When Australian Reality hit with a dollop of Hawker food
12th June 2012
Waking up, I realised this would be my last day in SE Asia. Shock and horror! Where have the last 2 months and a half gone? Brushing my teeth and staring in the mirror, I noticed some changes. Suddenly, I was leaner, more wise and more content with the world. Then someone farted in the cubicle behind me. Well that was the end to my musings! But rather get all reflective, here I am in Singapore on the last day of SE Asia, there’s loads of things to be doing!
After spending the morning re confirming my flights as it seemed the changeover in Darwin descended into Chaos and finally uploading my photos on the amazing ness that is Dropbox (watch this space for reviews!), I headed out of the hostel to meet with Mark, who I spent time with at MBS and Raffles Hotel yesterday, to grab some food at one of the hawker centres I keep hearing about. What?! I hear you cry out, surely there’s lots of things to do in Singapore rather than go to a lowly hawker centre? Au contraire my friend, it’s exactly the thing to do. SE Asia for me has been massively shaped what I ate in the last 2 months. Actually, it’s been a revelation. I love south Asian food and I’m sure you would know after all the many posts you have read me proclaiming that the food I had that day was the best ever, only to be said day after day after day again!
Plus it’s cheap…I have exceeded my budget for the last month of SE Asia thanks to Vietnam! But it was totally worth it.
So finally finding a hawker centre in Little India, we sat down and waited for the magic to happen. We liked the look of an Indian place so I ordered some chicken tandoori…with some garlic naan bread….some rice…maybe some poppadoms….maybe some mango chutney…and etc. there was a lot of food. Plus I had a mango milkshake. All came to the measly cost of $7 which is £3.50. Well, I don’t know what to say to that except..
Give me a B…Give me an A…Give me a R….Give me a G…Give me an A…..ok ok, this will take far too long. BARGAIN! After spending far too much on beer the night before, both of us were stuffing our faces aplenty.
Then we left the hawker centre and realised we didn’t pay for the milkshakes. We ran. I suspect that Mark will continue to have a bad influence on me after doing a runner from the Traders Hotel of Kuala Lumpur and attempting to do so from the MBS building of Singapore. He says he’s going to come to Australia soon and we might meet up…shall we run from other establishments?
With only hours left til my tearful departure from SE Asia, Mark and I checked out the harbour of Singapore…there’s nothing to see actually. Except a sign telling us not to swim.
So feeling very tired from the stifling humidity and heat, we went to what we did best, go to a Starbucks, order coffee and play some card games. I kept coughing as well. I hoped it was something to do with the air here…it sounded ominous.
Giving a cheerful farewell at the MRT station to Mark with the promise of meeting up soon, I headed back to the hostel. Shouldering my backpack, I waved goodbye at the fit receptionist and headed onto the metro headed to the airport. Wow, so this was to be my last transport in SE Asia…so clean and so efficient. I stepped out in the majestic Singapore Chiangi Airport and finding my flight desk, I booked in and whispered a goodbye to my bag …will it make it to Australia? And that’s when the reality struck me…I was off to Australia. All this time I was focussing on leaving SE Asia and I didn’t really think about Australia and what waited for me.
As I wandered through the shoppers delight of Singapore Airport whilst wondering why I haven’t been through the security checkpoint, I decided to ring my mum through Skype.
Suddenly, I felt like I have been travelling a long time. Not seeing my family for the last few months suddenly weighed its toll on me as I approached the end of my Asian leg of my RTW travel. But it was all good. I hadn’t had chance to speak to my mum for a long time as many times I would be forced to hang up because I needed to go and do something. But speaking for approx an hour did me a world of good and gave me the determination to do my Australian leg.
Then it was my call for the gate. Here I was. Ready to leave the Asian wonders for the Australian outback. This time there’s security at the gate. Boarding on, I took my seat. Looking around, I was amazed to see so many white people in one form of transport and I became apprehensive. My world was about to change yet again. English turned to be the number 1 language, the Australian accent twanged across the cabin, a friendly ‘g’day hollered at me from the row next to me. I was struck at the friendliness in English!
Sitting back as the plane rolled across the runaway to fly over the Indonesian islands and the Torres Strait to Darwin, I thought profoundly…