Feb 20, 2015
Singapore on a Shoe String
GPS waypoint: 1°17'02.5"N 103°51'34.7"E
Having explored Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia on my way south, the only country remaining is Singapore - reputed to be the most expensive city in Southeast Asia and the 4th in the world (Forbes). Backpacker forums summarize Singapore this way: Don't even think about it! This sent chills up my spine, specially with my dwindling cash with nothing on the horizon. I had to think many times. Do I cave in and go back to Thailand for $1 meals and $5 dorm beds?
Vipassana to the Rescue
In times of uncertainty such as this, my Vipassana reflex kicks-in to become aware that this is just sensation created by the habit pattern of the mind. I simply had to step back to regain perspective - what do I really want? Is it a life on Easy Street where everything is secured for me....not having to worry where my next food will come from? Or...do I want life to unravel for me in ways compliant to my karmic process? In that case, I have to take my chance and tempt fate. Let's see what happens next. With trepidation, I braced myself for whatever happens in Singapore.
I had to make sure I got my bases covered. Unlike my other destinations, I couldn't leave anything to chance. I purchased my train tickets and booked my hotel a day in advance, even purchased a return trip to comply to Singaporean immigration requirements, planned my inner city trip from train station to my hotel, etc. So far, no replies on my email proposals for a hotel deal. My level of anxiety was high.
Everything that could possibly go wrong on this trip went wrong. It was a classic Murphy's Law:
- to save a night's lodging, I tried to book a sleeping train - it was full, constraining me to take the afternoon train instead. It means I have to book a night's stay in Singapore - US$10!
- the afternoon train broke down and we waited for 3 hours until it was fixed
- because of the breakdown, we arrived at immigration Malaysia, past 12 midnight. It means I now overstayed my visa! They took it against me and detained me for a while before they let go
- because of that train delay again, we were too late for the cheaper MRT train. I was constrained to take a cab, and because it was night, I also had to pay a 50% surcharge! Luckily for me, I joined a couple who was cabbing it as well and split the cab 3-ways
- I arrived at the address 2am and I couldn't find my hotel...took me 15 minutes to finally locate it
- I started the following day at 9:30am, already pounding the pavement of Singapore for a possible hotel deal...until 5pm. Nothing! No hotel deal. The usual reply was, "owner not here, Chinese New Year"
Hitting Rock Bottom...the Spectre
With everything looking bleak, I couldn't help but think, when my last remaining US$300 is finished, what happens to me? Do I sleep on the sidewalk? My sensation was of equal fear and excitement, curious what set of cards my benevolent universe will hand me next.
Little India - Little India is the main tourism hub in Singapore. Friday and Saturday nights become animated with the night market
Chinatown -colorful and animated with Chinese ware shopping, sumptuous street food and hawker-style eats, try Ah Balling Peanut Soup
Orchard Road - upscale shopping and glitzy night life
Arab Street - backpacker dorms, shisha smoking with Middle Eastern atmosphere
Singapore Zoo - experience the night zoo, S$38
Fountain of Wealth - at Suntec City, largest fountain in the world (Guinness Book of Records in 1998), shop-til-you-drop
The Southern Ridges - best trekking trails in Singapore extending 10kms through lush forest canopy. Bring water, sunscreen and a hat
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery - biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore
Marina Bay Sands - Singapore's most iconic building and most expensive at US$5.5B. Imagine a surf board on top of three skyscrapers
- Arcadia Hotel - stylish, modern, urbane, cool and confident. Jalan Besar district
32 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209201
+65 6718 0700 | email@example.com | 1°18'42.0"N 103°51'41.1"E
- 7 Wonders Hostel - backpacker community, sleeping capsules, free wifi, complimentary breakfast, live English Premier League, dining, motion sensor lighting, alfresco outdoor sitting area
257 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208930
tel: (+65) 6291 3774 | 1°18'36.2"N 103°51'29.8"E
- Meadows Hostel - newly opened, all new and clean, backpacker capsule beds, central Lavender District location, 24/7 compli tea and coffee, wifi, compli breakfast
7A Hamilton Road, Kallang, Singapore, Singapore 209178
tel: 6298.1323 | 1°18'40.2"N 103°51'38.0"E
- Mini-Life in Singapore August 8-22, 2016
- Peoplescape of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
- Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug 8-22, 2016
- Biological Cell Regulation (BCR) Therapy at Chang Wellness Aug 16, 2016
- Getting my Xiaomi Redmi Note3 Smart Phone Aug. 9, 2016
- A Roof Over my Head in Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
- 2-Hour Detention at Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority August 8, 2016
- Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Mar 23, 2015
- Life Hacking in Singapore Mar 22, 2015
- Exploring More of Singapore Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015
- Power Yoga Class at Yoga Inc., Singapore Mar 21, 2015
- Touring Marina Bay Sands Mar 17, 2015
- The Singapore Magic Mar 16, 2015
- Singapore Yoga at Yoga Inc. Mar 8, 2015
- Singapore on a Shoe String Feb 20, 2015
- Things to do in Singapore Oct 20, 2013
- Singapore Girl July 21, 2013
- Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos Jan 26, 2003
(Mar 9, 2015) I dont know how you make it through...sometimes I really do feel nervous for you
(Mar 9, 2015) Hey if you are in a pinch, just email me, I will try to help you in any way I can. That is what friends are for.
"if you are in a pinch, just email me" -- Good Samaritan
(Mar 9, 2015) Thank you. Actually I am even impatient as I would like to see what my benevolent universe will do next if I run out of money. I'm in the 4th most expensive city and I only have $74 left...ha-ha. Odd that I'm not even worried when I should. Sorry, if I sounded like I was fishing for charity - I appreciate it, of course, but it's not my thing. This is a cosmic dance for me.
(Mar 9, 2015) I remembered your comment about the difference between you and a homeless man, well my answer to that is that you have friends and people that care about you. I do care what happens to you even though I downplay it. I know your views about money and so far the universe has been very benevolent to you but you don't need to test it until it breaks just to prove a point. But you are leading an interesting journey which I have the privilege to have glimpses of from time to time and I sometimes do wonder where your choices will lead you next. I am extending any support that I can in your journey.
(Feb 24, 2015) ooh, cliffhanger... can't wait to hear how it's worked out. bcs somehow it always does. or does it...?????
(Feb 24, 2015) Going there this weekend!!!!!!
(Feb 24, 2015) The universe is toying with you. I guess that at the actual level, something precious is awaiting for you somewhere
Feb 20, 2015
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