After a day of mild relaxation mixed with a bit of wandering I picked up my bags from the hostel and made my way to meet Ash. His family lives on the west side of town so we had a bit of a MRT ride before arriving. I was a little nervous, weird because I'd couchsurfed and stayed with dozens of strangers throughout my travels, but something was different about going to a friends home. Likely the root of my nerves though was that Ash's family is quite traditional Muslims, an aura Ash does not emit, and I didn't want to offend them in any way. Ash had already told me I'd be sharing a room with his sister, which I also felt bad about, as I hadn't intended on invading her space.
Thankfully his family was kind, insisting I make myself comfortable and relax, assuming I must be tired from my last few days of travels. We spent some time talking about our backgrounds, retelling the story of just how Ash and I had come to be friends, but as it was getting late finally parted ways for bed. It turned out I was not only sharing his sisters room, but also her bed, which was thankfully not weird or problematic in any way, neither of us being bed/blanket hogs or snoring. The next day Ash had to work, which meant I had the day to hang out with the fam. I wasn't sure how things would go, but a heavy downpour and brother home from army service meant a lazy day at home, filled with movies, food and reading. I almost felt bad about being in a foreign country, yet spending my whole day on the couch, but it was quite nice to have this 'home' life after so much time in and out of hostels. I told myself that I should make plans for the following day though, assuming his family would think I was a lazy tourists had I done otherwise.
Not sure what else to do in Singapore, and wanting to throw myself into an adventure I opted for a day trip to Johor Bahru, Malaysia. I'm still not sure what possessed me to do so, I think simply his parents telling me how simple it was and just because, why not? The day turned into a long one, and while I had a nice little jump across the border and wander through a new town, had I the chance I'm not sure I'd do it again. I only had two days left in the city, and while his family urged me to stay and relax I opted to move back to my hostel. This decision was almost 100% due to the fact I had an early flight my final day, and the trek from Ash's home was much longer than it'd be from my hostel. But also, being the hermit/loner I am, secretly wanted one more night to just chill by myself, not taking others around me into consideration. Even as I type that I know it sounds weird, what with my alternative being a 10 bed dorm room, but there's that layer of understanding in dorm rooms, a quiet communal existence.
I spent my last day wandering, in a similar fashion Ash and I had the first day we met. Honestly, wandering a new city, either by food or on bicycle, is one of my favorite ways to spend a day, up there with eating and meeting interesting people. I retraced a few of our steps, appreciated beautiful wall murals, stopping by some unique shops, and even returning to the Mustafa. I also ventured out of Little India and walked through the more touristy Clarke Quay, but had little interest in staying very long.
While my second visit to the Lion City was quite different from my first I dare say it was more enjoyable. With a city like Singapore, known on the radar of even those who don't travel, it's great to have a local's knowledge and insight. Singapore is like a college boys duffel bag, it might look okay, even nice on the outside, but there's some funky things hanging out inside. Tourists love to gush about the city, lament at wanting to move there, but have no idea as to the realities of day-to-day in the city. It's a place, like any other, with it's ups and downs, but to see both sides of the coin made for a more interesting trip. While, like last time, I don't expect to be hurrying back anytime soon, I could also see myself just falling into it's arms on a whim once again.