Friday, March 9, 2007

Singapore Slingin

Hello friends,

I have just returned from my first solo adventure to the beautiful country of Singapore, and it was unforgettable! I continue to stretch my comfort zone while, at the same time, learn how to be happy when I'm alone with myown thoughts and my camera with a self-timer!!

When I first arrived in the country of the orchid, I was quickly reminded
what 95 degrees and humid feels like - so the jeans and dress-casual shirts
that I brought were not going to cut it, especially in the no AC hostel from
HELL that I was staying in. So what did the product of many years in a
Marriott do??... Well, I went to a tourist alley about bought one sun dress
and one skirt to mix and match my shirts with for about US$25 dollars
(pricey coming from HK)! I really thought that I could "rough it" for 3
nights in a dorm-style hostel with a smelly, snoring man in the bunk below
me... but I drew the line when, in the morning, I found a cockroach in my backpack!! No better way to keep you out and about than living in a gross hole that you want to spend as little time sleeping in as possible!

The first day was spent going camera-happy with my newly discovered timer. The locals would offer to take my picture when they saw me setting the camera up, but where would be the fun if I let them?? After all, some of the pictures and the attempted pictures left me laughing so hard at myself, that I swear people thought I was crazy. It was great! This behavior continued, especially when I spent the next morning in the National Orchid and Botanical Gardens. How incredibly beautiful and ultimately humorous, as you will see from some of the pics. Apparently, after my many adventures in Asia, I have learned to find humor in everything to keep my journeys light-hearted. That's when I always have the most fun, anyway!

Let's fast-forward to my posh evening at the Raffles Hotel, the home of the famous Singapore Sling with the US$2,000 per night rooms, and the classy old men with adorably cheesy pick-up lines. No joke, I had one Australian man (who told me that he had a daughter who was MY age) give me flowers. Thenthere was the bartender who made me a rose out of a strawberry. HA! What an ego boost!! To think, in LA these would have been derogatory cat calls! I love Singapore!

However, it was on the third day that the best part of my trip, definitely in my Top 5 Asia Experiences, occurred on a small island called Sentosa just off the coast of Singapore. I took the "first ever" glass bottom cable car ride across a stretch of ocean to the island where I then proceeded to take a heart-racing ski lift across the island to Dolphin Lagoon - let's just say that the fear of heights is conquered! There, I was determined to stretch out my comfort zone and swim with the dolphins. So imagine my disappointment when I approached the ticket office and they told me that it was not possible. Impossible?! Not in a Korneluk's vocabulary!! So I bought a ticket to watch the dolphin show and a bag of kettle corn to drown my sorrows in and took a seat close to the front. Toward the end of the show, the announcer called for two volunteers to "get almost completely wet." Before I could stop myself, my hand shot in the air and began lightly flailing. HE PICKED ME! First he had me make an idiot of myself by trying to holla-hoop. Just when I began to think that I signed up for the wrong event, he ushered me over to the water where one of the pink endangered Indo-Pacific dolphins was playing. OH MY GOD, IT WAS SOOO COOL!! I got to pet it, and then it splashed water at me and then to make nice, it kissed me on the cheek! So FRIGGIN AMAZING! I really wish you could have been there.

As it turns out... I, Cheryl Korneluk, actually like animals (now family, don't disown me!). I think it's unbelievable that I had the opportunity to interact with a creature from Southeast Asia that could be extinct by the time that I have grandchildren (hopefully not!). What a life experience!
You know what's next, right? I want to ride and elephant when I visit Thailand next weekend, and after that I will go on a quest to hug a panda! Seriously, as I type, I am still smiling about the dolphin awesomeness that happened 3 days ago. Sigh...