Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Singapore, Part 4: Universal Studios and Getting Lost in the Streets of Singapore.

After a glorious nights sleep, I was awakened by Sheila who said she had breakfast prepared for me. So I sat up, rubbed my blurry eyes, stretched and let out a lions yawn. I briefly starred out the living room window from the 28th floor of Jeng's apartment, where I had an amazing view overlooking the city, before joining Sheila at the kitchen table. Just another day in the life . . .

The plan was to visit Universal Studios which had recently opened in Singapore. Sheila, who's never been to there, wanted to check it out. But first, Sheila and I shared a taxi with Jeng's roommates, Ellen and Amiel, to Raffles City where I would attempt to withdraw money with my debit card. After I had my debit card stolen in Vietnam and was issued a new one, I hadn't been able to withdraw money. It didn't work in the Philippines or Malaysia, so if it didn't work here, in Singapore, it would probably be safe to assume that I had a defective card. During the taxi ride, Amiel said he used to avidly participate in CouchSurfing (CS) and had hosted many, many people here. He told me Singapore is a popular place to CS as accommodation is so expensive, something Sheila and I discovered after our first night.

Sheila and I, now by ourselves, began searching for banks. The end result? I'm displeased to report that I still could NOT withdraw money. Ugh! I was very, very displeased. I asked Sheila if we could sit for a moment. We walked across the bridge, passing the Fullerton Hotel and the sculpture of children and found a park bench located in front of the Asian Civilization Museum. Sheila, who noticed that I was obviously upset, inquired what I was thinking. I expressed my frustrations and said that I would be fine - I just needed a moment to calm down and clear my thoughts. Just then a diseased looking bird flew down, landing a few feet from where we were sitting.

"What the hell is that?" I said.

"Awww . . . " Sheila responded, feeling compassion for the ugly bird. It was so sad but, at the same time, so funny and the both of us roared with laughter. As my mood had obviously taken a turn for the best, Sheila felt it was the perfect time to become Ms. Paparazzi once again, and began taking millions of pictures.

Next we headed to Universal Studios.

Tickets for Universal Studios had all been sold out, but that didn't deter us from taking pictures in and around its vicinity. Just walking around the Studios' grounds was satisfying enough for me. Its atmosphere created that magical feeling as if you really were walking around in a movie, as popular musical scores from its movies were being played.

After we left Universal Studios we began walking to another Merlion, only to get caught in a downpour. We ran for cover. After we found a place to sit, waiting for the ran to stop, we heard loud shrieks coming from around the corner.

"What in the world is going on?" I said, and I got up to see what the commotion was all about.

Sadly, a nasty accident had occurred. One of the descending escalators had abruptly stopped, sending children tumbling down the stairs. The cries from the injured children echoed throughout the building. An ambulance arrived shortly after.

As the rain came to a drizzle, Sheila and I quickly walked to the enormous Merlion. Sheila set up the tripod while we waited for our turn to take a picture as there was a long line. Once it was our turn, Sheila set the timer for the camera and we ran up the stairs. After I saw the flash go off from her camera, notifying us that our picture had been taken, there was another flash, then another, and another, and . . .

"Good God!" I said, "How many pictures did you set it for?'' People were becoming impatient, as there was a long line of people waiting their turn.

"I set it for 10 pictures," Sheila said nonchalantly.

"Ten?!" I yelled. "Are you crazy? You're gonna get us lynched!" And we began to laugh uncontrollably.

Next we went to the man-made Siloso Beach. But because it began to rain, Sheila and I ran for cover again. We found shelter under a giant awning where people were having picnics and playing frisbee. We relaxed and enjoyed some tender sweet moments before moving on.

My friend, Ghana, who I'd met in Malaysia, said he had a friend, a Filipina coincidentally, who's an excellent musician that performs nightly in Singapore and, if I got the chance, suggested that I attend one of her performances. Sounded good. So after Sheila and I left Siloso Beach we took the MRT back into town.

While standing in the MRT, holding onto the railing as I rocked back and forth with every turn, Sheila asked me why I spelled the word 'pretty' as 'prettay' in my blogs. I told her I spell it like that when I impersonate Larry David from his HBO television show Curb Your Enthusiasm.

"How do you say it?" Sheila inquired. "Like this? Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay good."

"Naw, naw, " I said, laughing, "That was terrible. Say it like this: Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay good."

She attempted again. "Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay good."

"Hey, that was pretty good, actually," I told her.

"Pretty good?" she said, smiling, "Or was it . . . Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay good?"

"Oh, Lord, look at what I've created," I thought to myself.

She continued. "Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay . . . "

Then I joined her and we began saying it together. "Prettay . . . Prettay . . . Prettay. . . "

Everyone's eyes in the MRT were fixated on us as we must have sounded and looked absurd. Sheila and I shared a hearty laugh together.

We got off at Bugis station and walked across the street to the shopping market. After we left the market we began walking towards Lavender Street where Ghana's friend was to perform.

"Hey, I'm hungry," I told Sheila. "You want to eat at Burger King?"

"Nah, let's eat somewhere further down the road," she said.

After walking block after block without finding one measly restaurant, I looked over at Sheila. "Hmmm . . . Sure wish we would've eaten at Burger King," I said to her, smiling. She knew that I was just messing around with her.

Then it began to rain.

Suddenly we found ourselves walking in the rain, feeling hungry and tired.

"Yeah, Burger King would've been pretty good!" I jokingly repeated. "And where the heck is this Lavender Street, anyways?"

Sheila and I caught the laughing bug.

"Poor us," Sheila said, laughing. "Poor us." And we continued to walk aimlessly through the wet streets of Singapore - but laughing. People probably thought we were intoxicated by the way we were behaving. Especially me, as I began walking with a limp as my feet were hurting so much.

Eventually we called it a night as we were both feeling tired. We took the MRT back to Bugis station and enjoyed a pleasant meal at . . . . . Burger King. VICTORY!!!!


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