After 7 days in Vancouver.
People here seem to be less friendly when I have a face mask on. 😷
I felt it right from the time I landed. After collecting my luggage and getting out of the restricted zone, I approached the lady at the information counter inquiring about where I could rent mobile wifi. She stared at me in my mask, grimaced and told me I’m out of luck, all the while not smiling.
We were watching the solar eclipse this morning and I had my face mask on because of the crowds (it also doubled up as a UV shield). That was when a man asked me point blank.
“Can I ask you a personal question? Why are you wearing a mask?”
I couldn’t be bothered to mention my medical condition. Instead, I muttered something about the UV rays being strong and I didn’t have sunblock on. He didn’t look convinced. Instead, he kind of sneered and walked away.
It’s so easy to find fellow Pokémon Go players to raid a gym with you, especially at Canada Place or the Convention Centre.
Yes guys, I still play Pokémon Go. #sorrynotsorry
And people here will actually approach one another to raid a gym together.
The excitement is apparent. When other Pokémon Go players spy me (and my cousin) lurking nearby while staring at our mobile phones, they will approach us and ask “are you guys here for Articuno/Moltres/(insert legendary pokemon name here)? Let’s raid this gym together!”
So raid the gym we did.
Eventually, the gym boss will be defeated and it’s time to catch it. Without fail, someone will always say, “all right, good luck guys!”
It was a really nice feeling.
In contrast, people in Singapore (and Hong Kong) will spy a crowd at the Pokémon gym and just silently join in, all without saying a word to one another.
The Canadian pride is strong.
I spy the Canadian flag everywhere.
Hanging outside houses, dangling from cars and yachts. Everywhere.
During my first couple of days there, a woman on a bicycle with an attached trailer passed me. Wrapped around the trailer was a large Canadian flag. I couldn’t stop gaping.
There were shops everywhere selling almost anything you can plant the Canadian flag (or the maple leaf emblem) on. Tourist traps? I’m really not sure. Because I spy several local people wearing them.
But the amount of pride Canadians have in their country is amazing.
Public Transport is insanely expensive.
A one-stop away journey from Burrard Street Station to Waterfront Station cost me $2.20.
Less than five minutes.
My expression when I tapped out at Waterfront Station. –> 😱
Go figure. I’m never complaining about Singapore’s public transport fares every again.
The salmon here is really, really orange.
As if it’s been injected with dye.
I remember having salmon sashimi with my cousin during my first night there and I was gaping open-mouthed at the salmon in front of me, wondering why did the colour look so vivid.
The cousin, amused, told me that the salmon here is redder because it’s fresh from the sea and doesn’t need to be imported.
I was so unused to the colour that my first few bites were tentative. Then I remembered that I was in Vancouver (where I shouldn’t have to worry about tainted food) and proceeded to wolf everything down.
It was a fantastic trip on the whole – excellent weather (which we totally lapped up by spending more than half our time on board on the top deck), free-flow desserts (ooh-la-la) and excellent company.
More on the trip later in a second blog post. Today, I’d like to share about this little impromptu project I was up to while I was on board, which I call #onboardpostitproject.
After boarding the ship, I suddenly became curious about the livelihood of the crew who worked on board. I had some free time in between and thankfully, 3G connection (was still in Singapore’s waters then) so I managed to read up a little online.
Was pretty disheartened to discover about the cramped living conditions (below the waterline, no less) and the long hours put in by the lower-ranked crew (particularly the housekeeping and dining room crew) and began racking my brains about how I could minimally, add a smile to their day while I was on board.
The post-it project came about randomly as I was walking down the long corridors to our stateroom. Initially, I thought of pasting random post-its on my fellow travellers’ doors to say hello. Then, I decided it’d be too creepy. Then, I remembered what I read earlier that day and realized, hey – why not direct some of those cheerful/funny messages at them instead?
Upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur on Day 2 – I began my mission of scouting around for post-it notes and markers. Seached several stationery stores in The Pavilion but to no avail. Daiso eventually came to my rescue when we were at Sungei Wang (another shopping mall).
Back on board the ship later that day, armed with a stack of post-it notes and a packet of markers, I gleefully set about #onboardpostitproject.
Not all the post-its are documented, unfortunately. About 3 of them were left unphotographed because I forgot. And I was “testing the waters” with the first couple of post-its, so I just stuck them on … and scooted off quickly (just in case anyone saw me).
The first target was obviously, our stateroom. I’m pretty sure our housekeeper laughed when he saw this.
The Night Before
Dayna stayed over at my place, where we had a girly sleepover … somewhat. Due to some last minute turn of events at work, I had to tie up loose ends at home until the wee hours of 2am, while leaving Dayna to entertain herself watching dramas on her iPhone (which I still feel bad about until today).
Well, we still managed to cook … somewhat. (I know, this is the second time I am saying ‘somewhat’.) The plan was to prepare garlic butter prawns with pancakes and scrambled eggs, which was what we set out to do, until I realized that we had run out of eggs. (Doh!) No eggs? No sweat. We still had prawns and pancakes.
So we set to work! My pancakes turned out a delightful shade of golden brown. The prawns smelled awesome with the garlic butter sauce. Until mum took one bite out of the prawns and wrinkled her nose.
Apparently, the prawns had gone bad.
We ended up throwing out all the pancakes and the prawns and had to settle with take-outs for dinner. :(
The Big Scare
We got up bright and early on the morning of our trip and left my place with plenty of time to spare. Dayna then decided to phone Cherlynn to ask if she’s on her way … and drama basically unfolded from then.
Basically, the situation was this. We had to reach the travel counter at 6.40am and our bus departs at 7am sharp. Cherlynn was still at home at 6.30am, unpacked and unshowered.
All hell broke loose. Upon arrival at the travel counter, I was close to grovelling at the extremely stunned lady who attended to me, who later told me adamantly that the bus leaves at 7 sharp and that it may not be delayed for any reason, whatsoever. Mum on the other hand, was running from travel agent to travel agent (the building we were in was basically swarming with competing travel agencies), looking for alternative buses to Genting that departed at a later time.
It all seemed bleak until the same lady at the travel counter informed me that Cherlynn could still board the bus at some deserted bus stop near the Singapore-Malaysia checkpoint … if she could get there by 7.30am.
Then came more frantic phone calls, and Dayna and I finally settled ourselves on the bus. But we just couldn’t fully relax until we had our third member with us. (Oh, and my attempt to inform the bus driver that we had to pick our friend at the above-mentioned bus stop resulted in me getting yelled at. Such a friendly driver, I must say.)
Thank goodness for Whatsapp that allowed us to constantly ping our locations to and fro. And finally, at 7.20am, a location update from Cherlynn made us both heave a collective sigh of relief.
Phew! She’s finally there!
Correct location. PHEWWWWW!
She boarded the bus, and we held our squeals until we were safely out of the bus at the Singapore-Malaysia checkpoint. That was when we grabbed one another and let out peals of relieved screams … to the amusement of anyone who witnessed the scene (policemen included).
Despite how panicky we were at the time of the incident, we knew that this was going to be an incident that we’ll look back and laugh at. (; So glad you made it in the end, babe.
Room 10101 – Geek Room for the Geeks
Upon receiving the keycard to our room on the first day, the first thing Cherlynn did was to squeal “Ohmygosh, it’s binary!” So did Terry when he received notice of our room number through SMS (he joined us from the second day onward).
Us outside our awesome room 10101.
Yeah, it’s such a geek thing. Thankfully, no one writes code in binary anymore … unless you deal with hardware. Give me a cup of Java coffee anyday.
Random Jamming Sessions (Here, there and everywhere)
While we were not busy embarrassing Dayna and Terry with our wild antics, Cherlynn and I would be singing out loud at random places and (often) without warning.
From Coffee Bean Resort Hotel …
Singing “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” by Lesley Gore.
To First World Plaza (during lunch at Kenny Rogers).
Singing “Nobody” by The Wonder Girls.
And basically everywhere else. There are plenty more photo and videographic evidence but they should never see the light of day in the WWW. Because as you can see from the photos alone, we don’t look quite normal in the midst of a song.
Most over-sung song during our three days together? “Drive By” by Train. If we were to break into a song randomly, this song will be it. We’re so contagious that we’ve even got Terry doing it. If it isn’t a “Drive By” singing moment, it’ll be a Lady Gaga moment.
Stay tuned for Part II.
(P/S: Credit for the above pictures goes to Dayna.)