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Mini-Life in Singapore August 8-22, 2016

Mini-Life in Singapore

GPS waypoint: 1°17'02.5"N 103°51'34.7"E
Location: Singapore

Starting From Scratch
I had to go to Singapore by bus from Malacca (Malaysia) to catch a flight back to the Philippines. This was my 2nd time in Singapore, the land known for progressive development and high cost of living - quite daunting to a backpacker surviving on a shoestring. I loved it the first time. It still sounds miraculous that I survived 30 days here on US$300 - inclusive of boutique hotel stays, daily yoga classes and a personal tour of the Marina Bay Sands. I got lucky being able to work out barter deals that went a long way in conserving my meager cash.

All of that is memory. What welcomed me back was a 2-hour detention at Immigration followed by a frantic search for a place to stay. With none of my previous deals active, I had to start from scratch. My immediate concern was how to survive in this expensive city.

Mini-Life in Singapore
exploring the Lavender District on foot

Like Malacca, I was rushed the entire time from preparing proposals, meeting web deadlines, catching up on my blogs and looking for another roof over my head. I couldn't possibly see myself as a tourist - more like an expat who has to meet pressing deadlines. If not for Eunice who occasionally invited me for coffee and chats (thank you Eunice!), I would have been sucked-in like a black hole by my laptop. It's odd that for a guy like me who has no home, no property, no money and no steady job, I am exhaustingly busy that I need 36 hours to fit in one day!

Lavender District
Life gradually become easier as the days passed. I was able to arrange a few hotel deals within the Lavender District which sustained my stay from my 4th night til departure. At US$10/night being the cheapest, I could not have lasted more than a few days in Singapore. With toast and jam included for breakfast with my lodging, I only had to worry about 2 meals in a day. Sometimes, I got lucky. One time, I closed a resto deal at The.Twenty.Cavan - great food and mood ambience. I even invited Eunice to join me. It happens.

With my lodging looked after, it freed-up my time to explore the city again, instead of spending time pounding the pavement for hotel deals - a sigh of relief I needed for emotional solace and psychological well-being.

e-Scooter Craze
What fascinated me in Singapore was the popularity of e-scooters. You see commuters whiz by on their silent e-machines like swarming flies. It was the coolest thing! From a rider, I learned the uni-cycle used to be the craze, then the 2-wheeled hover-craft, and now, the e-scooter is the flavor of the month - although it seems like it is here to stay as it's the most practical for short commutes. It's not cheap. Entry level model starts at SG$900 and the dual motors can go as high as SG$2400.

I took a particular fancy at the Uni-Cycle - a one-wheel electronic urban transport vehicle. It's not for everyone but it wins the cool factor hands-down. I first saw this in Saigon while enjoying my Phoa. A guy on one wheel just whizzed by - it looked like a scene from a James Bond movie! I tried negotiating for a unit in the Philippines but got no response. But here in Singapore, while going to an electronic Expo event in search of a replacement laptop, I chanced on a few vendors selling Uni-Cycle units - they range from SG$350 to SG$1000. Again, I tried to negotiate an ex-deal but nothing came out of it. Sigh! I was already thinking that I'd be coming home with one. I haven't given up yet.

I was already enjoying my stay in Singapore and developing my own routine, with life getting better for me with every passsing day. I wanted to stay longer before heading back to the Philippines, but I was afraid I might miss the durian season by the time I arrive in Davao. With a little reluctance, I booked a flight.

Ending Thoughts
Singapore this time around offered something different and familiar from the last time. Similar because life started hard with me paying cold cash for my lodging until I arranged hotel deals. Different because Eunice was there. Usually, I meet people along the way and they leave in a few days before the friendship can deepen...and I start the whole social cycle all over again. With Euncie being a local, she was there the entire time. We'd go out for coffee and just hang without the rush. She even tagged me along to her hometown in Kluang, Malaysia. Of course I met other people who added color to my Singapore experience. And for all of that, I remain grateful.

I love Singapore. It still remains the place I would settle down to, if I ever settle down. I admire and respect their no-nonsense efficiency and their forward-thinking and forward-moving sense of urgency. Being a Southeast Asian hub, if I want a lively Asian grit, Bangkok is just a short flight away. Good food? Penang is just a short flight away (making it clear that Singapore has good food too - I just can't afford it!). Everything seems within reach from Singapore.

My analogy for Singapore is that of a friend I'm not necessarily close to, but whose company I enjoy with equal respect and admiration. It's a kind of friendship where familiarity has no place - a no-nonsense friendship. An arms-length kind of love. A friendship that gives you space but remains accessible. I know, it borders on cold and clinical. But if I want something more intimate, I wouldn't be looking for a friend. I'd be looking for a lover - now, that calls for a different country. :)

Thank you Eunice, thank you Singapore!

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Davao, Philippines

the bus from Immigration and Checkpoints Authority dropped me off at Bugis chancing on one of my favorite Singapore staples - the SG$1.20 street ice cream Eunice was a sigh of relief after my immigration detention loving the way Singapore supports bike transport
fireworks as Singapore celebrates its 51st birthday Singapore is expensive. I default to Rice Garden for meals - SG$2.70 for rice and 3 veggie dishes I see her a past life, I lost everything on online day trading because I wanted to own a Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota convertible the glitzy Orchard galore with un-ending malls
the community is always involved in keeping crime down...and it's advertised! Singapore is a juxtaposition of old and new a scooter retail shop - I couldn't convince the owner to part with his uni-cycle for online placement Singapore skyline from inside a bus
the bus and train system are the best in the world heritage shophouses with modern buildings in the background the animated Bugis area at night get a view, alfresco openess and its cheap and delicious
the many free conveniences you stumble upon along the way taxis are flashy and new food courts...lots of delicious choices at reasonable prices colorful public chillout zone
this is perhaps a fitting metaphor for Singapore....keeping up and managing intense urban pressures durian from SG$3-28/styrofoam. I'd rather go to Davao and pay SG$1/kilo! fruit stand in search of a replacement laptop at the crowded electronic expo
an 18' wheel uni-cycle with a powerful motor....SG$1000. I tried to have her a sparkly mime artist religious traditions are deeply rooted in Singapore electronic ordering at McDonalds

Google Map Singapore

tourist attractions in Singapore tourist attractions
  • Little India Little India - Little India is the main tourism hub in Singapore. Friday and Saturday nights become animated with the night market
  • Chinatown Chinatown -colorful and animated with Chinese ware shopping, sumptuous street food and hawker-style eats, try Ah Balling Peanut Soup
  • Orchard Road Orchard Road - upscale shopping and glitzy night life
  • Arab Street Arab Street - backpacker dorms, shisha smoking with Middle Eastern atmosphere
  • Singapore Zoo Singapore Zoo - experience the night zoo, S$38
  • Fountain of Wealth Fountain of Wealth - at Suntec City, largest fountain in the world (Guinness Book of Records in 1998), shop-til-you-drop
  • The Southern Ridges 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 Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery - biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore
  • Marina Bay Sands Marina Bay Sands - Singapore's most iconic building and most expensive at US$5.5B. Imagine a surf board on top of three skyscrapers
hotels in Singapore hotel
  • Arcadia Hotel Arcadia Hotel - stylish, modern, urbane, cool and confident. Jalan Besar district
    32 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209201
    +65 6718 0700 | | 1°18'42.0"N 103°51'41.1"E
  • 7 Wonders Hostel 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 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

More Information about Singapore

Singapore Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Mini-Life in Singapore August 8-22, 2016
  2. Peoplescape of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  3. Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug 8-22, 2016
  4. Biological Cell Regulation (BCR) Therapy at Chang Wellness Aug 16, 2016
  5. Getting my Xiaomi Redmi Note3 Smart Phone Aug. 9, 2016
  6. A Roof Over my Head in Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
  7. 2-Hour Detention at Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority August 8, 2016
  8. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Mar 23, 2015
  9. Life Hacking in Singapore Mar 22, 2015
  10. Exploring More of Singapore Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015
  11. Power Yoga Class at Yoga Inc., Singapore Mar 21, 2015
  12. Touring Marina Bay Sands Mar 17, 2015
  13. The Singapore Magic Mar 16, 2015
  14. Singapore Yoga at Yoga Inc. Mar 8, 2015
  15. Singapore on a Shoe String Feb 20, 2015
  16. Things to do in Singapore Oct 20, 2013
  17. Singapore Girl July 21, 2013
  18. Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos Jan 26, 2003

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Reader Comments:

Eunice ChiaEunice Malaysia
(Sep 10, 2016) You thanked me too many times...thank you too!!

August 8-22, 2016

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Singapore Hotels

Arcadia Hotel, Singapore
Arcadia Hotel
stylish modern hotel

7 Wonders Hostel, Singapore

7 Wonders Hostel
sleeping capsules

Meadows Hostel, Lavender, Singapore

Meadows Hostel
backpacker capsule beds