Category Archives: Singapore

Fancy Singapore: You cannot fall out of the pose!

I told myself I was ridiculous for feeling so effing nervous but I couldn’t help it. There I was. Sloppy H&M clothes around my waste, dusty old back-pack strapped tight, sweating like people do when they walk instead of emerging glamorously from a taxi.

The Marina Bay Sands rose high above my head and even though it looked iconic in pictures and impressive from a distance, now it was nothing but a gloomy gray shadow casted over me. If I have ever felt more out of place somewhere in my life, my mind must have banned the memory.
Shops selling things I cannot afford. People wearing flip-flops worth more than my entire outfit. Suitcases and purses only. No backpacks and hiking shoes.
Keeping up appearances, I demanded myself to not fall out of my role and keep looking confident.

It’s rich Kim now, I pretended: the one with a Mercedes, swimming pool, sauna and room for a pony.

(A solid high five to anyone getting that reference :))

Then Ayako walked in the room and instantly my stress faded. It had been two years since we met in Japan and to have her come and meet me here, I already realized, would be one of the highlights of this trip. A highlight that could not be matched even by that majestic infinity pool hovering above us: the pool every tourist comes for, the reason we, too, booked at the Marina Bay Sands. Continue reading Fancy Singapore: You cannot fall out of the pose!


Arrival in Singapore: Sky scrapers and storage rooms

Brussels airport felt very strange: full of heavy armed soldiers and long, dysfunctional queues of people waiting to be let through for check-in. The line for Turkish Airlines was by far the longest in the improvised departure hall. It seemed that most other big airlines had moved back to the main building, but TA hag to stay amongst lots of smaller airlines, many of which I had never heard before. In the end, everything went smooth though. After an agonizing flight (I never seem to get used to 14 hours on planes), a surprisingly smooth immigration check and a convenient MRT ride, I soon found myself exploring the streets of Singapore’s China Town.

The first place of worship I walked past was a bright green Mosque that had already closed for the night. The second was a Hindu temple that was full of light and life. Although the building wasn’t that impressive, inside a man was playing loudly on a long, gold coloured flute. The noise (because it didn’t sound much like music to me) carried far beyond the mosque and I imagined it could have easily charmed a 100 snakes all at once, yet there weren’t any. I took of my shoes and wandered inside, where people stood in rows to watch the main shrine.

Not much seemed to happen, but none the less the spectators stayed and stared. I wondered for a second if it was the people who got hypnotized by the flute?

Continue reading Arrival in Singapore: Sky scrapers and storage rooms

Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore

(This entry is part of the Coming 2016 side blog)

“Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore.”

That’s what captain Jack Sparrow answered to one of the guards, after he tore of Elisabeth’s corset with a knife to safe her from suffocating (Pirates of the Caribbean, the Curse of the Black Pearle).
“I would never have thought of that,” the guard said. To which Jack implied that, apparently, Singapore is a good place to learn how to disrobe women swift and with slightly violent manners. Now that I’ve got my flight booked, I’m not sure what to think of that… However, Singapore does, in my head, bring images of grim, long gone port hustlers, Chinese mafia and prostitutes. I should know better. I should know that these days, it’s more of a hyper modern, rather expensive haven of up-scale hotels and glitzy shopping malls.

But… secretly I’ve been quoting captain Jack Sparrow every time I amaze someone with a cunning trick that I master and they do not. Let it be clear: tearing of corsets isn’t one of them. But that doesn’t matter. “Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore” does a rather satisfying job in making one feel a little inferior, a little unknowing, a little less world savvy. “How did you manage to cook that risotto so on point?” – “Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore.” “Are you sure it’s a good idea to drink another glass of wine?” – “Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore.” “That’s a rather impressing yoga-pose.” – “Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore.” It makes no sense, and yet it makes all the sense in the world. Only problem was, that I’ve never actually been to Singapore myself… Soon, those days will be gone. I will leave them behind me and proclaim out loud, proud and rightfully so, that I am better than you because Singapore has made me wiser about all one needs to know. I will be a little Jack Sparrow in a world of cocky British guards and I will love it.

Now, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Singapore ended up my travel list only because of this quote… but yeah. It kinda did. It kinda did a lot. Because of that, and the Marina Bay Sands.

One fine day I was scrolling Pinterest’s travel tab and up came a picture of a broad infinity pool, stories high above a metropolitan city, overlooking skyscrapers and a stunning sunset. “Wow,” I said, out loud. “I want to swim there!”

I usually don’t pay much for accommodation. Actually, I sleep in hostels all the time. Dormitory rooms for under 20 EUR. In Asia, way under 20 EUR. So the Marina Bay Sands Hotel – the bastards who own the pool and only allow hotel guests inside of it – is not just a little treat. It’s about to cost more than all my other lodgings on this month long trip COMBINED! It’s ridiculous. It’s hideously overpriced. It’s madness. And I’ve tried to tell myself that a dip in a pool surely isn’t worth such horrendous amounts of money, but I failed in convincing myself. Apparently, my brain isn’t going to compromise. It wants the pool, at all costs. So I’ll be going there. With my dirty backpack and my H&M clothes. Storing cheap convenience store snacks in the mini bar. Wading around in a worn out bikini. And I’ll be rocking that infinity pool like a pirate.

– “Who would ever spend so much on a hotel room?”
– “Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore.”
It’s gonna go down like a gem.

Previously in Coming 2016: So, what’s up?


So, what’s up?

Well first of all: I didn’t want to go to Indonesia. I wanted to go to more foreign, “dangerous” places. I wanted to go to Iran. India. Egypt. To trot into the unknown.

I didn’t dare. I got called names. One guy asked me if I got smashed on the head with a hammer. So yeah… I chickened out, consoling myself by telling myself: “Travel is no fun if you have to do it scared.” I’m still not convinced that I was scared enough to let the dream go. But heck, I don’t want to die. So I decided to book a trip to the land of great tsunami’s and active volcanoes instead. 2016 will be the year of Indonesia. Or, that is, Java and Bali. It will also be the year in which I’ll finally see Singapore and – if my plane doesn’t go missing – Kuala Lumpur, too.

Asia’s up. And it’s even down: below the equator. I plan on completing a few of my long standing wishes: hike above 3000 meter, travel to the Southern part of the earth, swim in that undoubtedly over-rated infinity pool. I plan on splurging on luxurious beach resorts and mini-yoga retreats. I plan on getting ripped off by taxi drivers. On drooling at street food and UNESCO temples. On backpacking in loose fitting clothes.

I’m still not sure if I want to go to Indonesia. But I’ve booked my flights and even my lodgings. I’ve booked them waaaay too far ahead. Is that a good or a bad sign?

2016 is coming. kindly reminds me: 158 days, until my trip to Singapore. Let’s go!

Meet Spot
By the way: meet Spot, my new friend. He’s helping me plan this next trip and might join me on the adventure 🙂

Next in Coming 2016: Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore