Short post here detailing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (WordPress swallowed my first draft. Grr).
Wednesday was uneventful. I went swimming, bought some shorts from Clementi mall, Cinnamon College held a welcome introduction/barbecue for exchange students, and we went into town in the evening.
But the place we were going to did not let us in (they wanted passports, as if we are going to wander around late at night with passports ready to be stolen), so we just sat on the edge of Marina Bay looking across to Singapore, which does have a pretty skyline.
Thursday was National Day, and Janelle, a local undergraduate, had invited some of her exchange student friends to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens themselves are quite unremarkable, but the National Orchid Gardens are well worth the ticket price (S$1 for students, hurrah!). The National Orchid Gardens are a landscaped part of the main gardens, where orchids have been arranged beautifully in hills, floral arches, rainforest situations, rockeries and so on. Well worth it.
Later that day, there was half a plan to go to see the parade and fireworks, but I ended up in a large group heading in, and we were running late, and there was not space in the bus for the entire group (me therein), so I stayed home at the college and played the piano and listened to Amber from New Zealand play her way effortlessly through my book on Jazz piano. I wish I could sight read notes and had the finger control to do that! After dinner, the USP (University Scholars Programme, based at Cinnamon College) had an open dress rehearsal for their performance the day after at the rag/flag day, which functions as an end to the introductory period for first-year students.
Thursday night was spent accompanying one of my roommates to hospital with a bad case of (it turned out) Tonsilitis. The hospital worked quite efficiently considering it was the night following a public hospital, and we were in and out in three hours, which included a consultation, an X-ray, a consultation with the ear nose throat doctor (including endoscope) and collecting the antibiotics prescribed. Luckily for my roommate, we have been forced to sign up to the NUS health insurance scheme, which will cover the S$240 fee he incurred for all that.
Today, friday, we went to the beach: Sentosa is an outlying island of Singapore, connected by a causeway that carries a footpath, road and monorail. Sentosa is a resort island, with a Universal studios theme park, restaurants, indoor skydiving etc etc. But we were there for the beaches. The beaches are sandy, clean, warm and with palmtrees. The water is warm, and not too green! A very pretty island, with plenty of tourist traps, like the “southernmost point of Continental Asia”, which was itself on an island (an island off Sentosa, which is an island off Singapore, which is an island off the Malaysian peninsular. How is that continental?)