This morning we ate noodles for breakfast at Atul's apartment, then we moved out of his place to go to Nick & Gerry's apartment. Nick and Gerry are our friends at work. I worked with them on the rig. They offered us to stay at their nice apartment.
We met them and walked around other parts of Singapore which we haven't visited before. We stopped at an old Chinese bakery and peeped inside at how they make the bread. Gerry bought us lunch at a small side street restaurant.
Then that night Nick and Gerry treated us to the Night Safari walk. It was amazing. I like the night walk. The atmosphere's so different. The place really felt like jungle. I couldn't believe that just outside it we could already be back in the hustle and bustle of Singapore.
It is one of the things I like about Singapore. It's so green. I think Singaporeans realise that they need fresh air and good water. That's why in many parts of the island we can find lots of parks and green areas for water catchment. Even in the middle of the city, not far from the busy noisy Orchard Road, they have a lush park called Botanical Garden. When I was there I couldn't believe that we were actually in the middle of the city because as the sun goes down I could hear all those crickets and other insects and night birds singing.
For us Jakartans, to see birds in the city is like seeing a miracle. So imagine how we feel when we see birds everywhere in Singapore. Even among the buildings! In Jakarta you wouldn't find any bird at all. When Jakarta Governor released hundreds of birds to live in trees around Jakarta, not long after that people chased after them, shot at them and caught them, to be sold or to be eaten. Well, I guess stomach still ranks number one in Indonesia.
In terms of natural beauty Indonesia has more than Singapore. However Singapore really makes the most of what they have and sells them beautifully. As a result, what they have seems to be a lot better than what we have! Take for example that place called Mount Faber. It's only a hill with lots of greens and a good view of the surrounding sea. Compared to such places in Indonesia Mount Faber is nothing. But of course Singaporeans make their Mount Faber very attractive. It has cable car connecting to the Sentosa Island, it is very neat, very fresh and very very clean! In Indonesia we have lots of beautiful place like this, but most of the time they are very dirty.
After the walk Nick bought us big fish burger dinner at the park's restaurant. We sat there joking and munching the food. We were tired but very happy.
It turned out that my friends were not ready for the backpacking trip. They were obviously not used to travel. Dewi brought a luggage and Nana brought a super big travel bag, like if they're going to a nice luxurious hotel. Imagine dragging those in and out of buses? Luckily Nick and Gerry noticed that and they lent us two backpacks for Dewi and Nana for our trip to Malaysia and Thailand.
Also, against my advice, none of them brought hip bags, they brought small fashionable women’s bag instead! I couldn't believe it. How are they going to survive the pickpockets and the hassle of cheap travel? Luckily in Singapore we found a very cheap shop which sells hip bags so they could buy some. Then of course two of them forgot to bring umbrellas while we had rain almost everyday. So this morning they had to buy umbrellas.
Singapore, Wednesday 16 June 1999