Check in, meet, National Museum

Christine and I woke up and made it to breakfast.  They had toast, cereal, plain egg omelets, fried rice, chicken sausage (hot dogs), baked beans and orange juice.  I had about two servings of each.  Let’s just say that by the time I fell asleep a few hours earlier, my stomach was already growling.  After that, we went back up to the room to pack up and figure out what we were going to do for the day.  We decided that we were going to go and try to at least leave our luggage at the hotel we’re staying at during the program, the Gallery Hotel, and then head out to get some lunch in the area and check in when we could (around 2pm).  We even thought of maybe going to the National Museum.  So we packed up and checked out of the Roberston Quay (pronounced “key”) Hotel and walked over to the Gallery Hotel which wasn’t far down along the river.

When we got there we found out that we could actually check in right then, which was nice.  We were showed to each of our rooms.  Let’s just say that they’re quite a few steps up from where we stayed the night before.  But then again, so is the price.  Luckily, it’s a shared room and Contact Singapore is covering half the bill.  We then went down to the lounge where there was wireless internet in order to further figure out what we were going to do for the day and perhaps catch up on emails/facebook/twitter, etc.  I was actually able to contact Marian by texting her phone from AIM.  She was still visiting with my family at my sister’s place for my nephew’s 1st birthday party.  I was even able to get on Skype and talk to my parents and see my sister, nephews and brother-in-law.  It was nice and it made the distance between us a lot smaller.  That, and I was able to tell my nephew “Happy Birthday” on his birthday (even though it was a day later for me).

After that, Christine and I ran into a girl that looked familiar from the Facebook group for Experience@Singapore.  Her name is Elyse and she said she’d join us for lunch.  So then we spent some time walking around to try and find a place to eat.  We ended up going into a building that was kind of like a mini mall inside.  There were a few places to eat, but they were a little pricey.  We ended up eating at an Italian restaurant in the building.  It was lame choice, being our first real meal in Singapore, but the price was right and we didn’t want to spend more time looking for food.  The food was good and it was a nice way to break the ice and talk about possible places to go see for the rest of the day.

After eating, we headed out to try and find our way to the National Museum of Singapore.  We stopped in a 7 Eleven to ask for directions and the girl working there told us that we should catch a bus down the road because it was at least a 30 minute walk from there.  So we went looking for the bus stop and didn’t find it.  Instead, we figured out where we were on the map and decided to just walk there anyway.  It was a better choice because then we could see the city by foot instead of from inside a bus.  That, and we’d probably waste a lot of time figuring out the bus system..

It was a nice walk to the museum and by the time we got there it was really nice to be in air conditioning again.  We walked around for a little bit and then got in line to get tickets to the permanent exhibit on the history of Singapore.  It was a great exhibit.  Everything was well thought out and planned.  The lighting was interesting to me because it was a dark setting and everything was lit nicely.  Also, it seemed like it got gradually lighter as you went through the exhibit, which seemed to fit the history of the country.  We each had an audio guide through the whole exhibit and it’s the best system I’ve used.  It synced up with videos and was very easy to use and follow along.  It took us most of the afternoon to walk through the whole thing and by the end I definitely knew a lot more about Singapore.  After that exhibit we looked at a few others before visiting the gift shop and heading out.  Going to see the National Museum was a suggestion by my friend Hilary and I’m really glad I went.

On the way back, we stopped at the DigitalLife Mall which had several floors of gadgets and tech gear (right up my alley, haha).  After window shopping for a while, we went up to the food court to grab some dinner.  There were a lot of food options, none of which I really knew what they were!  I ended up getting something that was basically ramen noodles with slices of pork in it.  It was pretty tasty.

By the time we left the building it was already getting dark.  We decided to follow the river back to our hotel which is located further down off of it.  It ended up being a great idea because everything was lit up nicely which made for some great photo opportunities.  It was really pretty and there were still places that had Christmas lights and decorations up.  I took a lot of pictures, of course but it was just a warm up for when I’m planning on going out another night for some real night photography..

When we got back to the hotel we decided to call it a night since we’d spent most of the day walking around and weren’t still 100% acclimated to the time change.  I went back to the hotel and finished writing up the previous blog post for the day before so that I didn’t get too far behind (especially with my memory).  The way things are going, I think I’ll be a day behind from here on out.

Also, when I got back to the hotel, my roommate still hadn’t arrived yet.  I went to bed around midnight and he finally came in close to 2am.  Apparently his flight got delayed 10 hours in Beijing due to a bad snow storm.  I helped him figure out the lights in the room (it’s a weird, yet cool, system that includes a “master panel” in between our beds) and then went back to bed.  We officially met in the morning.  His name is Donggun Yoo, but he goes by “Travis.”  He just finished his undergrad in computer science at the University of Michigan and seems pretty cool.

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