Thanks to budget airlines I was able to pick up cheap tickets to Singapore from Perth (Western Australia). I had never been there before and it was a short trip from there to Malaysia so it also gave me chance to visit family after a few days of exploring. This did not turn out to be a good trip…
Since budget airlines don’t feed you (I’ve now learnt to take sandwiches on board) the first thing I wanted to do once out of customs was get food. I lined up at the first place I saw and checked to see how much money I had on me. I remember the exact feeling I had when I discovered my wallet was missing. I figured I had dropped it on the plane so I quickly went to the airline counter to see if they had found it on their clean up. After 10 minutes of listening to them ramble back and forth on their walkie talkies, they told me that it was not on the plane and that I must have lost it between getting off the aero plane and walking through customs. I think a more likely story is that the flight attendant found and pocketed it, or I was pick pocketed.
Either way, this left me with no money or credit/debit cards. I rank Singapore airport as one of the best in the world, so it was no issue to find a bank. Unfortunately they couldn’t do anything, even though I had all the numbers of my cards. I was directed to catch a taxi to town to sort it out. With no money this was not an option. I decided to just wait in hunger for my connecting flight to Malaysia which was in 30 hours. I spent most of this on the free internet outside Burger King. Not the best place to be on an empty stomach, but I remembered Tom Hanks in the the movie Terminal and so dined on crackers.
Once in Borneo I went straight to my Step-Mums house and sat on the phone for 8 hours. 5 days later a money transfer from the bank arrived. It was lucky I had family in Malaysia I would have been sleeping on the street with nothing to eat.
After my visit to Sabah and now ‘cashed’ up I went back to Singapore where my return flight to Perth was from. I had it planned to spend a couple of days there. As soon as I stepped out of the airport the thick, humid air hit me. It was the same as in Malaysia but I guess I subconsciously thought that since it was known to be the cleanest city in the world then the air would be clean and fresh. I took a deep breathe and headed for accommodation. The train system in Singapore is very good and I had no problem finding my hotel.
I stayed in an area called Geylang. It seemed ordinary enough. A few noodle shops, general stores etc. I wasn’t feeling to great so I arrived at my hotel and slept it off until dinner time. When I awoke however, the quaint little ‘suburb’ seemed to have turned into one big Brothel. There were no families eating in therestaurantsat this time of day. After a 10 minute stroll and about 10 offers of women for hire, I found a place that wasn’t overpopulated by gangsters and ordered.
As it turns out, Singaporeans are very friendly. A middle aged man took a chair next to me and an array of dishes came out. ‘Please, help me eat’ he said to me. We ate and talked until about half way through and then decided that we would never get through it. He then invited some of the local ladies of the night (who were justhangingaround talking to the patrons, I’m guessing, trying to pick up some work’) to come and join us. He would say something to them inChinese, they would laugh, then he would talk to me inEnglish, usually something about his wife and kids. I guess by telling me about his family it made him feel OKabout flirting with the prostitutes. I saw nothing wrong with it, he was having a good time.
The girls helped finish the food, then he tipped them for helping us eat. I went back to my hotel early that night as I was still feeling unwell. I only spent another 2 days in Singapore but it was more than enough. In fact, it was very similar to my home town, Perth. Only cheaper, humid and Asian. I was still crook by the time I got home so went to a doctor. I ended up having some kind of fungal disease. It went away after a few more days but wasn’t pleasant.