Warning: selfies overlord! Err… I mean overload.
Before I start, I’d like to apolize to Feliks, Willy and Jobay for calling ourselves “alay-alay”. Hahaha. I’d like to reveal the story of our first time experience traveling abroad. As a child, I always dream of how it would feel like to go abroad, to travel, to see places, to meet new people, to experience. Not coming from a wealthy family, I wonder if someday I will be able to do that. At a younger age, even in a dream, I always fail to go abroad. I always wake up right before boarding the airplane. Haha.
It all started when we were freshmen in the university. I met Feliks who share the same dream with me in a class in the 2nd semester, that was to travel abroad and see places and meeting new people. At the end of the 2nd semester, we made our first backpacking trip for 2 weeks in 3 countries. It was me, Feliks, Willy, and Jobay that ended up going. We asked some other friends as well but due to some problems we ended up going with just the four of us. It was almost canceled also due to there were no other female participant except me. My Dad were totally against the idea of letting his daughter to travel abroad with 3 other guys. However, after some convincing argument and a good track record of being a responsible young adult, I managed to get the permission. *smirk
Our first random trip was to go to Singapore. It was back in 2008. For backpackers from Indonesia, Singapore is the best place to start. It is a developed country, the transportation is good, the food is great, and the tourist spots are close to each other, in short it is a travel friendly country. But, no offence, I think I will get bored if I have to spend more than 3 days in Singapore because it’s so small.
There was this annoying tax regulation in Indonesia in which we have to pay a sum of money to the government if we want to go abroad (fortunately they have erased the regulation already). The amount was about 100 USD if you go through the immigration in Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, and half of that amount if we exit from the immigration in Batam island (Indonesia’s closest island to Singapore). So, from Jakarta off we go to Batam by plane and from there by Ferry to Singapore. I was expecting that the Ferry would look like the one the use to connect Java island and Bali island in which you can board lots of people and vechiles. But it was not. It’s actually ‘people only’ Ferry. There was no fuel smell like I used to smell when I board a Ferry from Java island to Bali island, and we got to sit comfortably in the Ferry. The ride was nice. We sat together wearing the same T-shirt that we got after contributing in one of the campus’ event, and talked, and munched snacks, and talked loudly. Pardon us for being corny, since it was our first trip abroad. *facepalm
Upon arriving in Singapore, the immigration officer asked me in Indonesian about the lenght of time I would spend there. I started to blab in Indonesian and she said she didn’t understand and let me go. What the… oh well nevermind. Feliks’ friend picked us up at the harbor and became our guide for the day. Her name was Felicia.
First thing I noticed while we were catching the MRT was that Singaporeans walked so fast! It was like everyone was in a rush to reach their destinations. However everything was still in order. People queue to get in the MRT and that’s the difference with Indonesian. “Singapore is a fine city”, often I find this writting in people’s T-shirt. Maybe that’s why Singaporeans obey the rules? Felicia told us that if you spit on the road you will get fined, if you litter you will get fined, if you cross the street while you are not supposed to, the driver won’t hesitate to hit you with their car and you are the one who will get fined (since it’s your fault). I wish Indonesian could copy this good attitude, obeying the rules. Simple stuffs like that, that can make people’s live easier actually.
After putting our backpack in the accomodation we booked (guest what did Felix booked for our accomodation in Singapore? An apartment close to Orchard road! Yes, an apartment! And each of us only pay 25 SGD for one night. What sorcery was that!?), Felicia took us to Orchard road to get lunch. There, we also meet up with my friend who happened to be studying an undergraduate program in Singapore (Hey Hant, how are ya?).
We only have a day in Singapore so after lunch we went straight to Singapore’s famous city/country’s(?) landmark, the Merlion. There were 2 Merlions. The huge one by the bay, and the small one in the park behind the huge one. I didn’t know about this. We took pictures there. After that, we explore the adjacent areas and took pictures here and there.
Felicia took us to Geylang district to have durian! It was good. After that we went to Mustafa, a-24-hours-7-days-a-week-no-holiday-deparment store, in Little India. I was astonished with this department store. It provided anything I could think of. I went mad there and ended up buying a lot of souvenirs (mostly snacks and chocolates) for my friends and family. And it was just the first day of our adventure! Dang! (npa).
P.S. : Alay-alay is a pop culture phenomenon. It is a stereotype describing something “tacky” and “cheesy”. The Alay culture phenomena spans over a wide array of styles in music, dress, and messaging or in our case behaviour (haha). But really I didn’t mean anything by calling ourselves alay-alay. Looking back at these old photos made me think how silly we were back then. 🙂
P.S.S.: Today is my birthday! So yes, it’s kinda a birthday gift for myself. Hehe. Thank you for reading. 🙂