A Hop, A Skip and A Wander

10 Things I Like About You Pt 4: Geocaching

tiny space shuttle hidden in a rock under a bench in Miami. There is actually a cache on the International Space Station so if anyone is inspired after this, we would love to hear about it :)

a tiny space shuttle hidden in a rock under a bench in Miami.

First of all: Sorry for disappearing for an extended period of time. Ece just got a new job in Turkey and I have been dealing with the wonderful world of visas and government red tape. Joy and a half. However, no excuses.

Back to what we we left off: Geocaching 🙂

Geocaching is a real world outdoor treasure hunt using GPS coordinates. Log into geocaching.com, set up an account and start! Participants are tasked to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Logistically a little tricky if you think of the elements but I did a couple of runs in Miami and they led me to some pretty cool spots.

There’s even one on the International Space Station, soI figured why not in Singapore?

so the adventure begins...

so the adventure begins…

Step one is to get a good GPS navigator programme. It’s pretty easy, just scootle around the App or Play Store and you should be able to find one. I used C:geo which syncs with your Geocache account and provides feedback from other geocachers, which DEFINITELY helps.

I sourced for one that was near home, figuring that if I got lost I would at least recognise some landmarks.

Geocaches also have varying levels of difficulty, so you can go for the ones that are tiny to sizable ones that are easy to find. Picked a nice midlevel one (with 3 checkpoints) and verified with the feedback to make sure that it was still available.

IMG_9557Landmark one was a fig tree. Urbanite that I am, I had to look up what a fig tree would look like. With the help of Google Images I found the tree without too much trouble, the cache, not so much. To the confusion of nearby picnickers, I literally poked around the underbrush with a stick but to no avail.

Undeterred, I decided to potter on. There were some hints to the next location, a tunnel under one of Singapore’s busiest highways, the CTE. Bedecked in graffiti, it was to be the highlight of my little trek. If you’ve read anything about Singapore, you’ve probably heard about Michael Fay so you know we don’t take graffiti lightly. With the photo clues provided, I decided to go for it. After several false starts, I came across the entrance to the tunnel.

I felt like a modern day Indiana Jones as I walked into the entrance. As I wandered through, faded images began to emerge in the dim light. It seemed like the tunnel had been flooded recently so much of the work was covered in mud. Despite the grim, I was still able to make out some of the featured pieces. Quite a feat since things don’t last very long here (we are no 5Pointz, that’s for sure.) The cool inside was also a pleasant respite from the heat.

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Emerging on the other side, I came face to face with the electrified fence of the Bishan train depot. Time to turn to Google Maps. Though it appeared that I was in the middle of nowhere, I was apparently right next to a main road. Setting off in what I could only assume was the right direction, I soon saw the busy road ahead. I also probably had 70 different CCTV cameras documenting that 10 min hop, skip and stumble. Security must have been epically confused to see a 5-foot girl wandering past at 4 in the afternoon.

Before long I came to the entrance of a canal. All that separated me from civilization was a steep incline. Spying a step drain that led into the main storm canal, I scrambled up, using the cuts in the drain as steps. Hopping over a short fence, I found myself about 2 train stops from where I started. Not too bad for a noob.

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While my Singapore Geocache didn’t turn out quite the way I expected, I still got some good exploring in. Definitely didn’t mean to end up in half those places so got to ditch the Dora the Explorer and work on my Indiana Jones.

Tips for Geocaching:

  1. Check the weather before you head out. The weather could really put a damper on things
  2. Look up the status of the cache. There is usually feedback if the cache is gone or inaccessible
  3. Start with the simple stuff. Geocaching is meant to be fun so don’t kill yourself the first time round
  4. Water and sunblock. Well, depending where you are. You get the idea
  5. Don’t be afraid to get lost. Think it’s honestly part of the fun

    "two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference."

    “two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference.”

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Bus No. 11

10 Things I Like About You Pt 4: Bus No. 11

“Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R.Tolkien

I’ve been looking forward to this one. Between being from Singapore and living in NYC for 2 years, walking everywhere is no more odd than breathing. My general rule of a good meander is lights and sound. If something catches my eye, off I potter. Guess the rest of the world caught on too and walking tours are now the new Cronut.

My first stroll was during a tour of Paris and London with my parents. It was my first time abroad and we were part of THE stereotypical tour. Ladies with umbrellas, hell bent on finding the most expensive perfumes on the Champs-Elysees, hijacking unsuspecting Frenchmen and forcing them into photos, and the children, so many children… Thank goodness my parents had better sense and we legged it off to the Lourve on our “free” day, while the rest of our group proceeded to empty the shelves of Galleries Lafayette. As we walked along the Seine, passing by the street vendors and the famous Shakespeare and Co., I fell in love with traveling.

So I’ve done the same in the places that I’ve lived in and got some pretty good stories out of it.

Upstate NY

Located in downtown Syracuse, Freedom of Expresso is a local roaster right across the street from a Starbucks. Came across it when I had class nearby. Got the milk steamers there: hot milk with Italian syrup. (ps: fruit syrups means split milk except raspberry. we tried them all)

Located in downtown Syracuse, Freedom of Expresso is a local roaster right across the street from a Starbucks. Came across it when I had class nearby. Got the milk steamers there: hot milk with Italian syrup. (P.S: Fruit syrups means split milk except raspberry. We tried them all.)

The Boys of Syracuse. The Orange is one of the best US College Basketball teams. The whole city is in love with the sport. Basketball here is like football in Spain. Downtown Syracuse is also home to the 24 sec "shot clock" monument, a turning point in NBA history.

The Boys of Syracuse. The Orange is one of the best US College Basketball teams. The whole city is in love with the sport. Basketball here is like football in Spain. Downtown Syracuse is also home to the 24 sec “shot clock” monument, a turning point in NBA history.

Prop 8 protest in downtown Syracuse in 2008. It expressed the discontent for California making same sex marriage illegal. Prop 8 was overturned in 2013 :)

Prop 8 protest in downtown Syracuse in 2008. It expressed the discontent for California supporting the proposition to make same sex marriage illegal. Prop 8 was overturned in 2013 🙂

On a whim, my roommate in college drove the 45 mins from Syracuse to Skaneateles. The whole place looks like something out of an Enid Blyton book, complete with little candy store. We also went hiking to the nearby Carpenter Falls. Dang, I miss Upstate.

On a whim, my then roommate and I drove the 45 mins from Syracuse to Skaneateles. The whole place looks like something out of an Enid Blyton book, complete with little candy store. We also went hiking to the nearby Carpenter Falls. Dang, I miss Upstate! The apple is even from Beak and Skiff. 

Since it worked out so well in Syracuse, where buses run every 45 mins and trains are non-existent, I figured that it would be a perfect method in Singapore.

Singapore

We'll start with my second love, food! In search of the illusive ah balling (dessert riceballs with filling), my friend F introduced us to the wonders of Mei Hong Yuan Dessert. It serves all kinds of traditional Chinese desserts. So much deliciousness! They're so good that they don't even open on Mondays!

We’ll start with my second love, food! In search of the illusive ah balling (dessert riceballs with filling), my friend F introduced us to the wonders of Mei Hong Yuan Dessert. It serves all kinds of traditional Chinese desserts. So much deliciousness! They’re so good that they don’t even open on Mondays!

The Local People is a Singapore collective for budding designers and artists. Every month they do a market of some sort and their most recent was at the Singapore Art Museum. A friend and I wandered past and was very well fed. They also have great jewelry and crafts. Think if Etsy had a fair :)

The Local People is a Singapore collective for budding designers and artists. Every month they do a market of some sort and their most recent was at the Singapore Art Museum. A friend and I wandered past and was very well fed. They also have great jewelry and crafts. Think if Etsy had a fair 🙂

And there was live music

And there was live music

This was perhaps less of a wander... but I use to ride horses. Yes, I was one of those girls that wanted a pony for her birthday. Except I still want one and it's not to braid his tail. This is at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre. Gorgeous facilities and they're hosting the SEA Games. So wander there now!

This was perhaps less of a wander… but I use to ride horses. Yes, I was one of those girls who wanted a pony for her birthday. Except I still want one and it’s not to braid his tail. This is at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre. My friend S (she’s the one without the wings) also started a blog about all things equestrian so check it out. Gorgeous facilities,a tasty cafe on premises and they’re hosting the SEA Games. So wander there now!

A waterpark on top of a shopping centre!?! Where was this when I was a kid.

A waterpark on top of a shopping centre!?! Where was this when I was a kid.

Well, enough from me. Time to lace up those shoes and get out of the house 🙂