to a foreign country without parental guidance and surprisingly everything went smoothly as well. 'Surprisingly' I say because when it comes to doing something independently, I in simple words 'suck'. Of course, the trip was not taken alone. My best friend, Shiwangi was with me and she's the smart one when it comes to the 'travelling on your own' business. It was one the most incredible trips that I have ever taken.

We flew from Kuala Lumpur (LCCT) to Changi International Airport, Singapore; got our currencies exchanged to Singaporean Dollars and reached the hotel in the van Luxury Tours and Travels had arranged to receive us. The view during landing was so spectacular (with the view of various islands in the middle of the sea-green Singapore Strait) that we hardly paid attention to the outside world on the way to the hotel, Hotel RELC International. Besides, we were extremely hungry. After reaching hotel, we went out to look for food and swiftly entered the first restaurant in site since we were starving. The food was excellent but we spent a whooping 20dollars per head for a meal and ended up feeling guilty about it and searching for restaurants with a fairly decent range of prices. With that excuse, we did some window-shopping on Orchard Road as well. The afternoon passed and we went back to the hotel. We had just enough time to lay our heads in bed for two minutes, when it was time to get ready for the night safari. When we reached the lobby, the receptionist scolded us for not being punctual and that our vehicle had left, though we had reached there 10 minutes prior to the pick-up time. Realising that he was highly mistaken, we ignored him and got on to our vehicle which took us to the main Luxury office from where we changed buses and travelled to the Night Zoo with a lady named 'Dawn' as our guide.

The tram ride in the night zoo was extraordinary. Though everything was staged, with the animals probably being trained to stand in their designated places, I got to see various creatures that I've never seen before such as the Malayan Tahr, the bongo and several other bovine animals and predators and numerous known fauna such as lions, tigers, elephants, foxes, deer, hyenas, etc. When the tram ride came to an end, it started pouring, so the fire show by the aborigines was cancelled. Highly dissapointed, with the dinner coupon in hand, we went for dinner. After dinner, when we reached the venue for the fire show, the rain had stopped and the 10minute show had already almost ended. Soon it was time for us to leave. We were the last ones to be dropped off to our hotel. All in all, it was not a very good day. We were chided at, disappointed and exhausted. We went off to bed, hoping that "tomorrow will be a better day".
Our wishes came true, not only for the next day, but for two days in a row. The next day the half day city tour covered the Merlion at Marina Bay, Singapore Chocolate Gallery, Mount Faber Park, Thian Hock Keng Chinese Temple, Jewellery Gallery and a trip past the Istana and various Cathedrals, Chinese and Hindu temples and through Raffles Quay, Suntec City and Orchard Road. Our guide Chin was very friendly and energetic, unlike our previous guide Dawn. We had a one hor lunch break and then the Sentosa Twilight tour commenced, with again Chin as our guide but different co-passengers. This tour included reaching Sentosa Islands by cable car, which was 'magnifique' with the view of the ocean below and the ships and islands in between(The cheaper way to reach Sentosa Islands is by bus or taxi or of course, walking and Sentosa is derived from the hindi word Santosh which means tranquillity), underwater world along with the sea-lion and pink and grey dolphin show, butterfly and insect park, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' 4D Show,'Images of Singapore' museum tour, Merlion Walk which let us view the Merlion in Sentosa Islands in closer proximity and the Laser Show which was the best part of the tour and Singapore as a whole.
The following day too was lovely as we spent it in the Universal Studios. Though it was not as grand as I had speculated it to be, some of the rides such as Revenge of The Mummy and Battleship Galactica literally took my breath away. We couldn't take the newly opened Transformers- The Ride due to the unending queue and I had not expected us to make it either. Slightly upset about it, we buckled up for the other shows which were pretty good, too. With that, our trip ended on a bitter-sweet note and I realised that though the people of Singapore are fake and everything we had come to 'sight-see' was artificial, whatever we saw even though sugar-coated was attractive or entertaining and that's what we had come for- to have fun and to be entertained. The following day was our flight back to K.L. We bid a final goodbye to Singapore and flew back home, with no further disappointment, difficulty or discomfort.

1 comment: