“Rent a Car” and foreign exchange counters were the first things welcoming us as we walked out of the Jakarta airport in Indonesia. Ignoring the desperate calls of the car company representatives, we decided to first exchange our money. At the time (May 2011), CAD$1 would buy you around Indonesian Rs. 8,500. I exchanged about $100 and left the forex shop with a fat wallet full of rupiahs. It was hard to imagine where I’d spend 85,000 during the next two weeks in Indonesia. But I would soon learn that with water bottles priced at Rs.2,000 each, and a good meal easily costing Rs.20,000, I would spend it all plus much more. But hey it was still super cheap, so say the least.
I started writing my Singapore journal thinking that it would be one my shortest blogposts. We barely spent three days there, I thought. As was the case in Hong Kong, the rising mercury had had no mercy on us. It was hot as hell, I recalled, which had prevented me from truly enjoying myself. But as I began to write, I realized how so very wrong I was! Everything I had seen in that short span of time came back to me: there was a museum shaped like a huge lotus flower… a theatre molded into a giant durian… a long bridge curving like the DNA Helix… a luxurious ship chilling on the heads of three tall buildings… and a jumbo-sized wheel looking over everything like a boss! This, my friends, is just a simplified description of the magnificence of downtown Singapore only. Wait till you hear what else makes this city-state a true modern Asian attraction.
Stepping out of the HK airport was no different than walking into a heated oven, if you can try to imagine how that would feel. It was like 40 degrees or something and I really hoped that it was one of those rare extreme heat alert days. Carrying heavy backpacks and drenched in sweat, my friends and I got on the airport bus which was to take us to our hostel in the midst of Hong Kong. Although the weather situation didn’t improve over the next couple of days, HK did manage to impress me right from the very first bus ride. The high buildings and the narrow roads bustling with swarms of pedestrians crossing through intersections gave an interesting New York City-like feel. English signs and an English-speaking public greeted us everywhere, which felt wonderful after the two linguistically challenged weeks we spent in Beijing and Xi’an. I was able to check Facebook and email on my iPod Touch as the bus offered free wifi. And it wasn’t just airport buses but all public buses that provided this service!
Beijing has a lot to offer a tourist. To me, some of the sights are much more memorable than others because of the crazy situations I got into… Read on and check out my video! 😀
This post is continued from Beijing through my Eyes (Part 1 of 2).
Love at First Sight – The Great Wall of China
What does a “Wonder of the World” feel like? I think I know after seeing this one. From the second I caught a glimpse of it, I knew it was going to be stunning. But it was much more than that. It connects past civilizations with the present in a way that is impossible to describe in words. Truly a masterpiece! Its breath taking scenery and never ending length has left me with a memory to last forever. Oh Great Wall, how could I not fall for you?
Characters of the Story: F.L.A.T.S.A.M.
Each Letter stands for one person. One of the A’s is myself =)
I was lucky to have the window seat and had my first view of China as we finally approached land after flying over the Pacific for hours. Saying that we were super duper excited is an understatement.
Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time. ~ Bill Gates
What’s the best way to celebrate the end of 17 years of school? To go on a memorable vacation with your friends, of course! And that’s exactly what I’m doing. (I know… I can’t get over the fact that I’m done!)