our morning tour was led by a lady named You. that is how it is spelled according to this Miss You. and as she jokingly said, “you can call me by my first name (which i forgot), or by my last name You. so you can just say, Hey You!” it was her poor attempt at humor, but i laughed nonetheless coz i just felt like laughing and she looked funny trying to make us, the tourists, laugh. it was a beautiful and warm morning in Singapore. all the more reason to have a big smile on ones face, be happy, and just laugh along. the sun was up, shining as it usually does in the mornings. a very welcome scene compared to the gloomy and wet evening that soaked up the Lion City just the night before when i first stepped on the small island republic. a perfect day for seeing the sights!
we signed up for the tour to Sentosa Island, Singapore’s Island Resort. Luxury Tours. the sticker that we were made to stick on our shirts prominently declared in bold maroon letters. nevermind how much we paid for this tour. it was a vacation after all. our tour guide, Miss You, gave out the usual instructions of what to expect during the tour, our destinations, and not to get lost. she started out as the cheery, i -will-make-you-laugh kind of tourist guide. well most of the time she was. she had a kind face. she was very courteous. she gave out suggestions. she answered our questions well. she was fluent in both english and mandarin (i think). i give her an A- as a tourist guide. the minus being that as we were about to finish on the first leg of the tour (underwater world), she broke out into this half-screaming, irritable lady whose Aunt Irma is visiting for the month. the bus was late for a few minutes. say 10-15. we were running a little late for the dolphin show at Palawan Beach. the blue line bus dispatcher, or whatever they call that guy, didn’t tell her that the bus will be late. when she learned this her cheery face was transformed into a frown, with eyebrows raised and the tips meeting at the temple, faster than bumblebee can transform from robot into a yellow camaro! LOLz! words were flying out from her mouth so fast. like an automatic rifle spitting out dozens of rounds in mere seconds. the poor guy couldn’t say anything. he just nodded and slightly bowed down his head. and when Miss You was still not satisfied, she asked the guy, “what is your name, what is your name?!” all the guy could do was point at his ID. she moved in closer (and i thought she was gonna bite his head off) to make out the name written on the ID, and wrote it down on her notepad. we were half-shocked and half-amused at this incident. an unusual show that made up for the boring wait for the blue line bus.
sting rays. these little suckers are quite friendly. yes, coz i did pet one on the head. they’re like cats. but the sharks.. . no thanks!
in the afternoon, we went to Jurong Bird Park. our tour guide wasn’t dragon lady anymore. it was this older guy. unfortunately i can’t remember his name. he looked like he was frowning all the time, like some grumpy old dude. he had this deep, raspy voice. pot-bellied. looked chinese. i was like, “oh great, look at our guide. he looks like he hasn’t eaten the whole day.” but, lo, grumpy grandpa turned out to be a clown instead. and he wasn’t even trying. he made quips about the tour, and singapore in general, that were informative and funny at the same time. there were just a few of us on this tour. so we took the more compact mode of transportation. a van. grandpa drove like crazy coz he was trying to beat the time.. . the bird show was starting in a few minutes. (or maybe his arthritis was at it that day so he kept on flooring the pedal due to the pain. hehehe.. .) and he kept on saying, “don’t lose your tickets. this will be your only pass anywhere, for the bird shows, the tram rides.. .”
there was also something grandpa said that really struck me. coz you know what i find weird in singapore? i didn’t see any policemen around. and so one of the american couples asked grandpa, “are you just gonna leave the van open?” he then told us that singapore is so safe, the people are all good, well disciplined and all that.. . in fact, “you can just leave your car open and nobody is gonna steal it or take anything inside it. that’s how safe Singapore is,” grandpa bragged. and i believed him. later on i would find out that on that same weekend 2 people were murdered in Singapore. one was a male, a DJ by profession. murdered just a few feet from his condominium. the other was an old lady. who was found lying face down outside the building where she lived. safe huh?! one can never be too confident.
tux town! those are real penguins. if they’re not swimming in the cold water, they just stand up and do nothing. their chins are usually up, as if saying, “hey bill, i’m proud to be a penguin! yeah!”