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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Burmese New Year of the Horse Holy Daze Pt 1: Stuck in Singapore

South Bridge Road, China Town, Singapore
Its been a while since I posted. I was crazy busy with Christmas, teaching, wrapping up the semester and then Chinese New Year holiday was upon me. I had to pinch and save every penny since October 2013 to buy 2 tickets to Yangon via Singapore. If I was backpacking and had more time, I would of got our visas for Myanmar in Singapore for a much cheaper price (30USD) than doing it via an online service (100 USD each), but for convenience's sake. I didn't want to take my chances with a kid and pre- booked flights. This year my CNY holiday break was 3 days longer than my usual 2 weeks and I intended to capitalize on every moment.

Our arrival at Boat Quay.
We flew into Singapore and stayed in Boat Quay. We checked in around 930pm after leaving Tainan that morning. Around the corner and away from the riverfront, overpriced restaurants, was a more modest row of street noodles. The locals got a kick out of her ordering our handmade fishball noodles in impeccable Mandarin. I had a cold, refreshing, long deserved Tiger beer that I was too tired to finish. Eventually we made it to bed at midnight- my daughter meltdown free.

Breakfast overlooking the river, Boat Quay. The upstairs gallery at our guesthouse.
Our modern guesthouse was little more than a windowless, closet sandwiched between overpriced seafood restaurants along the river bank,but for a night it was ok. I didn't get any sleep of course, I could hear the BEEPing of neighbors' electronic doors. Needless to say I was dazed and confused the next morning.

Boat Quay
I usually stay in Little India, but wanted to try some new part of Singapore. (Here are photos of our July 2011 trip and our Jan/Feb 2014 Singapore album)

Don't mess with Tiger Mom! Boat Quay
I missed our flight to Yangon the next day, I was confused on times. I was about to check in when my gate closed and my plane was taking off. Needless to say I was gutted. I had to pay for another pair of tickets and I had budgeted my trip down to the last kyat, this was definitely not in my budget. The tears were welling up as I stood in line for new tickets. My cell phone was dead, my laptop wasn't connecting to airport wifi, I couldnt contact my only friend Rogenie in Singapore. I just had to wait it out, bite the bullet of my own carelessness and make the most of it. Z was not pleased with me.

I was besides myself on the inside. There was fear of not having enough $ for the rest of our trip, fear our visas would be rejected because the info on the paperwork was now a different date and flight. It was stress time for me, I was thirsty, had to pee, pushing Z and our luggage around the airport (she cant physically walk in airports. Her feet refuse to function as she prefers I push her on the luggage trolley that clearly states kids mustn't ride on them. I don't mind as its faster anyways, and sometimes we have a bit of fun, 360's). So we're running around Changi, here for wifi password, there for charging my laptop, mostly we were parked at the help desk in the other terminal (Michael wherever you are in Changi, you're a really sympathetic, helpful, competent dude). I had to find the free computers at McD's before I finally felt I couldn't wait any longer to go urinate. Basically I ended up with a self induced kidney infection a few days later as a consequence from my imploding stress fest . I thought I knew Changi Airport pretty well from previous transit flights, but ya, I basically was on a first name basis with staff by the end of the day. (Seriously Michael at Changi Help Desk, you were a Guardian Angel, I hope you get a raise and employee of the year.)  He used his own personal phone to call the Visa dude in Yangon, my Hotel in Yangon, Rogenie in Singapore while charging my phone with his own personal portable charger and had one of his female assistants escort Z to the bathroom while I chatted with Yangon on his phone.

View from our Guesthouse across the river, Boat Quay.
Of course it turned out alright. I had to use my emergency credit card for a nice 3 star hotel in Lavender mrt, somehow Rogenie and I missed each other there. Our hotel was nice though, with a pool, weight room. We took the cheapest, noisiest, room by the elevators. The man at check in must of pitied me and my situation because he gave us free breakfast tickets which cost 25$ Sing each. It was a pretty decent buffet. I was grateful.


On those 2 days, I went to some sites I hadn't made it to before. We went to the oldest Hindu temple. Sri Mariamman, a Dravidian style temple in Chinatown. then and a few small parks where Z could just be a kid and run barefoot on the green grass (while unknown to me we missed our check-in for the flight to Yangon).



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