The Singapore Connection

by Will Sanders on April 18th, 2009

A lot of things have happened since last Wednesday at 4:30 AM. Babies have aged into siniority and died from Natural causes since last Wednesday at 4:30 AM. Empires have risen and fallen since last Wednesday at 4:30 AM. I have flown a million miles since last Wednesday at 4:30 AM.
At 4:30 AM last Wednesday, my Dad woke me up. I asked if it was time, it was so I got up. My Dad’s dog Molly got up and looked sorry to see me go, Jeannie got up too and hugged me. It was time, I took a deep breath. Here we go again.
We made it to the Airport. my father and I said our goodbyes and shook hands and I was off. My first flight was at 8ish that morning. While waiting I overheard a lady screaming at her kid for self inflicting wounds, he was rubbing one spot raw to the point of blood. She was yelling at him for lieing to her about it, the kid was crying. An old lady told the boy not to cry, it wasn’t that bad, and this lady started screaming at the old lady, ‘it is that bad, he shouldn’t lie’. I thought about that poor kid the rest of the day.
From the plane window I could see downtown Atlanta getting smaller, it was perfect. So long, Atlanta. And thanks for the grits!
From Georgia I went to Chicago, four hours to kill there. The last meal in America was intentionally rediculous. Steak and eggs and hash browns and toast washed down with a tall can of Iron City beer at 10 in the morning. So long, America! Good luck! You’re gonna need it.
The plane from Chicago was one of those jumbo afairs. The long walk past first class to economy was especially bad because those lucky duck sons of bitches had the fancy reclining flat bed seats with personal flat screen TVs. We, the people of the back of the jumbo jet fucking hate those guys! I had begged the man in Chicago check in counter for a exit isle, I explained to him that I was very brave and capable of helping others out before myself in a crisis situation. I could be a valuable asset to the safety of everyone, I reasoned. Nope, if I wanted to stretch out in an exit seat it was $150 extra, which sucks because it means the airlines are getting hip to the exit seat scam, which is a sweet little deal.
The good news was I had window with an empty seat next to me the whole way, which was good. And what a long time that was, the crappy onflight movies were the day the earth stood still, yesman, some romantic comedy about jennifer aniston and luke wilson and a dog, and something about street kids learning responsibility by playing rugby, along with several tv shows. Every once in a while I would open my window, blasting white hot light on everyone trying to sleep inside the cabin in order to gaze on the snow and ice wilderness of the polar cap northeast of Canada. We flew above the bering straight over Russia and Syberia then through Mongolia across China to Hong Kong. After each movie they had a little plane with the GPS of where we were and our altitude and how many hours we had gone and how many hours left, that sort of thing. The worst was the last six hours, that was when my legs really started twisting up and my body really started screaming for freedom from the constrants of the flying sardeen can. The hum of the engine was getting on my nerves, the food sucked and the once elephantine jumbo jet was shrinking fast.
A plane which had left Chicago at 12:30 Chicago time (1:30 Atlanta) and landed in Hong Kong at 4:30 Thurday afternoon local time (5:30 am next morning Atlanta time) threw my whole concept of time and space out the window. Forced to medatate on the poor so and so’s who had spent months and months on a boat after months and months in a horse pulled wagon to do what I just did didn’t make me feel particularly lucky to be in such a day and age. I feel like the human body and mind has no buisness being propelled such distances and as a result everything, man everything is all scrambeled and melted. Here at 5:30 am Atlanta time, 4:30 am the day before was starting to feel really far away. And it had been endlessly sunny the entire fucking time, just to add insult to injury.
Being in Hong Kong airport for four hours is a tease, I could see the mountains on the nearby islands from the window, but alas, only had four hours before my connecting flight. I couldn’t even find dim sum in the airport.
After Changing a little money to Hong Kong dollars I bought an international phone card to call Singapore. I was going to get in at 11:30 at night then straight to a backpacker hostel. The next day I would have one day to get my visa and I would need the help of a man the school had asked me to connect with. So at about six that night I called the connection to set a meet for the next day in Singapore. After a few failed attempts to work the international phone card I finally got him. OK, we can meet tomorrow, he said he would be at the Mcdonalds near the Forum Mall on Orchard at nine o’clock, See you then.
I slept through the three hour Hong Kong Singapore flight, they were showing a movie with Queen Latifah. I dislike Queen Latifah and have done so since she was a bad rapper, way before she was a bad actor.
The big problem with moving to a country via another country is the baggage. At Singapore I had to deal with a huge red suitcase wieghing 45 pounds and a hikers backpack which was 30 pounds and the big pack I had carried on which had all my books. I was moving for a whole year here, and no matter what I did any self respecting backpacker would see that much stuff and look at me like a dillataunt.
Getting into the airport shuttle was awkward, but I did it. Pulling all that shit out onto the sidewalk of little India in the backpacker bar street at midnight felt slightly halarious. Some drunks strolling by saw me laboring under all this luggage, one of them hollered “Welcome to Singapore, Mate!”.
The hostel was very nice, actually. My last trip to Singapore I was in Batel Box, this time I was in the Inncrowd in little India. The thing I disliked about Batel Box was the dorm was one gigantic room with around 50 people, here they have much smaller dorms which I prefer. Both are outstandingly run by outstanding people though, so when in Singapore I would recomend either, with Inncrowd slightly ahead for my money.
I put my extra shit in an extra shit room, went to the 711 next door and grabbed a Tiger (SE Asian favorite) beer and a pack of Marlboros complete with dead fetus picture on the side of the pack. I smoked and drank out front in a sea of backpackers drinking as backpackers do best and struck up conversation with a man from Sri Lanka. This guy was either a very adimate supporter or full fledged member of the Temil Tigers, I don’t know which, but I do know he is all about them. We talked about that for a while but after that beer I had to apologize and end an interesting conversation to go to bed, Christ I was tired.
Next morning I was up and going at 8. I found the right bus which led to another bus which took me to the forum mall on Orchard, and sure enough, there was Mcdonalds. I went in and looked around. Sitting at a table outside was an Indian looking man surrounded by papers, I asked his name, he was my connection. I pulled out my passport, but he said we must first have breakfast, then we do buisness. Sounded right to me, we went in, ordered, then came outside and had our Mcmuffins and coffee in silence. Finally, breakfast was done and it was down to buisness. I asked him the name of the school I was working for and he passed the test. I guess I was a little uneasy handing my passport to a perfect stranger in a Mcdonalds in Singapore. He knew about the school and about me, so that made me a lilttle less stressy. I gave him the amount of money the school had told me, three passport photos with red background (which Marcus and I had done in his apartment with a red shirt, hey Marcus, the pictures worked, dude!) and a copy of some documents the school had sent. Be back at 4, he said. I asked him how to get to the museum from there and he told me go to any hotel and ask them. He put out his cigerette, collected his papers and split, leaving me the whole day to kill in Singapore.
I managed to get good directions from a guy working at a borders. He didn’t know off hand but spent a very long time pouring over maps to help me, Singapore people seem to have the overly nice to foriegners gene, but at the same time they seem really hip and modern, up on styles and trends. Anyway the guy directed me to the MRT, the subway and I did subway the rest of the day all over the place.
First I went to the National museum, which I had missed last time. I am a museum junky, I love learning and seeing artifacts at the same time. Some people get bored, and that is ok, that’s them. Me? I love a museum. This one was AMAZING! So much information. With an audio player hanging around my neck I was taken from early tribal Singapore history, through Raffles and Brittish rule, all the way past the Japanese invasion to the present. They actually had two halves, one which told history through events, dates and that sort of thing, and one half which had recordings of first person accounts and anticdotes. In the end I couldn’t process any more information, so I went to the wing which was showcasing clothing design artist Christian Lecroix, which was really really cool.
Next I figured the MRT to little China where I got to practice my Manderin, very rusty but still working. I had fried noodles with duck and soup and dumplings. It was all southern China food, the canton sorts of things we get back home, not really anyting which would quench my appitite for the Henan pork dumplings or beef but still pretty good.
The longer the day went the hotter things got. I had an ice water and I droped a piece of ice on the sidewalk, shhhhhhhhhh instant water. Like butter on a hot pan, one second ice, then insant puddle.
At 3:50 I got back to Mikey D’s, didn’t see our man though. I did see a few other foriegners who also looked to be waiting. On the dot of four our man showed up, I have a big, fancy Indonesia visa which says 12 months. I guess that means this time next year if I reup I will be coming back to Singapore. I have done just about everything a tourist can do here, I’m sure I will find something.
That night I went by an Indian place which sold me more briani than I could eat in a week for pennies. I had a beer and was fast asleep by 8, getting closer to adapting to the new hours, trying like hell to kill this jetlag.
Today I get on a plane and fly to Surabaya, Indonesia to start my brand spaking new life there. Nervous is a good word. I will be sure to tell you all about it, blog believers. Meanwhile, not one proof read. Believe it!
Feels wierd being away, send emails and facebook messages. Love you guys.

9 Responses to “The Singapore Connection”

  1. Amy Bugg Burke says:

    HaHA! first note! =)

    So I was wondering if it feels really cool to be in a country like Singapore and have it be familiar since you’ve been there before. It’s so cool that you’ve been there before!

    I am sending big waves of good vibes your way as you head to Indonesia, your new home!!

  2. Amy Bugg Burke says:

    Oh darn…the comments require moderation, which means I may not be the first note…tricky.

  3. Will Sanders says:

    Nope, you are the first! It is kind of cool to be in Singapore for the third time. The last two times where within a month of each other but it still counts. It is sort of cool to look at a map of Singapore and have it make sense. I loved your pictures of Bonair, by the way.
    It is good as always to have you with me on the blog, Amy Burke.
    Give Ryan my love
    w

  4. Glad the photo’s worked! Hopefully we can get this blog loooking better soon. Godspeed.

  5. elenore says:

    so… we already miss you. but are totally exited for you and know that the blog entertainment and your life experences are worth more than just missing you so… we love you will sanders. be safe.

  6. Tonia says:

    Amazing and please, do not proof your blog as it’s part of the enjoyment. If it were perfectly written we’d have to come up with another name, such as journal or some such blarney. By the way, I am jealous of your museum visit! Just went to the Terracotta Warriors thing here, which was good but not overwhelming as I’m a History Channel junkie. Bought way too many cheap souvenirs but I always do.

    I can’t wait to hear more about the trip. Please have a beer for me someplace beautiful, warm and serene - send pictures!!!

    Big hugs, warm wishes and happy thoughts..

    T

  7. will says:

    Aw, shit. I love you too Elenore. Give Ben a high five for me.

  8. erik says:

    miss you man. i finally finished my scupernonge(sp?) trelese…those red wood stumps weigh a ton

    • Will Sanders says:

      Not sure what the hell you are talking about, man. But it sure is good to hear from you too.

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