Whee! Doing a stunt!

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I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

May
06 2012

1:49 AM

Travel

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The day time slowed to a crawl

Adventures in San Francisco, 29th February – 17th March 2012

There’s just something about nature that slows time down. (Or not quite – I’ve had similar all-nature days here in Singapore but the time still felt the same.) Up till today, I still can’t solve the puzzle of the seemingly “extended” time we’ve had on one particular day in San Francisco.

I can’t quite describe the day in words, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Japan Town.
Umbrella frenzy at Japan Town, San Francisco.

Comments Off on The day time slowed to a crawl
May
05 2012

Taking the stage with Elea

Adventures in San Francisco, 29th February – 17th March 2012

Imagine knowing a fellow blogger online, but she’s thousands of kilometers away. But yet, there’s still this sense of closeness because we’ve been sending the occasional encouraging messages to each other, on top of reading each other’s blogs since 2005. (That’s 7 whole years.)

So the opportunity to (finally) meet comes along, we seized it! I finally met Elea during the last few days of my trip to San Francisco.

Elea!
Elea, me and Jess.

It was an awesome night out … in fact, possibly the latest we’ve ever stayed out throughout our entire US jaunt. (We were quite wary of staying out too late because it was just us two girls travelling together.) It began with dinner at South Park Cafe. For the life of me, I can’t seem to remember what I had there, but they had beyond decent food and I’d definitely return if I am in San Francisco again.

Then, Elea lowered the boom. Well, we did plan to have a karaoke night … but the sly one decided that it’d be at an open-stage karaoke joint instead of the usual closed-door, individual-room karaokes we were used to!

My jaw fell all the way down to the centre of the earth.

Weeeelll, part of me felt a bit of trepidation at the prospect of performing in public (unprepared, no less), but the other part felt excitement. Based on my past experiences, I always experienced a strange high when on stage (despite bombing big time nearly 100% of the time thus far). I didn’t mind experiencing that high again, but was (naturally) worried of making a vocal mess of myself.

What I needed was a little push. And Elea provided that push. :P

Later within the karaoke joint, I was further consoled by the fact that hardly anyone else in the vicinity could sing well. I’ve heard mangled versions of “Barbie girl” and “Rolling in the deep” among many others, save for about two girls with decent voices. Considering that, I highly doubt the audience would care to judge any further. I felt emboldened.

So, Elea and I took the stage together.

Taking the stage!
Performing “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga.
(Apologies for the quality, this is a screen grab from a video.)

Followed by a solo round by each of us. The wait for our turns were tremendously long, and we practically had to bribe the deejay to bump our songs to the front of the queue. Despite that, we waited for close to an hour and a half to take the stage.

Definitely a night I’ll never forget, though! Thanks for everything, Elea, and hope we’ll get to meet again! (This time, in Singapore? (;)

Apr
06 2012

3:16 AM

Travel

7 comments

Despite the mishaps, I still love public transport

Adventures in San Francisco, 29th February – 17th March 2012

In Singapore, I always swear by public transport. I avoid cabs if I can and often opt for bus rides (and occasionally, the train … although they have been less than reliable in recent months). Few things make me happier than being able to park myself on a seat, plug in my earphones and people-watch, or just watch the world go by.

So, it was natural that I’d do the same in San Francisco.

I always believe one hasn’t truly lived the life in a new city without experiencing its public transportation first hand, because you get to soak up loads of sights while commuting. And yeah, people watch. You don’t get quite the same experience being fetched from point A to point B in a car.

I relied on good ol’ Google Maps on my iPhone and my naturally keen sense of direction to get us safely around.

Muni buses in San Francisco
Muni Metro buses in San Francisco.

See that cord attached across the window? Well, you pull that if you wanted to alight. I didn’t know that at first and was looking around like an idiot for that familiar yellow and red button to press (as we did in Singapore, and Hong Kong as well). When I couldn’t find the button, I thought I was supposed to yell … until my travel buddy witnessed someone else pulling the cord and we had the eureka moment.

And so I pulled the cord and … nothing happened. I pulled it harder. Still nothing. This happened every time and until today I still have no idea what I did wrong.

In the above picture, the bus was completely empty.

And no, it’s not normal. I’ve learned from that fateful day when the bus is empty, something is terribly wrong. Apparently, the bus had already reached the very last stop and I still had no friggin’ clue. So there I remained, taking pictures of the delightfully empty bus until the bus driver suddenly looked behind and yelled “HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THIS IS THE LAST STOP!”

Every day was a new adventure. If it wasn’t the bus, it was the light rail (a.k.a. Muni Metro ‘F’ line). If it wasn’t the light rail, it was the underground Muni Metro. Otherwise, it was the BART. Or the Caltrain.

Oh yeah, the BART. The travel buddy and I had many a running joke about the BART, because the name sounds so much like ‘fart’. So there was the occasional statement of “I go fart in the BART” before we burst into girly giggles. Juvenile, I know. But hey, travelling is all about letting yourself go. (;

Caltrain @ Millbrae
Millbrae Caltrain Station on a rainy day.

The Caltrain – looks harmless when stationary, but menacing when in motion. It especially scares the shit out of me when I’m standing at an outdoor platform at some suburb town and the express Caltrain just whooshes past bringing along with it an eardrum-vibrating roaring noise and a strong draft. If I could avoid the Caltrain, I would.

Now that I’m back to the usual (almost clinical) transport system here in Singapore, I really miss the variety of commuting options there and their various eccentricities. And people watching there is so much more fun too.

Also worth a mention is how people in San Francisco are generally so considerate – speaking at low volumes when on board the trains or buses. Whereas back here, I’ll never fail to have my eardrums shattered by some ah pek or ah soh speaking at the top of his/her lungs.

But well, I still love public transport. Especially bus rides.

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