Day 1 – Sydney to Singapore

I was up last night talking to all my friends on my new forum, called Softies. This was the new forum, with a new group of friends from TRF, being kept close together. I didn’t manage much sleep, as I had to get up at around 4am. I was tired. But I was also happy. There’s no way I can’t get up for a trip, no matter how tired I feel. I hate getting up for work; but this is much different.

So I had my bag packed, and followed my mother out the door. She drove me up to Sydney Airport. I tried to catch a bit of sleep, but I’ve already become accustomed to being awake. So we chatted along the road.

It was pretty much the same as it was for my last trip; parents giving me advice on the way to the airport; except dad wasn’t there. My parents have been going through some issues. Separation is a likely factor.

By the time we got to Sydney Airport, I loved it. There was a bit of light on the horizon. I loved the atmosphere. I knew I was going somewhere.

Once at the airport, I checked in and pulled out some money. I got it changed into Chinese Yuan. I spent a little bit more time with my mother before it was time to depart; we hugged and I proceeded through the terminal. Feelings were familiar. I was sad to say goodbye, yet happy to embark on my adventure. Mixed feelings make the whole experience so much more special.

I used some of the airport computers to log onto facebook and update everyone about my current whereabouts. I went onto Softies as well. I was going to meet all these people, and I couldn’t wait.

While waiting to board the A380, I did some shopping. I bought a toothbrush and toothpaste travel-kit, and a bottle of water. I texted a few people so as to say goodbye, and I got in line, holding my passport and boarding card. I forgot about the sadness of leaving my family behind, and now I was all prepared and eager. I boarded the plane, and sat and enjoyed the flight.

In-flight entertainment and food was great, and I watched a few movies. I had a whole row of seats to myself, so I caught a bit of rest. And by the time I woke up, I was flying over the Timor Sea, just past Darwin. I’m all alone, away from my country, once again. But I’m sure I’ll become used to it in no time.

Upon landing at Singapore Airport, the first thing I did was check to see if my iPhone would pick up on international signal. Turns out International Roaming wasn’t activated, and I thought it had been. After disembarking the plane, I found myself some payphones. I’d use one of these to first contact my parents, to let them know I’ve arrived safely, and then, to contact Telstra to resolve my issue.

I first had to get a bit of money out. I went to an ATM and pulled out 40 Singaporean Dollars, roughly valued to that of the Australian. After trying the Apple Shop within the terminal, I found myself some computers. I went online to find out Telstra’s international phone number.

I also got myself a phone card, for which I could use on the payphones. I called up my parents, first things first, and got that out of the way. I let them know that my phone was having trouble. Then I contacted Telstra. I couldn’t seem to get to the bottom of it; I was put on hold for ages, and my credit was running out; and not only that, I was told to try a different number after finalising my details. I wasn’t happy.

So I tried the other number that was given to me, and no one answered the phone. These phones were a little bit dodgy as well, so I decided to dismiss it anyway, and just email Telstra from the terminal computers. I’ll have to wait a day or two for a response.

Well, I didn’t come here for my day to be ruined. I decided to go out and check Singapore city. I asked around the terminal if there were any transfers available to the city centre. I was told that there was a free shuttle at a certain time, but I would have had to wait a fair bit. I stupidly asked, “How much is the free shuttle?”. Obviously I still need time to adjust and get back into travel shape.

I proceeded through immigration, which was fairly simple and straightforward. I was only going to be out for a few hours. So I caught the metro into the city. I did feel somewhat alone; I still needed time to realise it.

By the time the city came into view from the metro windows, I was amazed at what I saw. I finally saw the outside of a different, Asian city that I had never seen before. It was a pleasure to see. Everything looked bright, clean and tidy.

I stepped out from the train and onto the platform at an interchange station, and it was like walking into a massive heat wave. From an air conditioned train car, to the outside hot, sticky and extremely humid atmosphere of Singapore. What a difference already!

I enjoyed the rest of the ride into the city centre. I got off at the main station, which was part of a large shopping mall. I stepped out into the heat once again, and, carrying my heavy backpack with me, went to explore the city’s streets and sights.

I had a map on me, given to me at the information booth at the airport. I tried to navigate my way around, but the heat was making it pretty uncomfortable. I was developing a sweat patch on the back of my shirt. Still, the great sites were able to compensate for my discomfort, and I whipped out the camera. It was time for it to do its work.

I found myself the Merlion, which I was looking for. It was the main feature that I recognised Singapore by. I wanted to get a photo of myself infront of it, but didn’t see the opportunity. Anywho, I bought myself a bottle of water, then continued to walk around. Walking along Singapore’s streets and waterfronts, I saw a very clean and tidy city, with a few interesting things to note. There’s apparently a $400 fine for littering. I saw one sign which instructed not to ride bicycles under tunneled footpaths, and the fine was $1000. Staggering!

Eventually, once I was satisfied with what I had seen, I made my way back to the airport. It was time to cool off, and it was time to get that heavy bag off my back. It was uncomfortable.

Once back at the airport, I got myself some Singaporean dinner, which was fancy, and then I spent the rest of the night, in the remaining 6 hours I had until my plane for Beijing departed, browsing the internet at the computer terminals, listening to my iPod, and walking around the airport, seeing if there was anything interesting. And there was a plant room, which was pretty hot and humid walking into. It was out in the open air.

I listened to all my favourite songs while waiting for my plane at 1:30am the next morning, and I would catch some sleep on the way to Beijing. It would be a 6-hour flight. Above all, I’ve had a pretty interesting day. I just hope I’ll be able to use my iPhone shortly.

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