Monday, September 12, 2011

Bangkok to Singapore

I was packing up to head out of Bangkok to Singapore, when I discovered slime in the Zip-Loc bag that held all my just-in-case pharmaceuticals. And how long had those seven acetaminophen pills been melted together?

Travel=glamour, I thought as I scrubbed out all my Zip-Locs in the bathroom sink.

I'd taped together my compression packing bag which had somehow split open, and I'd put a rubber band around my travel soap dish, which had been broken by the cleaner on Sunday. Had it happened on, oh, say, Saturday, I could have gotten a new one. But I'd only learned this in the shower now. I could probably find a good travel store in Singapore. My friend Stephanie would know one, or Larry Hama's friend Gabrielle. I had actual people to see in Singapore.

My pack gets heavier with every bit I throw away, I thought as I hoisted my bag onto my back to head down to the airport shuttle.

Yes, I was taking the plane instead of the train. AirAsia is one of those budget airlines where you end up saving money by flying. You have to be on top of it, remembering to disable the automatic flight insurance and the thing that wants you to pay ten bucks for a seat with extra leg room, but even if I had left those on, I'd be paying way less than if I took the sleeper train for two overnights and paid for a night in Penang (the train has a layover there).

"Hello Singapore. You are looking expensive," I thought as I wandered out of the plane and into the high-tech airport, complete with individual phone-charging lockers and full of fun treats like compression bags (but no travel soap dish) and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

I took the train to Boat Quay, across the river from Raffles, and was surprised to see a Botero bird there. I'd been to the Botero Museum in Colombia a few years back. Oh dear, more than a few.

I was heading to a private room I'd booked in a backpackers. Singapore is pricey and this was the cheapest private room I had found that didn't sound skanky.

The room at Prince of Wales Boat Quay was not skanky, and the price was right, but the included wifi turned out to be three stories down in the bar. And the free breakfast didn't start until nine in the morning.


But there was no time to worry about that now. I changed into something less smelly and raced off to see Gabrielle. She teaches graduate-level film at NYU in Singapore, at Tisch School of the Arts. I hadn't even known there was an NYU in Singapore, so this was a treat.

The school looked a lot like a school in New York, but smaller. I sat down to wait for Gabrielle and used the wifi in the student lounge.

Huh. The password started with 212 and then had 7 digits.

Briefly, I wondered what the phone number of NYU in New York might be. And then Gabrielle appeared, and it was time for salad.

I always look forward to Singapore. Not because I want to see sights or go to Raffles.

No, I look forward to Singapore's potable water and salad.

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