Stare at the girl walking in front of you off the plane, her knees pointing in at each other so severely her legs give a tiny buckle with each step. Think about how miserable she must have been at gym as a child, hiding in the locker room crying, but now here she was before you, half gorgeous (her beauty undermined by a touch of flat face and a snout of a nose), her hips swaying majestically.
Try not to stare at the old man’s light blue dyed hair and mustache when he approaches you in the airport Coffee Bean, being bullishly American and asking the barista if they sell coffee from Sumatra, where, incidentally, they just make the best coffee, didn’t you know, and it’s such a pity no one there drinks coffee so they don’t even know how good they have it. Also, where all have you been, young lad, anywhere else besides Singapore? Tell him you’ve just come from Indonesia and let him get distracted by buying his Sumatran coffee while you slip away.
Take the subway to EW11. Notice the abundance of women nodding off at 5:45am. Wonder if the equal numbers of each gender on your train indicates that Singapore’s workforce is more evenly shared than most nations or if women just have jobs that require an earlier start on average. Or, if you just got an uncommon blend.
Walk 1km to the Golden Mile Tower.
Check in at the bus station. Nod knowingly when the lady tells you to come back in two hours. Fill out the immigration form with a borrowed blue pen in the waiting room while watching a dubbed Indian soap.
Grab two pork bau – $1.20 Sing a pop. Wash down with a Coke. It’ll keep you awake till your bus starts loading.
Idly wonder where your parents are in their journey, then realize they’re in Singapore too, just in a transit hotel. They’ll be halfway across the Pacific by the time you eventually arrive, even though you’re only going two inches up the globe your dad keeps in his classroom.
Smile at the sight of an old Liverpool 15 Berger jersey on a middle aged man with two pudgy daughters.
Snap a picture for the large Indian family outside the bus, half of which are climbing on. Ponder how Indian women can expose so much midriff without it being the least bit sexual.
Smirk when, on the bridge into Malaysia, the shoulder becomes another lane. Not even Singapore is immune to the Asian shotgun approach to queues. Smirk again as, frustrated by the traffic, the driver, a skinny man with his pant legss pulled up over his knees, lights up a menthal, carefully exhaling out his window and away from the no smoking sign.
Notice the sweat trickling freely down your side as you stand for over an hour in an immigration “line” which would perhaps more accurately be described as a huddle. Curse the local schools for all ending on the same day, filling all flights and trains as well as causing the traffic.
Fall asleep listening to the Handsome Furs on headphones.
Feel the bus slow down in your sleep as it pulls over for gas in Ipoh. Note how weird it is that you can sense the loss of momentum even when unconscious.
Try to figure out if there’s a time change throwing your calculations (that a 10 hour bus ride took 13) off.
Hop in the back of the taxi and give the driver directions to your apartment. Flat out refuse when he tries to up the price once you’ve arrived, and demand full change back. Say thank you as you slam his door.