In a small country like Singapore you almost think it’s impossible to look for non-touristy or least popular destinations. After an easy train ride, I left the Telok Blangah train station hoping I’d be able to board the bus right away. Right outside there were students happily chatting while drinking Yakult, bottled juice, and water. I look at my watch, it’s almost 10 in the morning. I wonder what school breaks are like in Singapore. I used to go home during lunch in grade school. My parents’ house is about a kilometer from school and we’re not given extra money for lunch so go or go hungry.
About 200 meters from the train station, I can already feel the sweat in my legs. May is never a good time to travel in Singapore. What was I thinking? The Philippines is a close neighboring country, as Southeast Asian countries would most likely experience the same climate. I tilted so I can scratch my right leg then took my hanky from the left pocket of my loose pant then wipe my sweaty, prickly face.
At this point I’m already agitated almost doubting that I board the correct train or even left the right station. Stupid self trying to prove this will go smoothly. Besides the kids outside the train station, the bus station is empty, a scene you would normally see in horror films only this is day time.
Although mass transportation is in Singapore is top-notch, I am looking at bus routes alien to me. I boarded the bus approaching the station and I know exactly I was on the wrong bus because suddenly the streets turns busy. People are on the sidewalk are in a hurry and the streets are familiar again! I know I wasted my time plus the panic starts to kick in because I read last time that it’s going to rain today. No umbrella, no raincoat, no nothing. Perfect!
Two wrong bus stops later I get off and board a bus back to where I was. I am lucky to find a girl waiting for her bus to arrive. She’s most likely in her early 20s. To confirm whether on not I am at the right station I showed her the map on my phone.
“Yes, this is Blangah Station.”
While I sit in a warm concrete chair, I see a bus with a roof painted with orange and body painted with purple and white. On its orange led signage it shows 175 and some other characters I cannot read. I hop on the bus feeling less anxious.
I am guessing the driver is from India, I see several residents in Singapore from various countries including India. As I approached the driver I asked if he is familiar with Henderson Waves. He glances at the map on my phone, looks at me, and bobs his head. Not feeling confident I insist that not being familiar with the area, never been to this area and I need to drop off exactly where the park is. He smiled back and assured me he’ll do stop the bus to where it exactly it should be.
The interior looks clean as I expected it would be. We are head to what seems like a residential area. Trees cast a shadow on the road blocking the mid-day sun. I only see 1 or 2 people on the sidewalk taking their time. I hold on to the metal handle balancing my way to a seat opposite the driver. I shift my gaze at the window letting in the air with a sigh of relief. I brush my hand on against the smooth seat cover feeling satisfied with my achievement so far.
On the opposite row is a lady on her white shirt with a small handbag place properly on her lap. In the middle of the bus is a woman with her headphones on. This is an empty bus except for us three and I seem to be the only passenger unsure of her destination. This is what I get searching for non-touristy areas on the internet. With close to zero blog entries from other travelers and directions only from Singapore’s website getting here is a maze.
A good 20 minutes on the bus the driver stops at an empty bus stop.
“Am I here?”
“This is your stop”
He points at the steep, narrow, concrete stairs across the road.
Finally a destination worth the ride. I get off the bus cross the road look at my rubber slippers “this is one heck of a stair and hopefully my feet survive with this footwear.”