Glad to be Home

Dear1, Dear2, Baby1 and Baby2 are back from a 11 day Fly-Cruise holiday to Shanghai.  The 8-day cruise departing from Singapore brought us to Vietnam (Vung Tau), Hong Kong, Xiamen, and finally arrived at Shanghai where we stayed for a further 3 days before flying back to Singapore.  Though another eye-opening trip for us (especially for the kids, we tell them “When we travel, we learn things that cannot be taught in schools.”), boy, was I glad to be home when we came back.  Home to Singapore, our home.

Vung Tau was a very quiet town on a weekday.  We went to the Ho May Theme Park.  Though big and with lots of interesting sights, animals and rides, it was way too dusty for my liking.  And the attendants, oh the attendants.  There’s one attendant at every ride, but they’re sooooo glued to their handphones to notice any patrons.  And when we finally managed to catch their attention, the attitude was just nonchalant.  And the shops, oh the shops.  Very big and spacious with lots of items on the shelves.  But customers?  Hardly any.  And if you think being the only customer in an empty shop will excite the sales attendants ($$$!!!), you’ll be surprised that none even batted an eyelid.  Seems to me that people here are merely passing time all day long….

Hong Kong was as usual, busy and bustling.  A little too cold for my liking, and way too crowded for our comfort.  Not surprisingly, traffic was congested on an off-peak morning.  We reserved a table at the One-Michelin star restaurant Lei Garden, and as expected, had to enjoy the dim sum with the clock ticking down to the time given to us to clear the table.

At Xiamen, we decided to take a ferry from the same Cruise Terminal to this little island, Gulangyu.  But the queues to purchase the tickets were horribly full of people!  What’s with Gulangyu or this Cruise Terminal, that’s way too many people!  (Now I finally understood what it means to be 1 billion…)  At Gulangyu, we concluded that it’s another Sentosa.  Full of tourists, tourists who were just walking up and down and up and down the beaches’ shorelines.  Baby1 and I had our first China-toilet experience here, and it was definitely unforgettable.  I had expected dirty toilets, but the very first one that we picked greeted us with a big explosive mass of extremely smelly poo, unflushed.  I never want to mention this horrible experience to anyone again, and I hope Baby1’s memories of China is not marred by this frightful sight and smell.

In Shanghai, I was constantly on my toes.  There’s so many people, adults actually (we didn’t see many kids throughout here), and people are cutting queues at most queues.  I was fearful for the safety of my kids.  On the roads (or even pavements), pedestrians liked to stand any where, and there were constantly many sounds of horns.  But no one even cared about the horns!  For food, we tried a variety of the local meat paus and dumplings, and by the second day, I was very suspicious of these relatively cheap, strongly flavoured meats (think, human meat char siew pau…).

On the flight back, I read from the Straits Times that it was Crimea’s 1 year anniversary joining Russia and separation from Ukraine.  The photo shows a child holding the country’s flag.  To think that in this time and world, there are still people fighting for better living.  And look at our neighbouring countries, haiz…..

I am so glad to be home, home to this clean, fresh air, stable, nice weather, safe, mostly civilised and educated people country.  Though it’s back to the routine, but, ah, I am really glad to be back.

– Dear2

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