I was in Singapore from June 2 – June 6, mostly to visit friends who are getting married and compete in the MTG Grand Prix held there last weekend. I like bullet points, so here’s a summary of my trip:
- public transportation. One thing Singapore and Hong Kong have in common: well-defined, convenient and tourist-friendly public transportation systems, namely trains and buses. It makes our local buses and trains here pale by comparison. The trains are well-maintained and more or less go everywhere including to and from the airport (there’s really no need to take an airport taxi unless you arrive some time after the trains close), and there are maps everywhere and machines that dispense tickets and such. The buses can get crowded but still well-organized. There are numerous bus stops and they identify the bus numbers that pass by that stop and many stops will also have maps and routes shown; buses are tracked via GPS so some stops will tell you how long until the bus arrives. They even have an iPhone app that helps you find your bus. Oh, and of course you can buy one of those reloadable cards that you can use to pay for buses and trains. Okay, I really liked the public transpo system. 😀
- Mike and Tin (congrats again guys :D) and the rest of the Singapore guys who put up with the visiting team, especially since they let me crash at their place on my last night there.
- 12 mbps internet at Mike and Tin’s place, which meant we were able to spend a couple of hours one night just watching stupid youtube videos continuously and letting me get my ass kicked at SSF4 online without any lag. Arr, makes me wish ISPs on our side weren’t so terrible
- anime. Well, just the fact that I probably watched more anime over the weekend stay than I have over the past year or so. At least I now have some idea who these Fate/Stay Night people are.
- air travel. In general, my Cebu Pacific flights went smoothly (I even slept well on the flight back) and I breezed through customs and immigrations both ways without much concern. I’m always a bit worried about some unexpected problems like baggage getting lost (so I never check in baggage) or some problem with the bookings or my travel documents or whatever.
- very muggy weather, making it very uncomfortable to travel outside (to be fair, now that I’m back in Manila it feels almost the same here). It felt good to take a shower back at the hotel everyday
- Oxford hotel for not having free internet and serving basically the same breakfast everyday. Oh and aircon unit that dripped on the couch; I actually woke up with water all over my iPad’s case (luckily not broken)
- the Grand Prix Singapore venue, for being so far from the train station
- me for trying to get into the driver’s side of the taxi
Somewhere in between:
- I guess I’m fairly satisfied with how I fared in the Grand Prix, despite my sloppy misplays at some point. At least I broke my curse of going 0-3 all the time in Grand Prix tournaments. I’ll write up a tournament report in a couple of days
- getting off at the wrong bus stop in Telok Blangah, causing me to wander amongst the apartment building while carrying my huge bag and there was a slight drizzle. It’s not completely a bad thing, as I kind of enjoy wandering around by myself on foot. It’s something I’ve done in other countries I visited (usually at night), but didn’t really get the chance in Singapore because once I got back to the airconditioned room in the hotel, I didn’t really want to go out 😀
As per usual in my travels to other countries, I did not spend much time shopping or sight-seeing or any touristy stuff like that. I’m not really a tourist kind of person. Overall the trip was ok it was great to be able to visit and meet up with friends, compete in the Grand Prix and see how daily life is in Singapore (still not inclined to work there though :p)