Life’s Oddities

‘Twas another muted weekend that flew by, characterized by spontaneous bouts of frenzied worrying as to whether my life is headed. It’s so hard to believe in oneself sometimes, what more even in somewhere else. Anyway, I had the opportunity to work at Singapore Polytechnic Student Service Centre where I was allocated to the department that settled the administrative stuffs such as EZ-Link cards and handling the hotline.

First week of work was surprisingly fun as I got to work alongside with people who have a great sense of humour and regardless of being in a female dominated workplace; the ladies were really nice and understanding. When I was handling calls from customers, I would receive the strangest enquiries and complaints that will really push your buttons. However, it’s still fun working there and the people never fail to cheer me up. Besides handling the distribution of EZ-Link cards, I decided to help Char out at the financial department which is hectic right now as students are pouring in at the last minute to submit their documents. The aspect of my job is pretty simple which is to further verify that the documents submitted are present. Looking through the profiles of these students, it gets pretty heart wrenching as you read their profile as you’ve got like parents or divorced/widowed individuals barely scraping by while trying their utmost best to support their child’s education. God, it just makes you want to just approve their entry and move onto the next. Just helping out to do this makes everything so worth it.

Another colleague of mine, Margret, will be leaving soon as she has to study for her A levels. Hence, all of us decided to bring her out for dinner at Manhattan Fish Market where we also celebrated Char’s Birthday at the same time.

Well, there you have it.

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The comings and goings of my monotonous life.

Sunguests & Beaches (Bali Escapade with friends)

It’s been more than a week since I’ve been back from Bali, and I must still say I miss that place to bits!

Day 1

After an excruciatingly long journey from Gold Coast, Australia back to Singapore, I had to head straight back home to pack my stuff before embarking on another crazy fun-filled trip to Bali the next day in the early afternoon. It actually took me quite a while to realise that the number of clothes that I would need for a 6 day trip would only require 4 sets of clothes (Max).

One of the perks of bringing a carry-on luggage is that it makes travelling to the airport via bus really convenient and when I reached Terminal 3, Sal was already there with her Dad with a humongous luggage (I kid) which made me doubt myself for a moment if I had actually ‘underpacked’ for this trip but that feeling of uncertainty was soon over the moment Mark arrived with his luggage *Phew*. After the rest of the group arrived, we proceeded to check in our luggage and receive our plane tickets. I was located right beside the window seat together with Satya and Mark in the same row. The trip was finally happening!

During the flight, Mark decided to sit with Moodyz (Melvin) as he had the entire row to himself, leaving me and Satya alone *Grins*. I was really surprised when I realized that the flight would take a mere 2 hours to travel from Singapore to our destination and during that short period time, I had the opportunity to catch up with Satya and we talked throughout the entire journey. As the plane descended, the sudden change in pressure resulted in some ear discomfort which persisted even after it landed but eventually went away by itself (Self-correcting – That’s some CChem shit right there HAHAHA).

The airport (In my opinion) felt similar to the Kathmandu (Nepal) airport as we all had to walk down a flight of stairs before taking a bus to the arrival terminal. We were all expecting to meet our driver who we booked from the hotel but had to wait for a good 10 minutes before realizing that the guy most probably wasn’t here. Mark and I then proceeded to the information counter to inform them of our predicament before they made an announcement for the ‘driver’ to come and pick us up from there. Thank goodness one of the taxi drivers was kind enough to assist us by lending us his phone to call the hotel and it was at that moment when we realized that the hotel staff misread the request and we had to take a cab to the hotel ourselves *Smacks head*

On a side note though, I lent sal my brother’s Bali SIM card which apparently got stuck in her phone (Really really sorry) but fortunately, Mark was able to expertly use his hairpin to slide the card out. When we reached the hotel, Rachel (Mother’s first student when she was 19 years old), who took the trouble to meet us, greeted us the hotel. We wasted no time that night and headed for dinner at a rather peculiar place where we gorged on authentic tasting food at not-so-authentic prices, according to Rachel.

We then made our way to Carrefour to stock up on cup noodles, nuts, milk, bread and sardines for Balinese ‘Day of Silence’  that is otherwise known as Nyepi. I soon learned from our driver that the day before Nyepi, the locals would make statues that resembled demons and parade the streets while making lots of noise in hopes of scaring the spirits away from the island. Hence, on the day of Nyepi, when the spirits come back, the people would stay at home (With the exception of cops and medical officers) and the streets would be deserted so that the spirits would realise that there are no inhabitants on the island and leave. If you decide to leave the premises and talk a walk, the local police will not hesitate to arrest you (Only for that day). 

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Day 2

We all woke up at around 7.30 am for breakfast provided by the hotel before meeting up with our driver at 9 am. Had the opportunity to have an engaging conversation with him and found out that he is actually married for 20 years and has a 13 year old kid. He has resigned himself to the role of a driver for 7 years as he was once in charge of a small business company. I have the utmost respect for the guy as he would do anything to financially support his kid through collage by taking up odd jobs during the off-peak/rainy season (Jan – April) and support his wife at the same time as she has severe diabetes (Can no longer walk). This is probably one of the reasons why I want to work in the healthcare field. To really help those people in abject poverty get back on their feet and to improve the lives of people one way or another. These are the things that makes me happy (In some weird and special way).

When we reached the beach, we were immediately approached by the guy in charge of the water sports activity. Presented with a wide selection of choices, we decided to do the Flying Fish, Banana Boat and Parasailing. We were first divided into 2 groups (1st: Me, Mark, Mel, Sal and Nel) (2nd: Victor, Kahbing, Melvin and Satya). The first group decided to get wet so we chose to experience how it was like to fall off the banana boat (Twice).

The Banana boat is simply a boat (Shaped like a banana) that is attached to a speed boat which will of course give you one hell of a ride. The serves and jerks the banana boat made was simply exhilarating and when we were instructed to fall off the boat, Mark and I still held onto the handles before letting go. The Flying Fish is something similar except that there will be 2 passengers lying flat on the boat which will then take off into the air.

Lunch was definitely a unique experience for all of us (Especially for Kahbing). Served in a buffet – like manner, we could choose the dishes that we wanted and reject the rest. Unfortunately for us (Non-gastronomic adventurers), we assumed that every dish that looked like chicken was actually chicken. So when Kahbing decided to try this particular dish, she was initially very taken aback by how squishy it was and told us about her apprehensions about it. We all made several educated guesses on what it could be before asking our driver to deliver the final verdict. Lo and behold, it was actually cow’s brain.

We all made our way to potato head which is something like a really attas club with a spectacular view of the beach. When we arrived, we stripped away our clothes and dived inside the pool. While we were chilling, Nelson and I happened to overhear a group of Caucasian guys and made several guesses on their nationalities based on their accents (Scottish, English and Australian). It just so happened that while I was taking a panoramic group photo for the peeps, they came over with their glasses of chilled beer and offered to help us take a photo while in an inebriated state. The result of the photo is hilarious.

Some of us headed to the beach to take some selfies before heading back. The initial plan was to actually go for the night market but unfortunately due to some festivities taking place, the market was closed early for that day. When we reached back to our hotel, a calamity infestation had occured while we were gone. The place was filled with lacoste (YES LACOSTE OF ALL THINGS). The horror was unimaginable. The Wi-Fi was hoarded by those people and we had to go through the trouble of re-entering the username and password (Guest Sunguest Guest Sunguest). Those 2 words will forever be imprinted on my mind if someone every asks about my experience in Bali.

 

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Day 3

Waking up in the wee hours of the morning, we all prepped ourselves for an outing at Ubud which was like a 1/1.5 hour drive from our hotel. We first made a pit stop at a dubious Ralph Lauren Outlet store where the prices were still skyhigh and way beyond most of our budget (Mel made a purchase though) before heading to the Bali Zoo. Similar to the one in Brisbane, the Zoo allowed us to have a more personal interaction with the animals (Especially the deer and rabbits). We were first greeted with a lion that kept on roaming near the glass as if was trained to do exactly that to allow tourists to get a better shot.

We made our way to a restaurant where we decided to sit on mats and have our lunch. Situated right next to the wheat fields, the peace and serenity that surrounds this place which was complimented by the tranquil atmosphere was a calming experience for me. The food served for lunch was exquisite especially the duck. When we reached the market, we were able to get some really good stuffs (A pair of shades for myself and a penis shaped bottle opener for Mario’s upcoming birthday) before heading back to our hotel.

The initial plan was to go to a spa but due to budget constraints, it was scrapped. Hence, we decided to make our way to carrefour to do some shopping. I decided split up with the group to try and find a nearby legitimate massage parlour. After asking people around and checking out the prices, I finally settled on one which was located 10 minutes away from our hotel. The ladies at the reception counter were kind enough to give a 30% discount after I decided on the Balinese Message. I subsequently escorted to the shower area where I changed  into my Kimono. Since it was my virgin experience at a message parlour, it was pretty awkward at first during the body message as I had no idea that they would message my glutes but I got over that soon enough. When the whole thing ended, my entire body was lathered in message oil which was felt slightly uncomfortable.

 

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Day 4

As we made our way Kintamani to see the volcano, I got a small history lesson from our driver and I learnt that the volcano actually erupted 20 years ago and was still active to this day. He suggested that if we were to ever come back to Bali, we should wake up as early as 4am to trek up the volcano to catch the sunrise. What made it more appealing was that there was a hot springs located at the volcano and it is apparently quite popular with the tourists. When we reached the place, we began taking group shots and selfies with the volcano before exploring kintamani. The place was filled with touters who kept on convincing us to buy their products.

We then had buffet for our lunch at a restaurant that had a scenic view of the volcano before heading to the rice paddy fields (That was closed).

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Day 5

– Movie marathon + Swimming –

 

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Day 6

Finally visited the rooftop bar where I had some local beer (Bintang) before heading back to the airport.

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Records at late (Getaway trip to Brisbane)

And so it begins…

On yet another new blog. The last time I created a blog was eons ago (Okay that’s a tad bit of an exaggeration as it was actually 5 years back) but it sort of failed as it was a particularly stressful time for me and hence, trying to maintain that blog was pretty tough.

The reason why I felt propelled to create a serious blog is only because all of my friends have amazingly crafted blogs that are filled with such fascinating tales of adventure and encounters in their life. So I guess it is finally time to jump on the bandwagon and do something about it.To be honest, it took me hours to figure out which Blog skin to use as those kiddish ones that scream pink and psychedelic filled the website page.

Because my life hasn’t been interesting in the past couple of days, I decided to kick start this blog by posting about my experiences in Brisbane, Australia. Now my sister (Lyds)suggested that I visit her in Australia during the Ester holidays (Which is in May) as she would be able to give me a tour around Brisbane when the airline, Scoot, was giving out their generous discounts during Valentine’s Day. Then came the biggest screw up of 2014 because while I was booking my flight during a talk by some guest speaker that Dr Lai invited for our Forensic Science class , I accidentally booked the flight for April instead of May *Smacks head*.

This realization only dawned on me when I was having lunch after a study session at the library (During the study week before our final exams). Hell broke loose in my mind and I was panicking because my friends already made plans to fly to Bali during that period of time and this mistake would really screw everything up. But thank goodness everything was settled in the end as Mel was able to convince everyone to postpone the trip to a later date.

HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF

– Fast forward after Final Year Paper –

Day 1

The flight to Gold Coast, Australia took me around 8 hours and when I finally reached the airport, I had to search for the guy from Travel Link (Booked beforehand) who then took me to my sister’s room mates place in Brisbane to crash. Unfortunately for me, Lyds wasn’t able to join me as she still had to attend school and could only hang out with me on Saturday.

Did some sightseeing at Brisbane river where I was able to take some decent shots. My first impression of Brisbane was that it was a nice (But slightly boring) place with cooler weather and friendlier people, but way more expensive stuff especially when eating out. However, the good thing about it is that you pay for what you get as the portions served are simply enormous and best of all, the GSTs are already included in the price which means you don’t have to go all Singaporean and whip out your calculator to calculate it.

I then went to explore Toowong village before heading to the supermarket to shop for some groceries which comprised of mainly chicken breasts and rice, but i guess everything tastes good when you’re hungry.

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The view of Brisbane River

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Had Sloppy Joe’s at a cafe near Toowong Village

Day 2

It was finally time to visit the CBD area and here in Brisbane, the transportation system is inferior as compared to the one in Singapore (So try to be a bit more appreciative haha) as there is an agonizingly long waiting time. The buses here are really punctual and Jun Yung, who warned me about it, was right (As always). Hence, you will need to plan your trip beforehand unless you don’t mind missing the bus and waiting for the next one which can be as long as 1 hour.

Now it was time to hunt for the renowned Noosa Chocolate Factor that sells a wide variety of chocolate (Duh), delicious chocolate mocha and even coffee. One of my personal favourite is the Dark Chocolate Rocky Road that is made up of a mixture of Dark Chocolate and Marshmallows.

Did a lot of walking and also visited the Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower which was pretty cool as I was able to go up. There was also a museum which had an unusual display of Kangaroo’s testicles and not forgetting the history behind the Brisbane River.

In the evening, I then headed to Mt.Coo-tha where I trekked with lyd’s friend and when we reached the peak, it offered us a breathtaking and scenic view of the city.

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City hall

 

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Noosa Chocolate Factory

 

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They even have an ‘authentic’ Singapore restaurant at the CBD area

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The view of Brisbane Botanical Gardens

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Trekking up Mt.Coo-tha

 

 

 

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The view at Mt.Coo-Tha

 

Day 3

Brisbane has been beautiful so far especially the City Botanical Gardens which offers a breathtaking and gorgeous scenery. Here is Australia, the students lived a really relaxed life as they would actually take the time to lie down on the grass and just do absolutely nothing or maybe read a book and couples mollycoddling up to each other .This is probably one of the things that makes Australia to appealing.

I then checked out QUT (Queensland University of Technology) which was located right next to the Botanic Gardens and the campus there was pretty cool.

Day 4

Visited the National History Museum where I got to see some really awesome dinosaur fossils before heading over to the Art gallery. Abstract art really isn’t my thing. Did a bit of walking around, felt peckish so I dropped by a cafe where they served really good and cheap lattes (The lattes sold in Singapore are slightly overpriced) before heading downtown for more window shopping.

I then headed over to kangaroo point,where most outdoor rock climbers go, to join Lyd’s(My sis) friend, Mario, to scale the wall. In the end, Mario trashed my ass (Being the experienced climber that he is) as it took me quite a while to climb all the way to the top. Because I didn’t really have much experience climbing, I had to rely a lot on my arm strength which is a strict No No as the key is actually in your legs.

Stopped by Nandos to have chicken for dinner, by the time it was already dark.

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Day 5

The Saturday morning was spent at the west end market which was relatively near the CBD area where Lyds and I did some shopping. The place was simply gorgeous as it is situated in a park and the Brisbane River was just right beside the market which makes it really convenient for people to purchase their snacks and sit by the river banks. I bought myself a bottle of ginger beer and a hot dog and later a cup of yogurt (Best thing I’ve tested so far).

The 2hr journey to glasshouse mountain proceeded and when we reached the place, we saw people from all walks of life attempting to summit Mt.Ngungun. The trail was relatively easy as compared to Bukit Timah Hill which is considerably steeper but it was still challenging nonetheless.

We then drove to Sunshine Coast where we spent around an hour at the beach before meeting up with Daniel to crash at his place

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A cup full of diabetes

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Chilling’ at Nandos

 

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West End Market

 

 

 

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Day 6

Skydiving. Probably one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done this year. When we finally reached the skydiving office, I waited anxiously with bated breath before I was instructed to meet my personal instructor. Mother was originally opposed to the idea of me skydiving at first because 2 people died from a fatal skydiving related incident that was actually pretty near the place that I was going to skydive.

However after much persuasion, mother finally gave in.While I was wearing the harness, , the instructor briefed us on the necessary instructions. I was accompanied by 2 Australians and one English Woman.

The rush of adrenaline together with shock and fear paralyzed me momentarily when we both jumped out of the plane. Free fall lasted about 3 minutes as the jump was 14 000 ft high. Your ears will be deafened by the pressure as you fall and your face will have this slightly painful tingling sensation.

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Day 7 

Visited the Lone Pines Koala Sanctuary which is way better than the Singapore Zoo as it allowed us to a personal interaction with the animals (Without having to pay) such as the kangaroos and Koalas. The sheep shearing show was really an eye opening experience for me.

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Huge thanks to these gals for letting me crash at their place