Friday, April 5, 2013

Round and round, round we go... I get around.

Well Tupac got the round and round part right but I'm not getting around well... just getting lost. I'm from LA, never taken public transit unless I was on vacation in another country. I've always just jumped into my car or bicycle and went to wherever I needed to go... my car and bike became an extension of me. On vacation, I had all transit preplanned out so we don't get lost; I also always had someone with me to help figure things out. Although the MRT (what the Metro trains are called here) and buses in Singapore are great and very efficient, it's definitely a change in my mindset to have to rely on public transit to get from one place to another. Throw in language, weather (80-100% humidity & daily thunderstorms), my own personal space issues and my bad sense of direction into the mix too and it all becomes this kooky fun adventure whenever I need to run an errand.

The Pet Safari at Vivo City Mall where you can find specialty brands of pet food! (image from pet safari site)
Yesterday, I got majorly lost trying to buy kitty food and litter. I was trying to get to Vivo City, the largest mall in Singapore (which is a city with hundreds of malls) and also home to a large pet store for Momo and Ralph's specific brand of food. Not only did I take the wrong bus, I also went the exact opposite direction for half an hour before I realized it. My phone was out of credits so I couldn't google map the correct way. It took me about an hour and a half to reroute my way old school style by using the maps on the bus stops and asking complete strangers for directions. The conversations mostly went like this:
Me: Hello. Excuse me but do you know which bus I should take to get to Vivo City?

Helpful stranger: Veevo Cit.Teee lah?!! No bus take you here.

Me: Is there a bus that will take me to another bus or MRT station for Vivo City?

Helpful stranger: Why Veevo Cit.Tee lah?!! Mall there (points in a general direction but I don't see a mall in sight.)

Me: I'm trying to buy some cat food and there's a large pet store at Vivo City. Do you know a way that I can get there from here?

Helpful stranger: Cah fooo? Too expensei at mall lah. Get cah foo at stoor. Cheapa lah. (Points away to another general direction and I don't see a obvious store in sight either. Helpful stranger sees that I'm now super confused and continues to answer my question.) No bus here lah. Take MRT lah. MRT fah aweh.

Me: How far away is the nearest MRT? Is there a bus that will take me there?

Helpful stranger: You know. Bus ### take you. Then get off MRT. You know.

Me: Thank you so much! (Although I'm still confused because I don't really know yet. I get on designated bus. Asks bus driver about the nearest MRT station. Bus driver tells me "MRT fah aweh lah"... sigh.)
After switching buses a few times and talking to a few more good strangers, I eventually got to Vivo City and got Momo & Ralph's food & litter. Then I proceeded to get lost within the giant mall looking for a 7Eleven store to buy a phone card. Eventually gave up on the phone card and took a cab straight back to the apartment. Total time: 5 hours. Yay for adventure!

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