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How to get to School, Singapore Style

11 February 2011

Step 1: Walk to bus stop in sweltering heat and humidity dodging speeding traffic while playing own personal game of frogger. Realize both sunglasses and umbrella are back in apartment. Shrug shoulders assuming sun isn’t that bright and there’s no sign of rain. Shake fist in frustration at sky when downpour begins five minutes later.

Step 2: Wait for six to ten minutes for bus as stated on bus schedule. Then wait another five minutes. Then wait two more minutes. Furiously wave down approaching bus, scramble on, touch bus pass to reader to charge for ride.

Step 3: Scan bus for seat. Give up and stand for thirty-minute ride. While standing and gripping tightly to metal bar so as to not careen into other passengers as bus driver enthusiastically applies brake with unsettling regularity, search frantically for screen signaling stops. Realize there is no indicator and start counting bus stops. Don’t forget to count the stops that get skipped.

Step 4: Once at stop, press stop button while praying it’s the correct button and not some emergency stop that will sound an alarm system thereby causing all passengers to evacuate the bus. Breathe huge sigh of relief when alarm does not sound.

Step 5: Exit bus. Realize as soon as bus doors close that 1) you have forgotten to tap bus card while exiting and will be charged the maximum fare and 2) you are at the wrong stop and have another half mile to walk.

Step 6: Arrive at train station after half mile walk. Shiver uncontrollably under blast of air conditioning from train. Otherwise, process of taking train is eerily smooth. Praise Singaporean public transportation.

Step 7: Disembark from train and search for next bus stop. After walking in three full circles of one-half mile each, searching for apparently invisible bus stop, arrive just as bus is pulling away.

Step 8: Thirty-five minutes later, when next bus appears, board. Search for reader to pay. Realize this bus is a free shuttle and works on a completely different system. (i.e. no frantic waving necessary, bus automatically stops. maybe.)

Step 9: Realize that while free shuttle is a little more user friendly, there is still no indicator of stops either on the bus or on the bus stop shelters. Stare intently out window hoping to recognize at least one building on campus.

Step 10: Upon noticing one vaguely familiar building, alight from bus.

Step 11: Pull out campus map after realizing that vaguely familiar building is only familiar because every building on campus looks exactly the same.

Step 12:  Shake fist again at sky as sudden torrential downpour ruins map.

Step 13: Begin walking in randomly-chosen direction and finally see truly familiar building after circumnavigating campus three times. Look at watch and realize class is over.

Step 14: Turn around. Go home. Try again tomorrow.

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