After learning I could finally lie on my sides with some degree of comfort I looked forward to a good night's sleep. Not to be. The two German girls had an early flight so they were up and about early to get ready, fortunately they left the night light on rather than the huge overheads. The next girl to get up wasn't so considerate, and as she slept on the bunk above me I felt every movement as she went back to the bed to get one thing, then another, and another. She didn't use the ladders to get up there either, no she took it upon herself to stand on my mattress. Had she been going anywhere it would all have been forgiven, but when I got up at a reasonable time with a scowl on my face she wandered in, having just been sat in reception all morning having breakfast. Breakfast didn't start until 8.30, so what the rush was I have no idea!
After a leisurely breakfast I realised I'd better get a move on, as check-out was at 12. I packed up my stuff and headed off to post my postcards, then get a quick picture of the Orchard Road malls and Raffles Hotel. I found the postbox fine, and even put the postcards in the correct slot, but then when walking to the MRT station the blisters on my feet from yesterday burst. Nice. I won't go into details, but I had to make a swift return to the hostel to do some patching up and cushioning. The flip-flops were promptly packed away and replaced with hefty walking boots.
I ended up leaving the hostel again at 10.35, though I put my watch ten minutes fast so as to give myself a bit of extra time. The train to City Hall was there on time, so I picked up the connection to Orchard Road easily and had a quick look, a quick picture, and hopped back down to the station. This little exercise alone incurred sweating as the midday sun approached, which of course made the experience all the more splendid. I questioned whether or not to bother going out of my way to see the famous Raffles Hotel, but as it was only 11.15 when I looked I thought I may as well.
The trip to the hotel was fine, again it was a quick picture and then back down to the station. Unfortunately, the trip wasn't quick enough and I just missed a train, leaving me to wait six minutes for the next. As another line pulled up I decided to hop on and do the trip another way: that way took twelve minutes, followed by a wait for yet another train as I'd just missed one. Then a run/fast walk with blisters back to the hostel. My watch said it was 12.10, so I knew I was cutting it fine, but the hostel's said it was 12.05, which means I'm pretty sure they moved it forward too!
As sweat poured once again, I rushed to grab my rucksack and hand luggage from the room, and handed in my key. They can't have missed my sweaty demeanour, and failed to charge me a late check-out fee, returning my $50 deposit at the same time. Sweat tissue to the rescue after the money was returned to my wallet, followed by a nice sit-down.
When standing on the train to Orchard Road I noticed a woman sniffling next to me, I was holding the rail she'd just moved away from and so of course I was intrigued by her hygiene. I then noticed she was blowing her nose, which is of course normal and fine, until I noticed she was using the sleeve of her black suit jacket to blow it on! A quick release of the rail and another look enabled me to see a few more similar stains further up her sleeve, with a matching array on the other sleeve, and somehow a display on her trouser leg. I've put up with the Southeast Asians and their snorting, sneezing, hocking, and even spitting, but to then blow your nose on your sleeve is above and beyond disgusting. I now realise my impending cold and loss of voice is probably not at all to do with the air-conditioning, but more due to the fact that most people here are gross! I can wash my hands until they come up blue, but it won't stop me from touching their germs on the handrails, cups, cutlery, handles, and even keys that pass from them to me. The alcohol gel is going to be making a much bigger appearance from now on methinks.
I think 24 might be too old for all this malarkey.
6pm: 24 is definitely too old - I arrived at the airport at 2.45 ready to check-in and be on my way, only to learn that the flight didn't exist! Apparently they'd tried calling me to no avail, but I haven't had any missed calls so I pleaded complete ignorance. After the initial shock and a struggle not to cry in front of the woman who kept telling me the flight was now at 11pm, I managed to check-in. Eight hours in the airport when unexpected is not a good prospect. Having arranged an airport pickup by the hostel, I then had to worry about letting them know. Forunately the bloke at the services desk let me borrow his personal phone to ring the hostel in Penang and let them know what was going on. After a few 'oh my god' exclamations from the owner she eventually assured me somebody would be waiting at the airport at 12.20am. Phew. Now I've just got to hope my bag makes it safely to the right plane after checking in so early for the flight. It never rains, but when it does it sodding well pours!