We arrange an early morning call for 7.00am for all, so that they can make breakfast between 7.30-8.00am. We may need the wake up call as it will still be midnight with our body clocks,
Staff wander around the corridors on a couple of occasions, but other than a little talking in the rooms all is quiet. The fact that there is CCTV in the corridors is a great deterrent to any who may consider going for a wander.
I am woken at 3.30pm by a massive crashing noise. There is a violent thunderstorm, that, judging by the closeness of the lightning to the thunder must be almost overhead.
Next morning, Callum Carson tells us that Kieran Charles was so startled by the noise that he jumped out of bed shouting “Someone’s got a gun!” Anyway, with Oscar Pistorious well and truly ensconced in a South African prison, there was no need to worry and we went back to sleep.
I am awoken by the noise of girls chattering in the corridor, my first reaction is to jump out of bed with a view to going and checking why they were ‘out and about’. However, a quick check of my watch showed that it was 7.25am and they were off to breakfast. I’d been missed off the early morning call.
A quick shower and I am down for breakfast by 7.45am. A quick tour of the group found that they were all well-including Elliott and in very good spirits. Some had slept very soundly and not even been woken by the thunderstorm. Others had had a restless night and found it difficult to sleep. Nevertheless, they were very happy with the facilities in the hotel.
Breakfast was an ‘American style’ buffet with many south Asian options to choose as well. I have a fresh pineapple, melon and mango fruit salad with yoghurt followed by a ham, cheese, onion and tomato omelette. It was only small (well that’s my excuse) so I had a second one as well.
After breakfast we return to our rooms and then meet in the foyer at 8.55am to meet the coaches that are taking us to Universal Studios. Bus one sets off at 9.10 and it is 25 minute drive to Sentosa Island where Universal Studios is situated.
En route, our guide Mickey gives us a description of some of the sites. Just around the corner from the hotel is the famous Raffles hotel. We then drove along a section of the Grand Prix circuit and then we saw the Merlion statue and fountain. Merlion means half fish, half lion and is a place where there is a night time laser show. Some of the architecture is staggering and the Esplanade building was a great example. It was a large theatre notable for its Arts and Music productions.
We travel into the CBD and Mickey tells us an apartment can cost as much as $3million. Even Mr Harrison couldn’t afford that!!!
Singapore is a strip of land that is just over a mile long and home to 6million people so land is at a premium and much of it has been reclaimed from the sea. For the reclamation, sand is shipped in from five countries including Cambodia and Myanmar.
We arrive at Universal Studios at 9,40am and wait for the other bus that had been held up slightly and arrived 10 minutes later. We take a group photograph at the entrance and enter when the doors open at 10.00am.
Temperatures are expected to rise to 36-38C during the day and we have advised the group to apply suntan oil every two hours.
A central meeting point is established in Starbucks where there will be a member of staff on duty all day if there is a problem, otherwise they are free to wander with the meeting time set for 4.30pm back at Starbucks.
I check my emails and I’ve had one from Peter Russo confirming that he has been able to secure us a block of tickets (61) at the AFL game on Sunday. We are on level 4 and should have a great view.
I also have messages from Michael Rulli at Mater Maria confirming details of the arrangements with them and from Olivier Rey in Singapore confirming that the first rugby matches kick off at 5pm (Under 16) and 6pm (Under 18) tomorrow. The Hockey and netball details will be confirmed when we see Mickey later.
There continues to be a focus on numeracy in school-and Mrs Griffiths clearly has a tough job on her hands. Lewis Hyatt took $60 out last evening, he asked his group leader Miss Rushworth, “If I spent I $16 last evening how much have I got Left?” “$44 Lewis” Miss Rushworth replied. If I take another $40 out, how much will I have left then?” Miss Rushworth told him the best thing is to count it himself.
I meet the other staff at lunchtime. They have been on Mummy, a large rollercoaster, Transformers which is a ride where you wear goggles to get a 3D effect and a water ride called Jurassic Park.
Some of the students come back to Starbucks at 2.30pm to ‘cool down’ It’s starting to get warm outside.
Kaitlyn Egan said that some of the girls went on Mummy and the boys behind (Tom Ham, Callum Carson, Lewis Hyatt and David Carpanini) were “screaming like girls” I glad she said it because I probably can’t.
Holly Breeze-Jones said that they went on the water ride-Jurassic Park because they wanted to get wet to cool down. While they were on it Sam Hughes was using her Go-pro to take pictures when an announcement came over the intercom “Please refrain from using technology whilst you are on the rides” She sheepishly put it away.
Kaitlyn said, “This is much better than being in Oakwood-the streets are like being in Hollywood itself.”
After they left, some of the boys returned. Tom Northey said ” We queued for 40 minutes to get on to Cyclone and then Ryan Hughes had to get off because his thighs were too big.
They then went on one of the children’s rides and Elliott Rees had to hold Tom and Ryan’s hand and didn’t open his eyes once.
Shanaye Grant and Miriam Higgs returned. Shanaye said “It’s great, we are really enjoying-but my feet are aching.
By 4.30pm everyone is theme parked out and back at Starbucks. We register our groups and walk back to the coaches in the bus bays at 4.45pm. There is a weariness amongst the group as the travel is starting to take its toll. We decide that the group can have some time to relax in the hotel after we return and we will meet again at 7pm to go out for the evening.
Coach 2 arrives promptly and they are back at the hotel not long after 5pm, but coach 1 is 20 minutes late which is frustrating to be stood out in the hot and humid conditions when you are already a little worn out. However, it duly arrives and we are back at the hotel for 5.30pm.
Some of the group spend time around the pool and Joe Whitehorn tells me, “it was a great way to cool down,” whilst others go to their rooms to rest. I take the latter option.
At 7.00pm we all assemble in the foyer (apart from two who are 3 minutes late). Mickey advised us to go to the Singapora Plaza mall which is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel in the opposite direction to the Bogis Mall that we visited last night. We are to walk there and stay for a meal and shopping until it closes at 10pm.
We are there by 7.15pm. It’s on 10 levels, 7 above ground and 3 below, each level contains almost as many shops as are in the Quadrant. It’s remarkable how many shopping malls are within such a short distance of each other. The two we have visited are only a small number of the plethora of malls all within a short walking distance of each other. This mall contains both food outlets and shops so the group has many options. Most opt to find somewhere to eat first although the two late arrivals have to tag along with us for the first 10 minutes for being late to the meeting.
We see a Nandos restaurant-Miss Rushworth’s favourite, and queue for a table. Chloe Watkins and Tiffany Thomas are with us in the queue and when the waitress finds a table for 8 she offers it to us. Tiffany and Chloe decline the offer of joining us. “I don’t mind sitting with you sir, but you can have too much of a good thing.” Quite understandable given the amount of time poor old Tiffany has been lumbered with me.
After our meal we start to wander around the shops. We discover the equivalent of Singapore’s Poundland chain-the $2 shop and all the staff go in and pick up some bargains. When we come out I am ‘shopped out’ and tell the others I am going back down and will see them at the meeting place at 10pm. I notice a number of differences between here and back home. There are no chairs or benches to sit on anywhere. I assume it’s because when you are shopping, time can’t be wasted sitting down. My wife Helen and her mum, would be in their element!!
Another difference is that you hardly see anyone who is overweight. It may be their diet (I’ll have to start eating more noodles), the climate, or the pace of life. The pace of life is obviously hectic. When you walk along the street about half the people walking towards you are on their phones. It’s remarkable that there aren’t more collisions between pedestrians.
At 10pm, we walk back to the hotel and have a briefing at 10.30pm with details of tomorrow’s arrangements-a big day our first matches.
Five students are all 2 or 3 minutes late and will have to stay behind for 10 minutes.
After the briefing Mr Thomas organises the second Donkey of the Day vote. There were 9 nominations;
Jack Soproniuk was nominated for locking his room key inside the room. He went to reception to get a replacement but when he returned he couldn’t work out why it didn’t work-he was trying the wrong door!
Lewis Hyatt was nominated for his numeracy struggles.
Callum Carson was nominated because he told the lads that they should go and find a local, traditional restaurant for food. After walking for ages he decided to eat at an American Diner.
Ethan Guy was another who felt it was important to savour the local cuisine. However, he almost choked on his first mouthful of noodles.
Ollie Quick was nominated for trying to push Rhys Baker into the pool, as he did so he slipped and fell in himself.
Ollie and Rhys Baker nominated Shanaye Grant because she offered them $80 if they jumped into the pool fully clothed. They did so, but Shanaye refused to pay.
Ollie and Rhys were nominated for being silly enough to believe that Shanaye would pay.
Mr Long also nominated Rhys Baker for being persistently late. The number of occasions was in dispute, but it was either 2 or 3, which was 2 or 3 times too many.
Finally, Mr Thomas nominated his son Ioan. Mr Thomas had put his phone in the front of his bag for safekeeping. Ioan told him not to put it there because it could get broken easily and took it out of the bag, as he did so, he dropped it and the face was smashed on the floor.
When the votes were counted, Lewis gained one, Ethan, Rhys and Ioan were given two apiece, Ollie Quick gained 6 but the runaway winner with 48 votes was Callum and he was duly presented with the shirt by Max.
After the meeting it was rooms by 11.15pm to prepare for tomorrow’s games.
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