Sunday, March 7, 2010


So this past week we were given another week off, called "Reading Week", which was for the purpose of reading up on materials before midterms. However, given that the only midterm that I had was in the in-between week, I didn't have anything to read, so initially the plan was to just hang around Hong Kong with Elliott, Ben, and the few others who weren't going to Thailand. However, the first morning of reading week I woke up at 10:30am and by noon I was bored, so I decided there was no way I could stay here for a week with very very few exchange students here. I called up Ben and Divyan to see if they'd be up for doing something, and we went through several options, including train to Shanghai, bus to Vietnam, or flying to Singapore. After going through these options, we decided to fly to Singapore on Tiger Airways (an Asian budget airline) for about $115US Monday evening. Elliott was debating whether to come along, but he decided to head to Taiwan instead, as he'd found some very cheap airfare there. So it was then decided that we'd fly into Singapore Monday night and return to Hong Kong Saturday night, with no plans in between. Some of the highlights of the trip include:

1) Taking a Mercedes cab from the airport while listening to soothing opera music and driving through a beautiful boulevard that had trees and greenery all over the place
2) Seeing the spot where Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed to found Singapore, where there is a large statue today
3) Seeing the world's largest fountain, the Fountain of Wealth
4) Having a Singapore Sling and a chicken curry at the Raffles Hotel
5) Having the best Indian food of my life at the Banana Leaf Apolo
6) Going to the top of the KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur,a huge observation tower which gave great views of the city
7) Seeing the Petronas Towers, the buildings that overtook the Sears Tower as the world's tallest building in 1998
8) Seeing monkeys in the middle of a city of nearly 2 million people, out in the wild
9) Going on a night safari in Singapore, which included seeing lions, hyenas, leopards, etc., in the wild
10) Seeing the colonial city of Melaka, which was (and still is) a strategic port on the Strait of Melaka
11) Staying in one of the most outstanding backpacker hostels I've ever seen (The Inn Crowd, Little India, Singapore. If you're ever in the area, definitely check it out, dorm beds for about $14US)

Other than that, I'm now back in HK. Last night I got back to Lee Hysan at about 10:25pm, and was told that the floor bike ride around HK was starting at 10:30, so I literally set down my bag and went outside with the rest of the floor. We biked from about 11:00pm until about 5:00am, all around Hong Kong Island. We went out to the eastern part of the island, and in all biked maybe 25-30km. It started raining around 3:00am, but it wasn't too bad. It's definitely a great way to see a city, as you see a totally different part of it late at night, and bikes allow you to go slow enough to observe properly but fast enough to cover a good bit of ground. This week should be a pretty slow one, with no major tests or assignments due. No plans at the moment but we'll see how that progresses.

Interesting fact of the day: Everything in Singapore results in a $1,000SN (about $700US) fine. This includes bike riding in restricted areas, spitting, littering, etc. Additionally drug trafficking is mandatory death penalty

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