2012-07-27 1 103

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Fri 27 Jul 2012 in 1,103:
1.2910436, 103.6299855

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On the sidewalk beside an open field along Tuas View Crescent.




I only remembered to check today's coordinates during my lunch break at work and was pleasantly surprised to see that it appeared to be fairly accessible, aside from the fact that it was all the way on the other side of the island. I quickly Googled up directions to get there and nearly had a scare when I found out bus service 182 ran on a schedule, with the next bus only coming along at 8pm. Luckily that horror was short-lived after checking the more regular schedule of its other service 182M.

Once I finished work at 4.30pm I took the shuttle bus from Changi Airport Budget Terminal (where I work) to Terminal 2, and there I transferred to the East-West line where I took the train all the way to the other end of it, to Joo Koon MRT Station. As I walked out of the train station I became aware that I seemed to be the only one walking against the constant flow of people going into the station. What was I getting myself into, going to an industrial area that was likely to be deserted by now? 182M was scheduled to arrive at the bus stop at 6.13pm, and I was still walking there at 6.10pm. I was hoping that the bus would only arrive after I had reached the bus stop, but then I spotted 182M in the distance, approaching the junction. I started to run, frantically praying for a red light - and lucky me, the light turned red.

The bus was a non-air-conditioned one, which surprised me because I had so far thought it extinct by now. I moved to the upper deck, which was only about a quarter full of mostly Indian workers heading for the factories inside. The bus trip was fairly interesting, because I had hardly ever ventured to Tuas (no one really goes to Tuas unless you have to) and the route the bus took made it feel as if I was going towards Tuas Checkpoint and into Malaysia. Having no idea where to alight, I kept checking the Geohash Droid, taking note of the roads I passed, but I still ended up alighting at the wrong stop anyway.

It wasn't very far, and the walk turned out to be rather pleasant. A cool wind was blowing and the atmosphere was quiet and serene. I smiled at a security guard at his post as I passed by, and he asked me, "Jalan kaki?" ("Going by foot?"). I told him I had alighted at the wrong stop and waved goodbye as I walked on. As I approached Tuas View Crescent there was an odd yet rather fragrant soapy smell in the air. (An interesting thing about industrial areas is the various smells they have, depending on where you pass. Earlier on, along the bus route, occasionally it would smell of soil and fertiliser. My mum tells me, if you're at Boon Lay, you can smell biscuits and chocolate in the air from a confectionery factory nearby.) As I neared the geohash I passed a man on a bike. He glanced at me, as if wondering what I was doing there, but went on anyway, turning into the building close to the geohash.

When I finally got to the geohash and took a look around me I was momentarily speechless. The fields were thick with lalang (a type of grass), their feathery tops swaying lightly in the wind, and the setting sun cast a lovely orange glow on everything. I paused awhile to take it all in...and then the mosquitoes started attacking. Time to get on with it. As I wandered back and forth along the sidewalk trying to get the best GPS reading, the man came back, wheeling his bike beside him. He asked me for the number of the factory I was looking for, and I was briefly stuck on what to tell him. Do I explain what geohashing is to him? Do I tell him it's a school project, despite me clearly not looking like a student? I settled for just waving my hand vaguely in the air, telling him that I had already found it, with what I hoped was a confident enough smile on my face. It seemed to work, because he nodded and turned away back into the building. (Or perhaps he thought it best to back away...)

After a few quick snaps, I walked back to the nearest bus stop to catch the 6.54pm bus back to Boon Lay Interchange. Thankfully, the bus back was air-conditioned.