01 September 2012

Party at Sentosa, Singapore

Today I am invited to join a party on one of the beaches of Sentosa, an island just off Singapore's south-western coast. Getting to the island is easy with S'pore famous MRT. Once there, I asked the info office how to reach the beach where my friends were waiting for me and was told there is Yellow bus: "go right, then into a cave, then two flights down, turn right. It's free. Get off at the second stop." The bus should take me to Tanjong Beach Club. All stops are indicated on a map, but no Tanjong Club. I ask the driver, he says get off at the third stop, not at the second stop. At the first stop I see almost everyone getting off and ask driver, is this the stop for Tanjong Club? Yes yes. OK, whatever.

At the entrance to the beach there is a long line to leave bags, they are not allowed to the beach area. People are swimming, which is to be expected at a beach party, but only in a small swimming pool. No one is swimming in the sea, because it's rather brownigs and uninviting but also because you can't reach the sea at all. Long blue net screens close off access to the water. some say bc ppl try to get into the party without paying the entry fee (which entry fee?? I will find out later) some say because during these parties people get drunk and drown.

I get to meet an interesting crowd: Singaporeans of course, but also lots of expats. A Philipino lady is here to study architecture. Two Turkish engineers work for ashipping company. An Italian architect in his late twenties is very happy: could not find a good job as an architect in Italy but here he got an exciting position and though he works really long hours he makes good money and his work is appreciated. Soon he will get a permament residence permit, which will allow him to switch jobs more easily and even stay on in Singapore indefinitely, even if he should be without a job for a time.

Most ladies wear stylish black dresses, others just a swim suit. We sit down with my friends and start gulping beer and sandwiches. After a while, two big security guards appear and start pacing up and down the length of the beach At about 11pm, after we've been at the party for almost 7 hours, the two guards come to our table and ask me and Peiwen for our bracelet. What bracelet? Well apparently there is a bracelet you get when you pay your entry fee to the beach. None of us was aware of this. I am actually ready to apologize and pay but my local friends are quite upset and start arguing with the guards until they give up! So we get our bracelets for free...

By 1:00am it's time for me to go even if the party is still in full swing. The organization of the party provides for valet drivers for car owners who drink: you can drive to the beach, drink you brains out and someone will drive you home in your own car! Smart.

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