It’s 3am in Singapore right now. But what time is it really? Time to make a blog post.
It’s been awhile since I posted, partially because there’s been so much stuff going on and partially because there hasn’t been enough going on. I’ve had homework or something else (aka getting lost on Tumblr) that leads to me staying up late at night, forcing me to push off the blog post for the following day, so I haven’t really had time to post. At the same time, it’s been raining. Everyday. Welcome to Monsoon Season.
The weather has been significantly worse than in was for the first three weeks, for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Monsoon season started in mid-November, so this isn’t a new development. But everyday is has either been raining, or been so close to the edge of rain that you hold your breath in anticipation (literally, the air is too humid to breathe).
So, since I haven’t done as much fun exploring as I would’ve hoped, I figured I would write a mini guide to anyone hoping to Beat the Monsoon Blues.
1. Plan Day Trips that (almost) Fail
The first trip that I took since my last post was the infamous Heritage Trail, which there are no pictures of. For a specific reason.
I didn’t have any plans for the weekend, and everyone that I knew was going on this weird Heritage Trail tour. I asked everyone where it was going. No one knew. But someone was selling their ticket, so I figured I’d check it out. It was only S$23 and it included a meal, so what the hell.
Poor decision. It rained the entire day. And not the light type of rain, but the type of rain that goes through your umbrella. The type of rain that sticks to your skin even when you’re underneath shelter. That kind of rain. And then, to top it all off, we finally found out where the Heritage Trail was taking us: the same exact places as the last tour. Except less time at each place, because, guess what, we were walking everywhere. Everywhere.
The only good thing about this trip was that it ended in Marina Bay, which I had yet to go to at the time. There was a beautiful view of the city from there, and we got to stop by the DC Heroes cafe and get some treats. Batman Ice Cream (aka Dark Knight Dark Chocolate Sorbet) and Superman Cupcakes saved the day!
2. Plan INDOOR Day Trips that Actually Work
In an effort to do something fun despite the rain, the following weekend a few of us decided to go to the ArtScience Museum. I didn’t know much about it before I left, which turned out to be a good thing, as I was surprised by the content of all of the exhibits. All I can say is, WOW.
There were three exhibits: NASA – A Human Adventure, which was a very informative but not very interactive exhibit on the journey to space; Journey to Infinity – Escher’s World of Wonder, which was a pretty awesome art exhibition from the guy who’s famous for optical illusions, the non-sensical staircases, and the hands that draw itself, among other things; and FutureWorld, the only permanent exhibit and the one I would recommend to absolutely anyone who steps foot in the country of Singapore.
Like I said, the other two were very fun, and if you plan on spending the day there it’s worth it to buy the three exhibit package. However, there’s just something about that FutureWorld.
The exhibit is divided into four parts: Nature, Town, Park, and Space. I don’t want to ruin the fun too much, but one of the really cool activities is being able to add your drawings to the virtual world that they have. You color it in on the coloring book pages they have, and they you scan it and it flies around! You can add a lizard or alligator to the swamp area, a fish to the aquarium, or a building/ car/ UFO to the town! I personally did a lizard and a turtle… (don’t judge, it might have been the most excited I’ve been since arriving).
For all the other stuff, just check out my gallery from the ArtScience Museum. Bonus:
3. Celebrating Chinese New Year!
This was fun, albeit not very authentic. The way you are supposed to celebrate CNY (Chinese New Year, not Central New York 🙂 ) is by being with your family. But almost everyone got denied from being able to stay with a host family, so we decided to make the most of it.
On Friday night, the night before the 1st day of Chinese New Year, we went to ChinaTown to visit the market. This, in hindsight, may have been a poor decision. There was SO MANY PEOPLE. Like, we had to link arms so we didn’t lose each other. Like I’ve never touched so many strangers at once. And everyone was shouting, and it kinda smelled bad. But I don’t regret it, because it was definitely once in a lifetime!
I bought bulk candy from one of the vendors at S$1.50 per 100 grams, and I came up without 100 grams so the guy just took fistfuls of chocolate and put it in my bag until it was above the weight and then took my money. My friend Haroula said one of the guys at that stand pointed at all three of us girls and nodded to her with a thumbs up. She said she thought she heard him say “pretty,” so I guess he was trying to give us compliments but didn’t speak English.
The original goal was to stay for the fireworks festival that was happening that night, but this was the same day as the ArtScience Museum, so we ended up bailing early. However, the next day, we went to River Hongbao, a CNY Festival held at Marina Bay every year, and we got to see the same fireworks and show! I posted pictures of the floats that were there in a gallery.
One of the traditions of Chinese New Year is sending off a paper lantern in the sky, on which you write your wishes for the new year. This, unfortunately, has been banned in Singapore for safety reasons, as it has been in most countries around the globe. However, this awesome startup company had a booth at the festival where you could design your own lantern and send it off in virtual reality! There were four of us, so we each got a side. We picked one word and initialed it!
The following day, on Sunday, my friend Haroula and I went for a picnic in the Chinese Gardens right near campus. This was more out of curiosity than celebrating CNY, but we tried to make it count. Pictures here!
4. Planning for Trips (and the money behind them)
So I did a lot of dreaming while it was raining. RPI came through and I got an official number for my travel budget, which sent me on a crazy spree to plan just about everything! I’ve figured out my travel plans from now until I leave. If everything works out, I will only have 4 weekends between now and the end of April where I don’t have something previously planned (that doesn’t mean nothing going on: just nothing planned 😉 ). It’s very late so I don’t want to take the time to upload my whole calendar, but I promise I will do that soon! However, have fun with my current list of all of my destinations:
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Tokyo, Japan
- Hong Kong (Tentative)
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietname (Tentative)
- Sydney, Australia
- And maybe more?
Okay so I didn’t have space to talk about it in this post, but I also went to MacRitchie National Park and did a TreeTop Hike! Check out the pictures here!