The tour is actually starting! Sunday, we said our parents and friends farewell in Enschede. We had a bus ride for three hours, of which at least one hour was traffic jam. At Schiphol, we waved for the last time some parents, brothers and sisters and friends goodbye. Before we got on the plane, we quickly got some food at the McDonalds. Meike and Wybren ran the moving walkway backwards to kill some time and get some exercise before sitting 12 hours straight in airplane seats (which we will tell later about). At half past 8 we could finally board the plane and find our places. Everyone was immediately excited about all the fun games the onboard entertainment system had. Some people started learning to count to 10 in Indonesian while others started a poker tournament, congratulations with the win Wouter!
At half past 11 we got a delicious but salty dinner, which was a quite late, but we had survived on our fast food meals. The rest of the flight some spent time on trying to sleep, which was very difficult in those airplane seats, especially for the long participants, right Wybren and Sander? Others watched some movies and series on the entertainment system. Right before the landing, we got some breakfast and could enjoy the view on Malaysia. After we landed on time, we could finally stretch our legs and get used to the hot temperatures: 33+ degrees, clear blue skies and way too humid.
When we had gotten our luggage everyone made a run to get prepaid sim cards. Our group was marked as “risky” apparently and had to get all bags scanned. Meike was even asked if she carried pepper spray because this is prohibited by law in Singapore. Luckily, she didn’t. Then our super happy tour guide showed up and led us to the bus. We walked excitedly by al the big fancy buses only to find out our luggage was going in to the oldest van of the whole country. We were quite doubtful since the mirrors were taped together and the bumper was almost falling off. But hey, it would all be fine right?
With another bus, which was nice and well maintained, we traveled along all the big skyscrapers to our hotel. Fun fact, the highway to the airport can be used as emergency airstrip by moving all the moveable plant barriers to the sides. We were dropped a few hundred meters away from the hotel since the bus could not reach the last part of the hill. When we walked away, the tour guide had some bad news to tell: the van with our luggage had broken down… Which could have been expected. The luggage finally arrived after one-hour delay. The hotel is fine and has air-conditioning in all rooms!
Time for dinner. The committee had reserved at the restaurant that was fourth best rated by Trip Advisor and indeed the food was delicious! Everyone enjoyed some beer (which is quite expensive here in Singapore) and Indian curries. After dinner the group divided in several groups with their own plans for the evening and night. Some went to China town and a light show at the Gardens by the Bay. Others went visited multiple pubs and enjoyed a curious dancing contest. Let’s hope everyone makes to breakfast in time…