We arrived at night. As our plane was flying over the harbour, the city was a beautifully illuminated backdrop to the lit-up ships interspersed across the water. The view from my plane window was absolutely lovely to behold. A few minutes later, we touched down, deplaned, grabbed our luggage, booked an airport shuttle and were on our way to the Rucksack Inn, the hostel where we would spend our nights while in Singapore. Unfortunately, I don't have as high a praise for this place as I did for the other two we'd stayed at so far. Other than the cleanliness, the price (which was decent considering it was in Singapore) and the friendly staff, Rucksack Inn left much to be desired. Firstly, we were stacked in a 28 bed dorm room, which as you can probably imagine, can get quite interesting. Between, the snoring, burping, farting and constant noise outside, getting a full night's sleep could be a challenge (although I slept like a baby, Jen did not find sleep on the first night). To make matters worse, some of her underwear went "missing" (she didn't realize it until we were in Thailand) and she was forced to buy new ones. Fortunately though, the hostel would only be our base and we wouldn't spend too much time there. It served perfectly for our needs though, and that's what counts.
As I write this, exactly one month has passed since we left for what would prove to be the most wonderful trip of my life thus far. But leaving had been the easy part, as the whole voyage had taken quite a bit of preparation. The process started with booking the plane tickets which finalized in late November: We would start by flying to Malaysia, spend a few days in Singapore and end with a stay in Thailand. Then came the reading and planning bit. The better part of December was spent researching about things to do in each country and how to get there as well as finding accommodations. Buses, trains, ferries, hostels, excursions, scooters would all have to somehow fit into our two week getaway. How would it be possible to do and see everything we wanted to in such a short time? Indeed, much planning was required. I found that Hostelworld.com, the Lonely planet guides and of course, the Internet were huge helps figuring out all the details. By the time January rolled around, we just had a few last puzzle pieces left to put in place. So after finishing up our two week winter camps at school, we were finally ready to embark on this amazing journey.
And a bang it was... With a few weeks to digest everything that we've had the chance to do over the last month and a half, I can confidently say that I have never had such a eventful start to any year thus far in my life. Maybe it stems from the fact that the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world, or maybe the stars aligned for us to kick off the new year with a shot of awesomeness. I like to think it has more to do with the fact that I am finally taking ownership of my life and pursuing the things that I want to do instead of what I am expected to do. Coming to Korea has undoubtedly been a catalyst for discovering the real me and an opportunity to test what I am made of. Along with Jennifer, we've embarked on adventure after adventure, each time learning about ourselves and each time leaving us wanting more.
I've been pondering over this for a few days now... How can I successfully recount three weeks of travel through South East Asia without:
a) wasting an entire day writing about it;
b) boring our readers to death with every detail;
c) boring myself to death writing all day about every detail?
One upon a time in Korea, Jason and Jen set out to find the nearest Costco to replenish their lives with some western things such as cheese, frozen veggies, chips and, of course, ranch sauce/dressing. Since arriving in Korea, Jason had been looking everywhere for ranch sauce. In Canada, it had been an integral part of his "healthy" diet but he couldn't seem to find it anywhere now that he had left his motherland. Even Subway did not offer ranch dressing as an option for their sandwiches. They had been hoping to go for a while now, but had been busy on most weekends and just could not find the time. On November 19th, 2011, the stars were finally aligned as they set out on their adventure through the mysterious land of Korean public transportation with the goal of consumerism on their mind.