With my friends in Japan we sometimes make playful jokes about the Chinese people. We don’t do it in a spiteful way, but in a way that is similar to saying that the Germans have no humor. We know that there are plenty of exceptions, but we enjoy making fun of stereotypes.
However, I didn’t realize that subconsciously fear was built up in my head from some casual joking over the years. When I discovered that we were flying China Airways, I got a little scared. With the talk about planes missing and going down, my mind went into worry mode.
To my delight, it was one of the best flights I had in a while. I had been flying with budget airlines for the past few years, and this was the first time in ages that we got free drinks (including wine, *happy dance*) and a meal along with the flight.
We arrived in China happy and satisfied, but had one obstacle in our way. My friend ended up having problems because of Visa misunderstandings. With a lot of calls going back and forth in Chinese and face palms for an hour and a half, we finally were on our way and sat down to a cracked, plastic bowl of Kimuchi soup before our connecting flight. We still weren’t sure if it would work out, so there was a lot of thinking and a lot of memo taking until we arrived in Singapore. Quoting my worried friend: It’s not a crime to be stupid.
We were relieved to find that the issue he had was common and wasn’t was serious as it was in China. He decided to travel directly to Thailand which is why he didn’t bother getting a Visa, realizing only later that his baggage would be after Immigration. We parted ways with a hug. I would see him again a week later. Since I was in the area, I wanted to stuff as many countries as I could into my itinerary.
I could not afford much and I decided that after spending a few days in Singapore I would take a bus to Thailand. I didn’t fully comprehend what a 22-hour bus ride would mean because I was only looking at the price. For me, the time wasn’t an issue, but what got me nervous was the insurance slip “For accidental death or permanent disablement”. I would only receive 25,000 US dollars. It did not seem like a lot.
I got to Changi at about 10:30 PM. I helped some new friends search for their bags and got on the MRT. I was lucky because the hostel that I booked just happened to move to a new location: five minutes away from where I would be getting on the bus. The hostel seemed like a match made in heaven.
After walking in circles for hours trying to find it, I finally reached the beautiful Five Stones Hostel at 1:30 in the morning, 3:30 Japan time. My brain was in zombie mode, and I had to work hard to process what the nice man behind the counter was saying.
After taking a hot shower, I changed out of my airplane clothes into my fluffy pajamas. Nothing can compare to the feeling of arriving. The feeling of finally being where you are supposed to be.
This was the second post in the series ST-Bound from my recent trip to Singapore and Thailand. It will be about seven parts so please enjoy the rest. If you are interested, please take a peek at the first one: My Indian Friend, The Salary Man, and Mr. Lebanon