To atone for all the times my oldest best friend one-upped me, she treated me to a free vacation to Singapore. Unfortunately we only had 2 full days to see the country the size of Metro Manila. Even with the small scale, it was so chock-full of very touristy things to see and authentic experiences to enjoy.
I live in the Philippines with all its good and bad sides. But I don’t recall ever being in so close proximity with the ladies-of-the-evening. I mean, I know we have them, but somehow I’ve avoided being near so many beautiful and scantily-clad low-flying doves (only Pinoys will get this reference).
We stayed in a small but well-managed hotel called Fragrance – Ruby. The twin-share room was small but clean enough and very well organized. The bathroom could use a bit of improvement though. There was no shower stall so if you take a bath, everything gets wet. While the rooms and hotel were ok, the surroundings were a bit dodgy. On the way to the hotel, you’ll pass by a line or two of girls waiting for customers. Men where everywhere, like bees seduced by a jar of free honey.
I was thanking the Good Lord I didn’t pack my extra short shorts. Even though I was a few (okay, maybe more) pounds overweight I saw there were even overweight ladies that are offering their goods. I thought only slim ladies can get into this trade. Ha, knowing Rubenesque girls can be ladies-of the-night too makes me feel strangely good about myself.
Although the neighborhood in general is so far from what I’ve googled and watched about Singapore. I was never intimidated. I’m from Manila, remember? If you can live in my city and survive, you can live anywhere. Just look at all the Filipinos abroad. They’re the hardiest and most adaptable people on the planet.
Every morning, we’ll walk a few blocks to the Junction Food Place, a group of hawker stalls at Sims Ave, for breakfast. The prices are so reasonable and their rice servings are huge. The coffee was good especially when the auntie puts in condensed milk. They don’t understand English very well so it’s hard to convey you want extra milk (who knows what they’ll put in there).
We got lost the first day when we were looking for the hotel. I was told Singaporeans were English speakers but I don’t believe this is true for those who didn’t study college (I’ve been there only 4 days so don’t shoot me. It’s just a first impression), unlike in the Philippines where even the ballot vendor or a tambay (a pinoy bum) can communicate with foreigners and sometimes be surprisingly fluent. (Disclaimer: We had a discussion about this particular topic. It could be argued that this is mostly true in the past as most reading materials and TV shows are in English but now even reality TV shows are being dubbed in Tagalog.)
It’s too bad that I didn’t have a photo of Geylang. I’m incredibly paranoid and I didn’t feel safe whipping out my camera (although most Singaporeans probably have more expensive cameras than me). I thought my friend was bonkers when she insisted we leave our bags behind unattended while we order.
Jurong Bird Park
We mainly saw animals. As my friend is the one financing the trip and being an animal lover (I mean she’ll hug a dirty cat or dog in the street without warning and she did.), our trip centered on animal sight seeing. We went to Jurong Bird Park and saw bird shows along with a ton of isty-bitsy kindergarteners and elementary students.
It kind of made me feel like I was in a field trip again with my best friend counting shots taken in my camera. (Side story: On field trips we usually buy 1 36-shot film and we each get 18 shots each so if a friend wants their picture taken, we have to decide to whom it will be deducted).
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in Singapore, it’s their zoo. It’s amazing how interactive the exhibits where. Sure I was a little sorry that the animals were not out in the wild, that they have to stay in their lavish enclosures and have their meals prepared and provided for them. Hmm… I’m actually envious! But really, there’s a small sadness inside because they are not living the “wild” life nature intended for them.
But the animals were truly amazing. Unfortunately I didn’t get real good pictures of some as they just laid around bored or maybe too sleepy from just being fed. I swear, my collection of pictures could be misconstrued as animal porn!