Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Invincible Summer

"In the depth of winter, I at last found that there was, within me, an invincible summer." --Albert Camus

Profound words from the French novelist and philosopher. Not being a philosopher, I have to take my summer where I can get it, which is typically a small island in the Gulf of Thailand.

I bring this up because it snowed today. It didn't stick, but the wet wind was bitter upon my cheeks, and this only a taste of what is to come when winter really moves in. And also because my school finally got the winter calendar worked out, so I know when I have camp, and mini-term, and etc.

I don't usually mouth off too much in advance about my vacation plans, but here they are: Mini-term ends at 12:10 on Friday, February 14. I will be airborne at 4:35 PM en route to Singapore. After 4 full days there, I land at Koh Samui at 9:30 AM on the 19th, where I have already succeeded in booking my beachfront, air con, hot water bungalow with a fridge. I leave from Koh Samui on March 3rd, returning to ICN at 9:55 that night. And have to be at work by 8:40 the next morning.

I realize this is all three months away, but airfares have gotten so high in the last couple of years that the earlier, the better--even at this remove, I paid something over a million won. Happily, traveling in Thailand is still quite inexpensive: that primo bungalow is 1000 Bt (about $31 per day), local beer goes for 50 Bt or so, and an excellent three-course meal is 200 Bt.

Sadly, Singapore is as far from a bargain as you will find in all SE Asia. There are a few iconic things I suppose I must do, such as a Singapore Sling at Raffles, a visit to the top of Marina Bay Sands, and the Singapore Zoo. The only thing I am sure of is I want to visit Tiger Balm Gardens, a place we came to several times when I was a kid. If you, Dear Reader, have any outstanding Singapore experiences I could benefit from hearing, do comment below.

Meanwhile, that's almost three months away; before then, I have three weeks of regular instruction remaining in the school year, one and a half weeks of holidays regularly interrupted by my high school class, and three weeks of winter camp immediately followed by about three weeks of the useless "mini-term" during which grades 3, 4 and 5 will watch movies, and grade 6 won't bother to show up at all.

You can see why I wanted to get all this done now, so I have something to look forward to through the frigid doldrums of Korean elementary school winter.


John said...

Hi. My friend Mr. Chris mentioned that you are looking for S' pore ideas. I have not been there in a long time, but here are some ideas.

Get an MRT pass so you can take the train ecerywhre. Like Seoul, the train is a quick cheap way to get around.

I think there is a big ferris wheel to see things.

Go to Orchard Road for shopping etc. $$$

Eat durian and chili crab and pepper crab and Penang laksa.

Sentosa Island amusement park.

Take a ferry to Pulao Ubin and rent a bike.

Eat at a hawker center (neighborhood outdoor food court).

Night safari at the zoo.

See the wild monkeys (and giant lizards) out at the reservoir.

If you SCUBA, there are some great diving opportunities.

Shopping and bargaining and the markets and fish market in China Town.

Little India.

Just a few ideas. Have a great time.

Tuttle said...

Hi, John, thanks a bunch! (And Chris for asking.) Yes, the transit pass always seems like a good idea in a big city--if its modern, like Seoul or Singapore. Not much point in Bangkok or HCMC. Love durian, too.

You've given me some ideas to look into as well, thanks for your help!