Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pulau Ubin

So it has finally happened..... I must admit that I was a little surprised when one of the blog readers, Julie, commented about meeting up recently. I mean, the blog is the blog right? Nobody is actually reading it.... When I sit down to write, really I just think "it's time to write something on the blog" without really thinking too much about the readership or what happens after I am done. I suppose that is why some of what I write is pretty spastic at times and at others is not really holding back on the punches.
But hey, travelling is all about meeting new people and if she was interested in meeting me and turning words into life, so too am I interested in discovering who out there is interested in our amazing journey :) We had a chat one night on the phone and arranged to meet yesterday for a bike ride on Pulau Ubin. "Pulau" just means island and so we met up early on Sunday, and with 3 more of her friends took a little boat from Changi village to Pulau Ubin. It's just a little island off the northeast coast of Singapore that is still undeveloped and is considered to be more like a traditional Singapore before the concrete and skyscrapers appeared. That could be true and for sure it felt like we were not in the same country anymore, but we were there to ride bikes, and so was a good portion of the local population. It's busy on the weekends and there are lots of bike rental shops when you arrive so it also has more of a tourist attraction feel to it than a lot of other places around town too. Actually, maybe it is like a different country. We even had to pass through a baggage check when we got back to the "mainland".
I'd originally been thinking a little bike ride around a little island was going to be a nice easy ride on some flat paths. Oh no, not at all. Instead, there is a bike park, with trails. Damp, narrow trails up and down little hills between the trees and through some bumpy fields. I hadn't been on a bike since Feb in the Philippines, and this was starting to feel like work.... Actually I know this sounds a little strange but somehow the trails kind of reminded me of home. Maybe it's just being in nature again, or looking at mud, or I've really been gone for too long, because the vegetation is totally different of course. But I did enjoy it. We took it easy and I had a good visit with Julie and her friends but now my hands and legs are sore.
We were lucky enough to have hot, sunny weather that day too as it seems that we get thunderstorms and rain every other day here in Singapore. They don't last long, but now I understand why every time I look at the international weather Singapore always seems to say 31C and thunderstorms. If you don't believe me, keep an eye out every time you're watching the news...
Tonight I am flying to Manila. I still think the Philippines is currently my favourite country in south east Asia so I'm going to put it through some more rigorous testing. I'm actually really looking forward to going and seeing so many friends again as we just seemed to meet great people after great people there. I expect to be there for the next 2 months anyway but mostly in Manila, but we'll see what happens... The biggest problem with flying out of here is that I am on a budget airline with a 15Kg baggage limit. Do you know how many things I've acquired in the last few months since I few last? All this dive gear and so many text books from the courses. We always barely scraped by with 15Kg at the airport and that was with having the rest of the family to rearrange stuff with. Trying to get this down to a manageable number is going to be very tricky.
After Singapore, Manila is probably going to feel like hell... It's much bigger, busier, noisier, dirtier, etc. I mean, I'm here in an apartment, surrounded by a bunch of other apartment buildings, so you know there are literally thousands of people all around you, and yet, I rarely ever see or hear anyone. The people around us even have pianos, but I don't hear them. Great soundproofing or something. Seriously though, it really seems dead despite the crowds, and I know I mentioned this before but I expect the contrast with Manila to be enormous. The culture here is to overwork like crazy, and because everyone does it, you can't really not work more than the 8 hour day. Clearly this is not the country for me, so it's time to move on.


At 10:03 PM , Blogger Ju_B said...

:) hope the philippines is going well..

.. see u in Vancouver some day, or elsewhere



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