Takeaway

Why I loved my staycation

Pamposh Dhar | Updated on November 13, 2020 Published on November 13, 2020

A staycation in Singapore means just moving to another part of the city! - ISTOCK.COM   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Singapore resident counts her blessings — fresh air, views, birds, trees and good company

* This short break was enough for us to refresh ourselves and let go of the stress built up over the past several months of Covid-related restrictions

* I stepped out on to the balcony to catch a better glimpse just as a passenger jet flew right into the sunrise. We aren’t seeing that many planes these days, let alone one flying towards the rising sun! A most unusual sight!

After several months of being cooped up at home, even during the work-day, my husband and I decided it was time for a break. Foreign travel is difficult, not to mention risky, so we decided on a two-day staycation — a holiday spent in one’s home country or even home town — instead. In Singapore, that means just moving to another part of the city! But at least it would be a change from our routine.

After a bit of research, we found a club close to Singapore’s East Coast, with rooms for rent to non-members too. We teamed up with another couple and took two rooms. At registration, we were told we could not sit together in one room under the Covid-related regulations in force. And we had to have our masks on at all times outside our respective rooms.

With these restrictions, we were a bit sceptical about how much fun we would have on this staycation. But all my doubts melted away as soon as I entered the room assigned to us. It was nice enough, but the balcony, with its beautiful view of the sea, really made me feel I was on holiday. Even more so when I stepped out and smelt the fresh sea air.

It turned out to be a fabulous mini-vacation. It brought home to me two things: One, that physical fitness is not enough — mental and emotional well-being is important too; and two, that the simple pleasures of life are enough to make one happy! Fresh air, good views, the sight of birds, green trees, and the company of good friends — all these are immense blessings in our lives. This short break was enough for us to refresh ourselves and let go of the stress built up over the past several months of Covid-related restrictions.

But let the staycation unfold for you as it did for me.

On our first afternoon, we were blessed by the weather gods. The air is always cooler by the sea, but that afternoon was unusually pleasant, with a lovely breeze. We decided to make the most of this welcome break from the usual heat and humidity of Singapore by going on a long, leisurely walk in a green area by the seashore. In our first few minutes, we came across a whole lot of white parrots that had clearly chosen a particular tree as their hang-out of the moment. They seemed to be screeching in joy as they flew about the tree before finally flying away towards the sea.

Despite my mask, I felt freer just looking at those free birds — free to gather together and fly where they wished. With that, and the sea breeze, the views and the greenery by the coast, it seemed more and more like a wonderful holiday.

We had booked a table for dinner at a restaurant also overlooking the sea, but at a different point. We decided to leave early so that we could walk along a path hugging the coastline. We saw a few lights on the water where there were large boats, the lights creating a rather mysterious, almost ghostly effect. And we saw men wading in the water, with lights strapped to their heads, holding small fishing nets. This was intriguing — surely they couldn’t be trying to catch fish in this inefficient and uncomfortable way! We learnt later that they were probably looking for crabs, though no-one seemed to know for sure.

After dinner, we sat chatting with our friends by the sea. Before we knew it, our watches told us it was 2 am!

Back in the room, we left the curtains drawn apart. I wanted to catch some aspect of the sunrise in the morning. In a new place, I always wake up early, no matter what time I go to bed.

Sure enough, I woke up to see a brilliant sunrise. I stepped out on to the balcony to catch a better glimpse just as a passenger jet flew right into the sunrise. We aren’t seeing that many planes these days, let alone one flying towards the rising sun! A most unusual sight!

I could go on, but really the second day of the holiday just reinforced the first. Except that this time we saw magnificent hornbills. These large, rather exotic tropical birds seemed to put on a show for us just outside our balcony.

I marvelled at the way birds seem to enjoy our beautiful planet without feeling the need to exercise their will over it in any way. Given how much we humans have abused our planet in recent decades, I think the Earth is kind to allow us still to enjoy the beauty of nature, of a sunrise or sunset, of birds flying free.

Pamposh Dhar is a writer and editor based in Singapore

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Published on November 13, 2020
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