Well, last night was a bit of a giggle. We had three new people in the room (well, by “we” I mean Esther as I wasn’t actually in the room any more) – a Swiss guy, a chap from Ireland and Claire from Cardiff. After we’d been chatting for a while, the irish lad (sorry, fella – I told you I’d forget your name!) said “I’m sure I know you from somewhere… were you at Melanka’s?”
Then he twigged. I was the fruitcake he’d seen wandering the streets wearing nowt but a “Don’t Panic” towel because the lock on my dorm door had broken and I couldn’t get into my room. Of all the ways to be recognised…
We went out as a group to the Vic where some 18 year-old bouncer wannabe insisted on ID-ing everyone, myself included. Which is pretty pathetic, but that’s what happens when you combine the role of a bouncer with someone who’s barely pushing puberty. The Irish guy had to walk back to the hostel for his passport – thankfully we weren’t staying at Gecko’s or he’d have had a 30-plus minute round trip.
After a quick meal, Esther, myself and our Swiss roomie (sorry – her Swiss roomie) went to Shennanigans for a quick drink. I was starting to nod off again, so after a schooner of Coopers I borrowed the neutral Swiss key and walked back to the Cav where I finally cleared my entire email backlog. Apologies to those who received around 40 “joke” emails over the last two days…
My bus ticket was for 00:35 with a warning to “be ready five minutes before departure”. Dot on 00:30, I was stood outside when a girl asked me if I was waiting for the bus. “It’s just left,” she told me.
Fortunately, after leaving, the driver checked his manifest and realised he was one passenger short so circled the block. He said it was a good job for me he’d checked. I think he’d be best to look at my past history of complaints against companies that fail to do their job properly. Nevertheless, I got to the airport around 1am and checkin was already open.
Bags deposited, I clambered up the escalator, got ripped off $2.50 for a semi-chilled Mars Bar and fell asleep in a seat. I awoke to notice that everyone around me had vanished and panicked somewhat. At Darwin airport, the International lounge is through a separate door that they only open around an hour before flight departures – and close 30 minutes later. I didn’t realise this and almost got locked out!
I made it, though, and managed to wangle three seats on the plane, so I caught up on a couple of hours’ sleep.
I’m now safe in the hostel and just trying to figure out what to do with my day – after I’ve bought some new shoes!
Later that same day…
Shoes have now been purchased with the help of a nice shop assistant who, like most Singaporeans, supports Liverpool. We had a good natter and I walked off with some cheap trainers for $22 (around £6.50). I also bought the Mephloquin I need to help prevent me getting malaria in India. All I have to do now is remember to take one tablet on the same day each week.
I’ve swapped out my Oz SIM card from my phone as it doesn’t work here at all. The UK one is back in, so if you know the number and feel the need to text then feel free. I’ll likely reply by email or by text via Skype when I get the chance. If you want the number for some reason – ask! I won’t be buying a SIM for Singapore or Malaysia as I simply won’t be here long enough, though I might sort myself out with one in India.
It’s looking like I won’t be going diving on the east coast now. A guy I was talking to over breakfast was heading that way very recently and met hoardes of backpackers coming back the other way with tales of boats being moored and dive shops closing for the monsoon season. Bugger.
I’m also not going for one of my planned walks this afternoon. The main aim is to enjoy the plod and get some good photographs. Thing is, the heavens just opened and I don’t have a waterproof camera case. When it rains here, it rains. Impressive thunder as well. Not so much “peels” as “attempts to replicate Ragnarok“. It’s like being back in Hanoi, just with a more convenient 7-11.
Instead, I’ve picked up a ticket to see Casino Royale. It’s pretty typical of Oz and NZ that despite being many times larger, they lag behind when it comes to film releases to a dinky little Island off the coast of Malaysia. Plus, the tickets here are only $7 (around £2.30).
While loafing around in the bar (well, what else is one to do while waiting to a film to start, especially when the beer’s cheaper earlier in the evening than later) I noticed something I missed about Singapore – the way the cultures mix so much. Watching someone of Asian appearance (that’s Asian as in “from Asia” as opposed to the rather illogical British definition) open their mouth and an accent come out that would be more at home somewhere halfway between Delhi and Kingston.
Well, Casino Sony (or Ericsson Royale, you know – the new James Vaio film) is pretty good though it does go on a bit. We missed the first few minutes (I don’t think there were any adverts) but I’ll catch them when I buy the DVD. As you may have gathered, the product placement is as rife as ever. At least he’s firmly back in the seat of an Aston Martin (after starting off in a flipping Ford Megane or something – seriously, it had a Ford badge but looked like a Megane). The starting chase scene is very impressive, the story quite dark and it’s pretty violent for a PG.
I’ll have to see if the weather holds up before making my plans for tomorrow. Pretty much everything I want to do involves being outside!