Unofficially, the backpacking trip ended last June 25th, when I returned to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur. Still, I wanted to end it on the 30th, as I originally intended, since I’m still on holiday until today, even if I am suitcasing, rather than backpacking. Admittedly I have been taking it too easy when I got back. Work starts in less than 24 hours, and I wanted to get plenty of rest before I start staying up all night again.
I woke up earlier than usual today, 7:30am, instead of 8:30am. There were several places I had in mind, including the Magma Heritage store in Geylang, to pick up some dolls. However, I got distracted at the supermarket, and ended up buying groceries and going back home for lunch. It was lucky that I did, because when I checked my mail, I got a notification from Paypal that they are suspecting that my account has been compromised and is being used by a third party to send money without my consent.
So the payment I sent last night has been reversed, and there’s a dispute that would probably take a couple of days to resolve. The thing is, that payment was made by me for Magma Heritage, which is why I’m going to their store today to pick up dolls! GAAAH! I understand Paypal’s stand on protecting my account, but damnitttt, it’s just so frustrating. It’s been troubling me the whole day, specially since I have to get those dolls before I fly back to the Philippines next week.
Still, I managed to peel myself away from the computer to spend some time outside. Today was the complete opposite of the day yesterday. The sun was shining brightly and the sky, though a bit washed out, was still a pretty blue. I ended up at the Esplanade, just so I can take a photo of Sayuri with the Merlion and the Singapore skyline in the background. Much time was spent staring at the river to try to clear my head, which worked for a bit.
Sayuri in Singapore
I promised my sister-in-law that I’d cook pasta for dinner, so I headed home, earlier than usual. On the bus ride home, I started thinking about the past 30 days. June 1 seemed to be so far away right now, and exploring Angkor Wat seemed like something from a distant memory. I was disappointed with myself when I went back to Singapore earlier than I initially planned. There were so many things to regret, so many plans that I wished I pursued. But what’s done is done, and there’s nothing I can do now except to live for the moment.
Things do happen for a reason, and despite my disappointment, I was happy to be back in Singapore. I might have missed out on a lot of things, but I do cherish the experiences that I was able to have.
I’ve stayed in places that I would not recommend to my enemies. I got annoyed and frustrated at taxi and tuktuk drivers who charge exorbitant amounts, and a couple of times, ended up just sighing and agreeing to the price. I got scammed into giving a “donation” for something I don’t believe in. I’ve endured several long bus rides, with one bus even ending up in a ditch.
Still, the good parts outweigh the negatives.Though the bad things that happened are easier to remember, it’s the positives that makes me want to do it all over again. It doesn’t matter if it rained on me, I was still able explored the temples of Angkor and enjoyed the laid back lifestyle of Luang Prabang. I’ve savored the best dishes Thailand and Malaysia has to offer.
Of course, I can’t forget the people I’ve met along the way. There was Soryan in Cambodia, whose love for his culture is evident in his work and Ming in Thailand who shared his love for Thai food. Then there was that cheeky girl in Luang Prabang, who was actually quite annoying because she was trying to sell me something, but you just can’t help but love her. In Vientiane, it was the staff at the guesthouse that made my brief stay bearable, and the other travelers headed to Khao San Road that made the last hours in Laos just a tad more interesting.
It was great to have met up with Mikoy in Bangkok, as well as meeting Ynna and Nat. Then there was that German guy who passed on his body wash, as he’s flying home and have no need for it anymore. To continue the chain, I pass on a packet of detergent I wasn’t able to use to one of the housekeepers at the hostel. Another memorable character was the elderly Italian gentleman who was sitting across me in the express train from Bangkok to Butterworth. I was finally able to meet Wei, a long time online friend in Penang, who so graciously took me — literally — around Penang island.
The staff of Watercolours Resort were all lovely, as is the service people I’ve encountered in Kuala Besut. At the scene of the bus accident, I am grateful to the people who helped me out and looked out for me, even if they had a hard time talking to me in English. The warm reception of the crew at Matahari Lodge was a huge relief after that ordeal. It was great to come home to family in Singapore, and getting to meet Marvin and Babes.
In the three hours I’ve sat down to write this entry, I managed to remember events that I’ve practically forgotten about, and even things I’d rather forget. Still, they were all part of this amazing month long trip in Southeast Asia. I honestly didn’t expect anything from this trip. I just wanted to go out, to explore. I ended up with plenty stories to tell, a couple of gigs worth of pictures and a one in a lifetime experience that I’ll treasure forever.
[Edit] Just how sappy is that last line? Ew.