I wanted to come to Singapore for only one week, but I ended up staying for a total of 46 days. How did this happen? It was a combination of things. First of all I loved the hostel that I stayed in, called Happy Snail Hostel. While not the most modern or shiny, it had a great vibe and I met a lot of interesting people. I was also introduced by someone to some private poker games, which allowed me to get income after 14 months of seeing my bank balance go down everyday. I was also feeling tired from 5 weeks of hectic traveling in Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau, and was looking to take a break. I stayed in a 4-bed dorm but on many nights I had the entire room to myself.
A typical day would see me wake up late between 10 or 11am (more on this later). I would usually eat the free breakfast at the hostel, and procrastinate a bit on the web. An guy from Argentina called German was working in the hostel, and I spent countless of hours chatting with him. He had written a book about seduction, and we had very interesting conversation about dating, women, mistakes made by men, and our past experiences, among other random topics. I also saw and interacted with countless of hostel guests who came and went.
When I felt hungry I would go downstairs to the hawker center and buy some food. Food is pretty cheap in Singapore, a simple meal usually costs about 2.50 USD. Alcohol, however, is extremely expensive, with most cocktails costing upwards of 15 USD.
I would then do some writing for this blog, edit pictures, or do some reading. Time would fly quickly and before I knew it, it was already 6pm. This was when I would usually start playing poker. Some nights I would return “early” at around 1am, other nights I wouldn’t go back to the hostel until 4-5am.
This was what I did most of my days in Singapore. I rarely went out to sightsee. There were many people in the hostel who in 3 days had seem more than me in a month and a half. But I was OK with that. There was also this horrible jungle fire in Sumatra that covered the Singapore with heavy haze for most of my time there. The truth is that Singapore wasn’t an interesting tourist destination for me. It is very comfortable though, and it reminded me a lot of home back in Los Angeles. The streets and sidewalks are wide. There are trees on the sidewalks unlike most Asian cities I had visited. Everything is clean and orderly, and it doesn’t feel too crowded. The big difference would be the weather. While LA is very dry, Singapore is hot and humid all year.
In the end, I don’t know if taking such long breaks are a good idea. I know I can’t travel very fast because I would burn out on such a long trip, but I also know that it’s very easy to get too comfortable and complacent, especially when one doesn’t have long-term travel plans, and one doesn’t have a time limit. Could this time had been better spent visiting other places? I don’t know. This was one of my biggest dilemmas (I know, first world problems) as I approached my year and a half of travel.