When The Parents Came

So the parents came and gone last weekend. How time flies by fast. These last few nights I've been thinking that it was just exactly last week that my parents were here and here I am, alone again :( Felt pretty sad. It's sad being an orphan, an orphan with no family, though I can count myself lucky that it's not my actual situation. It's just the way my life is in Singapore. Anyway, it's not just the parents who came. The eve before they supposed to arrive, I got a text from mom saying that my cousins and uncle are coming too. It was a last minute thing on their part. Apparently they'll be taking the same flight in but they're leaving a day earlier. I was pretty stoked about it. That kinda changed things a bit, because I was wondering if we were going to hang out and such. As their trip progressed, I thought there's a reason why my planning for my parents' trip didn't feel like it's taking a more solid form; it's all because they were to be changed with the presence of my cousins and uncle. So here you go, some of the things we did / highlights.

Went to pick them all up at the airport. It was agreed that they would all come to my room first and see what it's like. So we all piled into the van and I squeezed them all into my room. Suddenly that room became rather small with 6 adults in it. They didn't stay long and I don't know if they had seen enough to have any comments about it. The good thing about this rushed visit was my mom didn't have time to inspect everything and so no criticism was to be had *score!* Then we split ways, my cousins and uncle went to their hotel and I took mom and dad to the hotel I booked for them, Hotel Rendezvous, which I quite like. We could get to the room earlier than check in time. The room was very cold when we entered and I think throughout the whole stay, my parents felt it was too cold for their liking. The beds were very high and I think I would love sleeping there.

Then we went to Marina Bay Sands to regroup again with the cousins. Had lunch at the food court, darn I hate this place. I think it's totally overpriced and I wonder if there aren't just enough seats for a food court that size. It's always a struggle to get a seat, arrrgh!!! After lunch, the cousin decided we should go to Gardens by the Bay first. It was so weird. I thought mom would love this place and would like to stay pretty long, but we kinda moved through things pretty fast. So that was a disappointment for me. The display in the flower dome was in relation to Singapore National Day and Hari Raya, so a lot of red and white (even in the decorative ketupat), but I don't think it was very spectacular.

Didn't take many pictures there. It's interesting that I have been there many times, but there are still things that I didn't realize was there, like this cute lion.

There were also many decorations like this, which made me us feel so Betawi. Betawi is the native inhabitants of Jakarta. Those being red and white kinda make them perfect to celebrate Indonesia too, since Indonesian flag is red and white. By the day, today is our independence day. So let me say it here, Happy Independence Day Indonesia! I love you :)

After that, we made our way back to Marina Bay Sands. Spotted Vanness Wu on the way. Pretty funny, I was staring at him because I thought he was who he was, but I wasn't that sure because he's skinnier than I thought he would be, maybe tv really makes you look fatter. My other impression of him is that he's so white! My God! Anyway my cousin was walking behind me and after he passed, my cousin exclaimed loudly that it's him. I was surprised that my cousin didn't stop him for a picture. There were some pretty girls with him. A quick google just now, showed that he's indeed in town last week. Apparently he applied for marriage application last week on Singapore National Day to the Singaporean girlfriend who must be one of the girls I saw. Well, all the best for him :)

The family then proceeded to the Marina Bay Sands Casino and goodness me, the queue was pretty long in the 2 entrances that we saw. There were a lot of blue collar workers from South Asia there and I thought it's a shame that they're there. They do not earn a lot and I heard many stories about how they had to raise a lot of money to get employment outside their countries and there they were trying their luck with their very little earning. It's a shame because I think the odds of them winning is much smaller than them losing. So anyway, the family queued up and I just waited there :( There's no way I would pay the S$100 levy that I have to pay. Settled with my parents that if they're ready to go, they would text me. I proceeded to explore the sides of Marina Bay Sands which were rather quiet and didn't have many people.

My parents in the end came out after around 1 hour plus in the casino. They didn't play, they just saw my uncle play. From their description, it seemed the place is very big and pretty awful with many people smoking and no seats. As I was waiting at the exit, looking in, I was terribly curious about what it's like inside there and felt how bad it was that I could not just go in. Felt like I was some underage kid having to wait outside. Anyway, asked the parents what they would want to do next, if they would want to go to the ArtScience Museum to see the mummy exhibition. My dad asked if they could see actual mummy. I said yes. So we went in. First part was a short 3D movie in english about how the scientists managed to find out information about the mummy without unwrapping him. Both parents don't speak english so I wondered if it was boring for them. Dad could read chinese, but sadly no chinese subtitle :( I don't think the exhibition was extremely interesting, maybe I was just tired. Oh, one thing to note, the cashier got me 3 tickets under the Singaporean / Permanent Resident price which was cheaper even though I only showed my one ID card. Anyway, there's no actual mummy to be seen, just the casket that houses the mummy which I did wonder if it's the real thing or a replicate. If it's the real thing, I wonder if the actual mummy is really inside it. So I kinda feel disappointed for dad. I wonder if he was disappointed. That also made me think about how fortunate I was to be able to see an actual mummy in the Vatican museum. We did learn many things there, like how they prepared the body to be mummified and how they stored the different organs to different animal themed urns.

After that, I asked the parents if they want to see the water and light show at 8, which I haven't seen before. They said, okay. So we waited outside for quite some time. I took some pictures while waiting.

I didn't know where it was going to be exactly. In the end, I found out we were seated at the side. It was rather windy which perhaps made me rather sick the next day. Side seating is not the best seat, but I still think it was pretty interesting. The water fountain part wasn't that amazing, the lighting was not bad, and there's bubbles! That was cute.

After that, mum said let's go eat at the food court. I should have said no. The search for seats was horrendous, arrrghh!!! I was kinda losing my temper then. Finally, we managed to get seats after I asked this nice Singaporean family (I think they're Singaporean) who seemed to be finishing dinner, if my parents could seat at the 2 empty seats while I get them food. The uncle nicely said of course. There have been many things said and written about not so nice Singaporeans, so I feel like I need to write about the nice ones :) So anyway, while queuing for noodle for mom, a girl came up to me to say hi. I was rather shocked. She asked me if I remembered her and when she finished her question, luckily I had an answer :D It's Grace, my primary school friend. I felt good that I remembered her and I felt astonished (I always do) that people can recognize me. I think simply because I'm pretty bad at recognizing old friends and for some reason I think I look different, that I think people wouldn't be able to recognize me. It's really nice that she said hi. We only made small talk, so that's kinda a shame, but I did say goodbye to her when I was going to leave.

Since it was already late, it was agreed that I would just tell my parents where to stop and they would walk themselves to the hotel. I forget how we reached this consensus. I know I wanted to ask them, but I think I felt bad about not getting them safely back to the hotel on their first day, so I couldn't remember if I asked. I remembered mom asked me if it's far and floated the idea that they find their way back by themselves since it's pitiful if I have to get off the bus, take them back to the hotel, and wait for my bus again. Seriously I cannot find the correct word in English to say "kasihan" so I used that direct translated word of "pity" though I think that made my sentence rather bad. Anyways, we got on the same bus, I gave them the direction of where they should walk when they stopped and the landmark they could see and then they were off on their own. That decision haunted me the next morning. The next morning, I went to their hotel. I hold one of the card key so I could get in. I was shocked that they're not in the room and the room seemed new and untouched. I was in a state of panic, thinking they didn't make it last night, that something bad had happened. I texted them and called them, but there was no reply. I was thinking if I should text my brother and how he would think I was so bad to let them on their own the night before. Then I went all CSI on the room to see if I could find any sign they were there. I finally saw the tickets for Gardens by the Bay and then I felt better because they did make it back. After some time, they came back. Aah! What a relief! I was laughing while telling them how they scared me and mom said to give them some credit; the hotel was very near from the bus stop last night and of course they could make it alright. It's just, you know, I didn't know if they did, if in between crossing 2 streets something bad had happened. They just walked a bit that morning to look around and housekeeping already came in early to clean up their room, hence the pristine room I walked in. My uncle commented later in the day, of course your parents were already up and about. They usually start their day at 5, so 9 is already pretty late. Yes, point taken.

That day, we started our days with the cousins in Chinatown. The cousins were running late, so mom and dad went to that museum in Chinatown first while I waited for the cousin. Dad said our chinese surnames are not in the list of the family surnames in Singapore. Surprise, surprise! I guess our great grandparents just made it all the way to Indonesia. We had lunch first at this annoying restaurants which was darn slow that I don't want to talk much about it. Then we went to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. I just realized there's a museum here, but since we were already running late, we didn't visit it. Then we're off to Sentosa. Oh my GOD!!! The queue from vivo city to Sentosa was awful. There were lines. I felt like we're queuing to watch a concert. I was feeling so bad that day. I had sneezy runny nose that didn't stop and earlier my tummy was rather upset. The stomach problem was solved by the med that mom had. I bought the med for the runny nose, but that didn't help. Since my stomach was quite empty then, I decided to eat the water chestnuts that we bought, which according to them is called berangan in Indonesian, something new that I learned that day. My cousins started following me too :P Anyway, we made it to Sentosa. The plan was to go to the S.E.A Aquarium first. Again the queue was crazy. I volunteered to queue for the tickets which already had a long queue. Dad did suspect that we should queue for the entrance as well, but I told them maybe it's not bad and that they should go walk around first while I waited. I finally got the tickets and got the group to start queuing for the entrance and it turned out the queue was crazier! It was very long and there's the queue to enter the building and then there's the queue in the building to enter the aquarium. It was horrible being sick there :( We decided to take turns waiting. Some of us would go somewhere else where they could just sit down. I wondered if my uncle really did manage to sleep when I saw him closed his eyes. I stayed in the queue the most because I felt so guilty that we're in this horrible state. Stupid stupid way to spend precious vacation time. Looking back though, going to Sentosa that day was perhaps a bad idea, but being there I did really want my parents to see the aquarium. Perhaps going earlier could have helped a lot, sigh. Overall, I think we spent around 4 hours in the queue and just over 1 hour inside the aquarium.

I did see a glimpse of the dolphins, not much because there were so many people in front of the window. For some reason, I thought the dolphins would be sharing the big aquarium, apparently they don't. When we have finished, it was straight to dinner and too late for everything else. We didn't have time to see Song of the Sea. Dad didn't see much of Sentosa, so that was sad :( Dinner was steamboat which I quite like. I think we were famished that we just dropped everything into the pot and finished dinner in just around half an hour. Then mom and the cousins went to candylicious. Another queue to pay, by that time it was already quite late. Then we went down to the casino. Mom and dad decided that they didn't want to go in, so we parted ways with the cousins and went back to the hotel. This time around I stopped at the same stop as my parents and walked a bit with them until I had to cross the street to go to my bus stop while they just had to walk straight. Long day and I was feeling sicker.

Medicated myself a lot that night and I woke up feeling much better. No more runny nose. Didn't have plan to spend the day with the cousins that day since they would only spend the day shopping and do a last visit to the casino. Took mom and dad to the River Safari and Zoo. It seemed dad was pretty interested to see the panda. They didn't get the chance to see them when they were in Hongkong. I wasn't sure if there would be a long queue. As we got off the bus, the staff asked us to go to the Night Safari section to buy our tickets which was a good choice. There weren't many people there and we got our tickets pretty fast. The kind staff at the counter asked me if I was aware that a substantial portion of the River Safari is not ready yet and I told her I do. Asked if I had to book a time slot to view the panda as I've been told by people, apparently perhaps the hype has gone down a bit that we don't have to do this anymore. Not taking any chances, I decided to go to River Safari first. I kinda like River Safari. I do think that it's perhaps smaller than the zoo and since it costs more, it perhaps does not worth as much as the zoo. However, since it's smaller you don't have to walk a lot and you basically just follow 1 path to see all the exhibitions unlike the zoo which has a lot of different turns. Not to say the zoo is bad, in fact, the zoo is cool that way, however from my last few visits, its vastness and the heat and me being older, made it so tiring for me to see everything and in fact, I may have not seen everything in my last few visits and stupid me always forgot that the ticket includes 1 tram ride, aarrrghh!!! So anyway, back to River Safari. I think it's pretty cool. There was a queue to see the panda, but it wasn't bad and I like its enclosure a lot because it's very very cool (literally). I like to point out to people that this whole panda enclosure costs so much more than our houses, well unless you come from a rich family. For us middle income people, it's strange and ironic that their house is so much more expensive than ours :P which does bring the question of what happen to it when it's time for the panda to go back to China?

Anyway this is the super cute red panda, which looks like a red raccoon, no? I was quite surprised that their enclosure is so open that you kinda can jump into their place and there's this feeling that they're so near, you can just touch them.

I was surprised to see that the 2 pandas are actually separated, meaning they don't share a space. This is Kai Kai, the male one, on his way to his bamboo bed where he was about to lie down lazily, such a good life.

This is Jia Jia, the female one, who was munching away when we're there.

After the river safari, we went to the zoo. Didn't go through everything. We went through some that I thought would be interesting. We stayed awhile at the white tiger enclosure because its feeding time was coming soon. I learned that there are no more white tigers in the wild! How sad is that. It was interesting that when one of the tiger walked around in the pool, the fish would swim behind it. The zookeeper actually fed the fish first before the tigers. I think they fed the tigers chicken. One of them stayed in the water during feeding and the other was on the ground. There was the ooh and aah when the tiger managed to catch the thrown chicken with its mouth.

Lastly, we finally made it to the polar bear enclosure. It's been a long time since I saw it. I actually thought it is moved to the River Safari. Well you kinda can see a bit of it from the River Safari, but to see more of it you have to go to the zoo. Perhaps it's a commercial decision to make sure visitors still visit the zoo. It is perhaps the most unique thing that many other zoos in the world do not have. Surprisingly its enclosure was not as cold as the panda's. When I was there, the bear was lazing lying around in the hot sun. I guess this bear has adapted to life in the tropics, the only life it knows. It did go down for a swim, but I can't help thinking since it has adapted to life in the tropics, it wouldn't be able to survive in the cold arctic. I also wondered if it's lonely :(

We ended that day not so late. The parents decided to not see the cousins again before they left that evening. So we headed back to the hotel where I hung out and chatted with them. I love that we were just able to chat like we would do in our living room when I'm home. Of course the topic of me being single was being brought up. Felt kinda good when my dad said I could live wherever I want, but I have to get married. The "wherever I want" is the comforting part if you cannot guess. I chose a japanese tv and we talked about my trip and then about how I saw Dewi Soekarno every evening on tv when I was there. Mom asked me how she looks now. According to mom she was so gorgeous back in the days. She was surprised that I know her. To which, I can only sigh, and said I have knowledge in my brain. The extent of which, I told them sometime it's hard to talk to people about stuff since they don't know the things I know. I don't know if it made her understand me more, but she did make a comment that yes I do have to find someone who can match me. We talked about family, about other stuff, and as I left them that night, I felt really really sad that they're leaving the next day. Again, I cannot reiterate this enough, sometime it is very very hard, living without a family. Though I have to say too that there are many moments in this trip that they annoyed me so much as I know that I must have annoyed them too, that I was being very rude to them :(

The next day was their last day. I arrived early at their hotel. It was a cloudy morning with a drizzle. Decided to proceed with the plan to the Botanical Garden to see the National Orchid Garden. I think it was an enjoyable visit for them. We were amused that since dad is now considered a senior, he only had to pay 1 dollar for the ticket. Mom was saying, so I'd be eligible next year. Saw some of the orchids which were named after the famous people, though there weren't as many as when I first and last visited them years ago. This is the orchid for Prince William and his wife, Catherine. I thought it's very beautiful.

It was next to the little yellow orchids for Ibu Tien Soeharto who was the wife of our President Soeharto. She got it in 1974. Very interesting, I wasn't even born yet at that time. Mom loved seeing the orchids and she commented how my uncle and my late uncle would have enjoyed this so much. I commented that the clouds and drizzle did make it a cooler visit. Then it was off to Orchard for lunch and some shopping. We still had time, so dad asked why don't we go to the National Museum I'd been mentioning about. So off we went. I chose the Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein exhibition. It's heartwarming seeing dad getting out the glasses to read the Chinese descriptions. They're pretty amused that these old pieces could be in such a good shape. There were some interesting paintings, like this one of the blind leading the blind.

After which, we spent a bit of time in the exhibition of the old cinemas in Singapore. They enjoyed watching the short clip of the chinese movies, while I found the short clip of the malay movies to be very amusing. I think there was P. Ramlee singing in the clip that I watched and I like the song very much.

After that, mom decided to call it the day and head to the airport. She would rather be in the airport early. Decided to take the bus, because the bus stop is just outside the hotel and they only had 1 luggage. The bus was full in the beginning, but halfway in the trip we did manage to sit. It was pretty fast taking the bus, less than 1 hour. Nothing interesting to report here, they checked in and I watched them until they cleared immigration, all the while secretly wiping the forming tears, hoping noone would notice and trying to keep myself together, to not just cry. I felt really sad :'( When they're out of the view, I went to queue for the taxi and it was a long crazy queue and so the visit was over and Sunday was ending and normal life commenced again on Monday.

:) eKa @ 5:02:00 PM •

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