Hello Singapore, lah

Our last morning in Cambodia was spent lazily sleeping in before one last meal of what has become our standard breakfast at the hotel: scrambled eggs, two pieces of bacon, fresh (ish) fruit, a baguette, orange juice, and peppermint tea. Fake Loki has learned to see us coming and ran up the stairs with us, hopeful for some head scratches along the way. Of course we obliged.

After breakfast we packed up our bags and decided to walk the mile and a half into Kep since we would be sitting on a bus and plane the rest of the day. After warding off a few tuk tuk drivers we made it into town and a quick look through the tiny town revealed our best bet for lunch would again be the French boulangerie from two days ago. We had some ham sandwhiches on deliciously fresh bread while we continued to sweat profusely, the downside of choosing to walk into town. We finished with a chocolate eclair and headed to the breakwall by the beach to catch a breeze and hopefully cool off before the bus came.

Eventually our bus arrived and we climbed aboard, thankful that the A/C was already on full blast. We continued slowly along the coast for the next 30 minutes, picking up mostly locals by the side of the road. No one seemed to be waiting at anything that looked remotely like a bus stop so I’m not sure how the bus knew to stop, but it seemed to work out for everyone. We both snoozed a little bit and then tried to tune out the loud Cambodian music videos playing throughout the bus by listening to podcasts on our phones. I would look out the windshield every once in a while but decided I did not enjoy seeing how we were making such good time and instead watched the terribly identical series of music videos on the screen at the front of the bus. Every so often the bus would brake suddenly, throwing us into the seats in front of us and making us aware of yet another almost head on collision. Cambodian countryside driving is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Our bus that carried us sort of safely from Kep to Phnom Penh.
Our bus that carried us sort of safely from Kep to Phnom Penh.
The nicer rest stop we stopped at on the bus. The other was a field on the side of the road.
The nicer rest stop we stopped at on the bus. The other was a field on the side of the road.
This is the bathroom in it. The floor was sopping wet. The bucket and scoop are for cleaning up afterwards in lie of toilet paper. Lynn and I both held it.
This is the bathroom in it. The floor was sopping wet. The bucket and scoop are for cleaning up afterwards in lieu of toilet paper. Lynn and I both held it.

Since we had noticed the bus stopping wherever people seemed to want to get off we thought we would see if they would drop us off at the airport since we were going to drive right past it anyway on the way to bus terminal downtown.  I timidly asked the ticket guy in as simple English as I could muster.  It turns out he speaks it fluently and it would be no problem to drop us near the airport, but we would have to tuk tuk the last little bit.  We got off the bus a few minutes later and very poorly negotiated (completely my fault, but to be fair it was a very confusing time) a ride the last few miles to the terminal.  With this newly found transportation plan we were now 3.5 hours early for our flight so we pulled up a bench and discussed South America and texted with our friend Marti who was getting ready to leave for her very own world explorations that same day.

When the flight check in opened we were first in line and headed through security to find very expensive and lackluster dinner options at Phnom Penh’s airport.  We settled for Taste of Asia and, perhaps because Cambodia has lowered our expectations so very far, we had one of the better meals we’ve eaten in the past week.  After dinner we boarded our Jetstar flight and had a very fright inducing takeoff in the most compact seats I have ever seen.  Twice it felt like we were dropping out of the sky, but after that the flight smoothed out and was uneventful the rest of the time.

Incredibly overpriced bag of M&Ms at the duty free store. Lynn hand for comparison.
Incredibly overpriced bag of M&Ms at the duty free store. Lynn hand for comparison.
The flight that was next to impossible for us to purchase is finally here.
The flight that was next to impossible for us to purchase is finally here.

As we got closer to Singapore, Lynn got more and more excited until she was basically erupting out of her seat by the time you could see it out the window.  This is more excited than I had seen her the entire trip so far, no doubt triggered by the friends and food awaiting us on the ground.  We breezed through customs and caught a very chatty taxi driver with a lovely Singaporean accent and who was very insistent that we start looking for jobs and move to Singapore immediately.  Lynn was uncharacteristically chatty as well, proof of how excited she was to be back in what we are calling her 6th home.

As we drove through Singapore I noted that it seemed to be basically the opposite of the rest of Southeast Asia.  It looked like a cleaner version of the U.S. with tall sky scrappers everywhere and not a single stray dog.  After 30 minutes we had crossed the island and pulled into a neighborhood of new looking 20 floor apartment buildings and found the one belonging to Lynn’s friends and former research partners, Tawfiq and Rubaina, who are nice enough to put us up for the next four nights. They met us at the door and they are indeed lovely people.  They and Lynn spent the next hour catching up on the past five years before sleep finally took hold and we went to bed at 1 am.

Tawfiq and Rubaina have a travel world map that puts ours to shame.
Tawfiq and Rubaina have a travel world map that puts ours to shame.

Daily Walking Miles : 4.2

Fun Facts :

  • Though English is one of the official languages of Singapore, most common people also speak Singlish which is an English, Chinese, Malay Creole language. The government heavily discourages the language in favor of proper English or Mandarin and has started an annual Speak Good English Movement.
English to Singlish dictionary. We like how simple everything becomes.
English to Singlish dictionary. We like how simple everything becomes.
  • Singapore is one of only three city-states in the world including Monaco and Vatican City.
  • Many Singaporeans end their thoughts with the filler word “lah” which as far as we can’t tell doesn’t mean anything at all.

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