It’s been quiet again for a while. But I’m still alive and kicking!
Time is flying. I feel like I just started this adventure, but actually I’m already past the half-way mark at this point! Then again, considering the fact that I have lived in three different places here already, generated my first results research-wise, made around 10 dives at two different Malaysian islands, and am pretty integrated into Asian live maybe indicates that quite some time has past since I arrived.
Anyway, so yes, a lot has happened again. First and foremost, my parents visited! It was pretty amazing to show them my life here, and let them experience it first-hand. Besides exploring and experiencing Singapore, we also made a fantastic roadtrip through Malaysia. We traveled along all the major sights on the west coast from south to north, and then crossed to the east-coast via the Belum rainforest to end at a fantastic little island: Lang Tengah.
Link to route on Google Maps – for those who are interested.
In short: we visited two UNESCO world heritage sights (Malakka and Georgetown), biked through the amazing Malaysian countryside, ate plenty of Malaysian street food, visited the tea plantations and mossy forest in the Cameron Highlands, visited an Orangutan rehabilitation centre, walked through true pristine rainforest, went elephant spotting (but didn’t spot any ;-)), went to the sea bottom, and saw turtles lay their eggs on the beach in the middle of the night. Oh yeah, and we had plenty of cocktails on the beach, and of course dinner/drinks in pretty much every neighborhood in Singapore.
We took some pictures for a little impression (more will follow – but at the moment those are on a camera in the Netherlands ;-)).
On a totally different note, you may remember that my last post was not all laughs and sunshine – I was homeless at the time. I am pretty happy to share that by now I’m all settled again in my new room, close to campus, with great facilities and a pretty nice view. I’ve lived here for a good two weeks now, and I’m definitely happy with my new place!
Although I’m living with a family now (obviously not my first choice, and I would have definitely laughed in your face if you’d told me this a year ago – but considering the prices in Singapore and timespan I had to find something new, I had to set priorities and adjust my standards), I still think I may even have improved compared to living on campus (it’s clean, I have access to a fully equipped kitchen, airconditioning, and no mid-night chilling/cooking sessions from roommates). And, despite the fact that I’m not living on campus and lack of campus-facilities here, I am surrounded by nice parks for running and am definitely taking the true Singaporean experience to the next level, with an authentic hawker centre around the corner. So, not such a bad development after all!!
In the mean time ‘normal life’ has started again, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s nice to finally have some rhythm again, and I was quite excited to start back on my research. As I mentioned in my last post we started the first pilot to test our carriers (aka ‘trucks’) in whole systems (remember? putting the trucks on a fully equipped roadway system, including other traffic, traffic lights, traffic jams, weather conditions, everything), which is very exciting – so please keep your fingers crossed! In a parallel, I’m also busy with figuring out the best way to load the trucks with different cargo and identifying the best cargo for our ultimate goal. The hope is that over the next two months the results in these different lines are positive, so we can combine and integrate them into the next step – again, fingers crossed!
Finally, I wanted to share a new corner of Singapore with you guys that I explored last Sunday with Manon: Pulau Ubin. It’s a small island in the north east part of Singapore, which is basically known as authentic Singapore – where the development and major make-over of the city in the past 70 years basically did not happen. And indeed, it turned out to be exactly like that – a peaceful island, mostly nature (jungle, lakes, and mangroves), very few inhabitants, and nothing modern – it was a great get-away. We rented mountainbikes and did a pretty challenging mountainbike track (I have to admit I walked bits of it), after which we had a tropical lunch (coconuts and rambutans), and explored the rest of the island at a slow pace in the afternoon, including encounters with monkeys and wild pigs. It was great.
That’s all for now. More coming soon!
(really, I promise, soon).