Almost 2 weeks in…

Les and Maya at the front of the second level of the double decker public bus.

Les and Maya at the front of the second level of the double decker public bus.

Hello friends and family. Wanted to briefly update you on the current journey. Here’s me ‘n Maya “driving” the bus. Actually, many of the public transit buses here in singapore are double deckers, so if you get on and go up the stairs, and if the front seat is free, you could sit yourself down there and watch the city fly by, feeling like the captain of the ship.

Little known facts (by me at least) that I’ve learned about Singapore. I better tell them to you before they become common place and easy in my eyes. So far they have caught me by surprise or at least I have found them different than North American cultures.
Buses:  public transit is all we do here. But if you wait at a bus stop, don’t forget to flag the bus down! They won’t stop for you unless you signal them. Did not know that until someone told us.

Then to pay, you fill a transit card with money (like a gift card). Then you must tap it on the scanner when you enter the bus. It beeps very loudly. You are then charged for how long you ride based on some complicated system. The longer you ride, the more you pay. Here’s the fun part. You have to tap out before leaving the bus too, or you are charged the full amount on your card! On each tap, the electronic scanner shows you the amount remaining on your card. It’s so cool and efficient. I guess that’s how they manage to get 6 million people around the city.

OBikes:  no, that’s not a typo, obikes are everywhere. They are public bikes for anyone’s use. Simply download the app, find a bike. seriously they’re randomly parked in just about every public space.  Once you’ve scanned the code on the bike, it auto unlocks for you and you can just, ride away. To anywhere you like, for as long as you like. Just so long as you drop it off in a public space, you can use it! Brilliant!  So we’ve had our fun with these, picking them up whenever we’re just plain old tired of walking in the heat and we ride. Best part is, it’s only 50 cents every 15 minutes, but the first 15 is free!  Driving to school costs us nothing.

Hawkers, aka, “no more cooking”

We can all eat supper for about $5 a head, great ethnic food, no buying groceries, no prep, no cooking time. It’s just too easy ( and probably realistically not that healthy). And I’m sure it’ll get old, but not yet. I’ll let you know when it happens

Right hand drive

I’m not sure how I missed this rather glaring detail about Singapore. Maybe I thought we’d never be driving so I just

Dean and Maya in front of the MerLion in Singapore

Dean and Maya in front of the MerLion in Singapore

overlooked it. However,  the country is right hand drive, just like England, Thailand and Australia. This could not be more complicated than when you’re trying to cross the street and you’re looking the wrong way for oncoming  traffic. Yikes. But it’s worse for walking. I’ve been living in a world where I”stay right” for nearly 50 years, so trying to move to the left hand side of the sidewalk to walk forward is just plain awkward. Next time you’re on an escalator going up, just stay on the lh side and see the havoc it causes. That’s me in the opposite!

Fun

Well that’s all I can post right now. Hopefully more soon. (Please excuse the errors as I’m having to us iPhone to publish. )

Author: Lesley Weiss

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Dean and Lesley, and Maya too: It’s good to hear that you have landed, and are starting to figure out the culture. Take lots of pics of the unusual because, as you said, they won’t seem strange soon. BTW, thanks for the scavenger hunt we’ve been on. New items keep popping up on an almost hourly basis. Thanks also for the gift, but we know a CBC student who may need it more than we do. Blessings, Jim

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  2. Thanks for the update. Love seeing Singapore through your eyes. More pics!

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