Crazy Library Tour
18 May 2003 2:17 AM SGT (link)
I first wrote about it in February, and there were numerous updates to the plans.
- The Crazy Grand Amazing Library Race (17 Feb)
- The Library Race, continued (19 Feb)
- Progress on the Library Tour (3 Mar)
- Library Tour Final Decision (4 May)
- Eve of the Library Tour (16 May)
This of course leads to the report of the first tour that I did on 17 May 2003.
Side note: Notice the shift in terminology from "race" to "tour." That's because I found nobody was really interested to compete with me in doing this.
To visit all the branches of the national library in one working day, using buses, trains and my own two legs. In detail (and this was worked out over time):
- The branches are as follows: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Bukit Panjang, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang East, Jurong East, Jurong West, library@esplanade, library@orchard, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun - 22 in total.
- Queenstown was added although it is under renovation, because it would have been opened under normal circumstances.
- Bugis (the site of the future Central library) is not included because it isn't finished yet.
- The SAFTI MI library, which came under NLB management recently, was not included because it isn't really a National Library, and because I didn't want to be reminded of the SAF.
- Buses and trains means public buses (SBS Transit and Trans-Island Bus Services, the two biggest public bus companies here in Singapore) and the mass- and light rapid transit (MRT and LRT) respectively. So no private buses. Certainly no taxis or private cars: that would make the tour much less of a challenge.
- Working day means when the library you visit is open. In practice I decided that I would borrow a book from every library I visit, in order to get a receipt of the day and time I was there. The book could be returned at the same branch, or at the next branch, because I certainly won't want to be carrying 21 books at the end of the tour.
Side note: the Jurong East branch will be closed for renovations from 2 June 2003 to 2nd Quarter 2004. The Queenstown library will reopen in October 2003. For those who want a 20-branch version of the challenge, the time is approaching.
Read all the posts I linked to above. I used my Plan G - not that there are 7 plans: the six before Plan G didn't work out. (It should be more accurately called Plan 2.1, version 2 for Saturdays.) I chose the more difficult option of doing it on a Saturday because on Saturdays some branches (see below) open at 10 am instead of the usual 11 am. Despite the complications of most of these branches closing at 5 pm (instead of the usual 8 pm), I thought that such a tactic might just work: I start an hour later and leapfrog over the branches that close at 8 in favour of those that close at 5. You can find out the opening hours for each branch at NLB's site.
Here is the plan in its full glory. Please note that the library locations are plotted approximately depending on their distance from MRT stations, and this is not accurate in terms of geography. For instance, Cheng San (the blue dot in the north-east) looks closer to Toa Payoh than Ang Mo Kio when in real life it definitely isn't.
For the tour I carried a street directory, a bus guide, a clear folder to keep the library receipts, a notebook (the paper kind) to record the time of every significant event, and a water bottle. The street directory is Mighty Minds' 2003 edition - a very helpful directory in my opinion, because of its ring binding that allows you to keep to the page you want, and large-scale maps for the important places. Plus it's more colourful than its competition - that's not something to sneeze at; not everyone loves looking at maps all day long. The bus guide is Transitlink's 2002 edition; the 2003 edition is apparently delayed because of the delay of the opening of the North-east MRT. Of course, I used these two things (and the online edition of the bus guide) to do all the planning.
|9:00-9:26 am||My good friend - let's call him Jimmy - who wanted to go with me on a weekday tour, sends me off with breakfast. He is to guide me to Queenstown library before I go off on my own.|
Projected time of arrival: 9:30 am - ahead
When I first thought of doing this, I frankly also thought it was a bit of a cheat: to start at Queenstown outside of its normal working hours - indeed, the working hours of any library - so that I could really begin at Bukit Merah, my next destination, at 10. But what the heck, it worked well. The library is situated near the quiet Queenstown neighbourhood, and looks like a hawker centre with its blue pillars and open spaces (I'm told that used to be walls and windows).
|9:26 am||I am walking along Margaret Lane towards Queensway to catch a bus to Bukit Merah. It's funny: it's really a "lane" in reality; I had imagined something wider. Anyway I pass by Queensway Secondary School, which was in the papers some time ago because the architect responsible for its new look made some of the buildings slanted, making them seem like they were going to slip, and in general giving the building a more animated feel.|
|9:35 am||I catch bus 961 to go to Bukit Merah.|
|9:50 am||I reach Bukit Merah Community Library 10 minutes before they open. This is a good start. Around 10 people are milling outside the library with me. I take advantage of the extra time to make two calls, one to Jimmy, who told me I should get a drink or something, and my colleagues hard at work in the office - or not: I didn't reach them because they were out for break. It's shaping up to be a very hot day.|
Bukit Merah Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 9:58 am - behind
I make my first book loan, Michael Crichton's Timeline. Today I will borrow books by the man - I chose him mainly because there's a good chance his books are available at all libraries. The receipt shows 9:58:42 AM though - I decide I have to record the time I make the loans on my watch. I had hoped that to be unnecessary, but it's no big deal. So all "loan times" from now on will be the times I record from my watch.
|10:13 am||Reach Redhill MRT after a long walk in the hot sun. I'm starting to wonder whether my physical fitness will be enough to handle today's tour. 1 minute to the next west-bound train towards Jurong East.|
|10:18 am||Commonwealth MRT (2 stops from Redhill, heading west). I'm sweating profusely; didn't expect this (but of course, I should have). & I discovered that I've lost the plan schedule. I folded it up and probably dropped it halfway, maybe around Bukit Merah. Whoever finds it and takes a look at it is going to be one puzzled person :-) The route itself is safe: I've practically committed it to memory, but I'll miss the projected times of arrival at each stop. This means that I cannot check whether I'm ahead or behind en route, unless I call someone to confirm them. I'll also need to confirm the buses I should be taking later.|
Jurong East Regional Library
Projected time of arrival: 10:34 am* - slightly behind
I borrow Sphere. I'm no stranger to this library; it was the nearest one to my house before the one inside West Mall at Bukit Batok opened for business. It's still useful because it's the nearest "regional library", with more resources like videos and CDs, and a reference section. It's in its own two-storey building; the first houses the children's section, which I remember visiting a few times when I was younger. I'll miss it when it's closed for renovations in June.
* means I did not know the projected time of arrival; I'm filling it in later.
|10:39 am||From the Jurong East station, I call my colleague - let's call him Tenshi - for help about the projected times and confirming the bus numbers; he can help because there's a copy of my plan in the office computer. However, he can't help me immediately as that computer's not booted yet. I say I'll call later. I take an east-bound train.|
|11:09 am||I arrive at City Hall station to walk to library@esplanade. This is going to be interesting - a library that's open which I've never visited before.|
Projected time of arrival: 11:08 am* - behind
It's a very nice place, befitting the title of the library for the arts. However I am still able to find Crichton here - at the Movie Tie-ins section - who would have guessed? I borrow Congo. The baby grand in the middle of the library looks extremely inviting, but I know I'll drive everyone away if I laid my hands on it; kindly donated by Christofori, the plaque said, I think. Even the toilets have the dim lighting that works well in showrooms but prove to be a torture when installed in homes where people actually have to live with them. Anyway I have to find a phone to call the office again.^
^: I don't own a handphone, so I have to hunt for public phones for such emergencies.
|11:22 am||I catch the bus 171 to go to Central (Stamford Road). There's no one else but the driver and a lady, who seem to be busy chatting about something. It's rare to see 171 nearly empty.|
Central Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 11:28 am* - on the dot
Another familiar place. I like it for the scorebooks they have, even though I can't play anything great. I borrow Eaters of the Dead - I'll review all these books some other time.
I finally called Tenshi at the office, after promising to do so soon after the call at Jurong East. He says that I'm ahead by 20 minutes at Central (11:48), but now I see that he actually misread my plan (11:48's actually for Orchard). I asked & he provided the estimates for the following "crucial" libraries: Toa Payoh, 12:04 pm; Marine Parade: 1:19 pm; Pasir Ris: 2:56 pm. (These times are correct though.) I was very aware that the estimate for Ang Mo Kio library was 5:20 pm, which is terrible because it closes at 5 pm. I was hoping to get the 20 minutes somewhere, somewhere! along the way.
|11:31 am||I leave Central after the phone call; I spent 3 minutes on a single phone call?!|
|11:32 am||I catch the bus 7 towards library@orchard (inside Ngee Ann City: Takashimaya).|
|11:42 am||I am opposite Takashimaya. This is much too slow; I remembered a trial run I did before (using bus 106) which only took 5 minutes to get from Central to the Orchard area. There was also a disastrous time when I was going home from Central where the bus got stuck in a massive traffic jam and it took 20 minutes to cover this short distance.|
Projected time of arrival: 11:48 am* - on the dot
The usually wide-open library@orchard doors are mostly shut today, so that they can implement the rule that I complained about before - asking their browsers to leave their identity numbers behind if they hadn't borrowed any books. I won't face this problem today, but it still makes me wince to see them implement it. I borrow The Terminal Man; it's not that I'm trying to borrow as many different titles as possible, but it has just worked out that way.
|11:53 am||I'm at the Orchard MRT station, 2 minutes to my next north-bound train. I'm still sweating, and getting a bit tired of the whole thing. Not just physically tired - I felt that at Redhill already - but the kind where you ask why you're doing this.|
|12:00+ pm||I've arrived at Toa Payoh, but the air-conditioned MRT station and bus interchange are making navigation difficult. I think I wouldn't have this problem if I'd brought along someone who knew his way around Toa Payoh.|
Toa Payoh Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 12:04 pm* - behind
I finally found the damn place after walking in the wrong direction for a while (north from the station, when it should be east). A massive concrete courtyard faces the front of the library, and going in, I find it quite crowded. I borrow Disclosure - yet another title! The adult fiction section is on the second storey.
|12:20 pm||In returning to the MRT station, I managed to walk the long way again, this time skirting the HDB Hub. This is bad. Toa Payoh dwellers, stop sniggering. Now I await the south-bound train.|
|12:32 pm||I have switched to an east-bound train, heading for Aljunied station. In the last train I took, I missed seeing a guy right in front of me who was carrying his baby kid, and the lady next to me gave up her seat for him. I'm perfectly willing to give up my seat to those who need it more, but somehow I'm always too distracted to see them.|
Geylang East Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 12:42 pm* - behind
Aljunied is a quiet station mainly because the area is populated by office blocks. I walk alongside the raised MRT track to get to Geylang East. I first looked for the bookdrop, but it turns out that it's located at the back of the small building, and one is helpfully directed to it by wall lights presumably installed by the staff. I borrow Timeline. (Useless fact: copies of Timeline with the silver tinge are published in the USA; copies with the blue tinge in the UK.) I then walk back the same way. My legs are really starting to complain now.
|12:52 pm||I am back at Aljunied station, and I call Tenshi at the office again, the last time when he's still at the office, at least. 2 minutes to the next east-bound train. I'm thinking of resting at Marine Parade or Bedok, and getting some lunch.|
|1:00 pm||I arrive at Eunos station and proceed to the Sims Avenue bus stop outside. A lot of buses call at this bus stop, but the one I'm looking for, number 13, hasn't showed up. And I've run out of tissues for wiping off my sweat.|
|1:08 pm||I am on 13 at last.|
|1:14 pm||At a traffic junction, the bus engine stalls and together with it the feeble air-conditioning. What a day for a bus I take to break down! Fortunately it doesn't - the bus driver gets the engine back, and we resume our journey.|
|1:18 pm||I reach the bus stop diagonally opposite the Marine Parade library, which shares its building with the community centre. It's a funky-looking one. LED panels stretching across its facade exhort passers-by to "keep Marine Parade SARS-free".|
Marine Parade Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 1:19 pm - behind
I borrow The Terminal Man again. I skip the bookdrop because there's a small sign leading to it & I'm afraid it's in some hard-to-find place like at Geylang East.
|1:28 pm||I board bus 31 at the same bus stop that's diagonally across the Marine Parade library.|
Bedok Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 1:57 pm* - ahead
I reach the Bedok library and borrow Timeline. I believe Timeline has the most number of copies among all the National libraries, just like it did in the bookstores when it was released. US-published versions, UK-published versions, large-print versions etc.: expect to see a resurgence of that when the movie comes out. Ironically, it isn't Crichton's best book.
|1:51 pm||I just realised that I walked the long way to the Bedok library yet again. It's some blocks away from the MRT station but can be reached in less than 5 minutes. Bedok interchange (which I pass by) looks familiar but I can't place it in my memory - I probably came here many years ago en route to a friend's home to visit.|
|1:56 pm||I'm on an east-bound train to Tampines station. I'm really feeling quite weak now and must definitely stop at Tampines for some food and drink, not to mention tissues. It's not that I want to starve myself for the tour, but as I said, the plan is actually 20 minutes too slow, and that doesn't include any time for meals, certainly not ones that take very long.|
|2:00 pm||While en route to Simei I saw a bench press outside the foreign construction workers' quarters, at a site located very near the MRT track. You must be on the train to see it; probably can't see it standing outside. It's really interesting, like something out of an art movie - a bench press out of nowhere, sitting there in the hot sun, in the empty space behind the quarters. If anyone's taking that route, keep your eyes peeled for it.|
|2:04 pm||I reach Tampines station. They are installing lifts in almost all the above-ground MRT stations to better cater to the handicapped, and Tampines's is open, and it's transparent so you can see the gears & machinery and the grinning people in the lift.|
|2:06 pm||MacDonalds at Tampines Mall is very crowded. I resort to putting my food on another chair. I imagine I'm getting weird stares from others. But no matter: they're not running a race. Oh and I call Tenshi again. He's on his way home (in the Northeast) of course.|
Tampines Regional Library
Projected time of arrival: 2:23 pm* - behind
A short walk from Tampines Mall (short compared to, say, Ang Mo Kio or Toa Payoh). I was initially confused about where the adult fiction section was, because the staircase leading to the second storey is pretty hidden from view (it's to the left when you step into the library). I borrow The Thirteenth Warrior - actually the movie tie-in version of Eaters of the Dead, with Antonio Banderas on the cover. I liked the book, by the way, but I haven't watched the movie yet; they say it sucks. I also take the chance to refill my water bottle.
|2:28 pm||Just outside the library, I catch bus 15 in the nick of time. That's great because its frequency isn't that great. Onward to Pasir Ris!|
Pasir Ris Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 2:56 pm - ahead
As bus 15 pulls into Pasir Ris bus interchange, I see the dreaded "Pulau Tekong" on a TIBS bus - it's a charter service for SAF personnel, mostly recruits, from the interchange to the ferry terminal where there's a ferry to the island. As I tell everyone, for guys younger than 18, Pasir Ris reminds them of chalets. After 18, it reminds them of Tekong. Anyway I make my way to the library, and I borrow The Thirteenth Warrior again.
On walking out some students seemed to be ignorant or unsure of the rule for browsers to leave your particulars, and the staff in charge said "scared ah?" Now that was really offensive. Oh, of course we should have no fears or worries about giving our private information to someone who gives no guarantee on its confidentiality except "trust us." I shall have to add that to the extended letter I'm planning to write about the NLB rule.
|2:47 pm||I go to the bus stop opposite White Sands (the shopping centre where the library is) to wait for 89. Here's another bus with a notoriously low frequency. But it's a welcome break, especially when I'm happy to know that I'm ahead.|
|2:59 pm||It's a very long wait. And at the end of it probably 2 or 3 buses of the same number will show up.|
|3:01 pm||On 89 at last. I have 2 hours left to cover 3 libraries.|
|3:20 pm||I stop near Sengkang Central and walk in. It's another long walk in the hot sun. One little problem with new estates is that all the trees are young and so provide negligible shade. To make things worse, there aren't any trees here.|
|3:24 pm||I'm still looking for the Sengkang library. It's not really clear where the bus interchange cum MRT/LRT station ends and the shops and eateries begin.|
Sengkang Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 3:44 pm* - very ahead
So it's on the fourth floor. I borrow The Lost World. There's a man in a suit who's doing the checking of particulars on your departure.
|3:30 pm||OK I'm beginning to lose it. I tapped my ezLink card to get past the gantry to the MRT/LRT, then I wonder why the doors leading to the MRT are blocked with potted plants. The MRT's not open yet: that's why. Somehow I was executing a plan where the Northeast line was open and I could use that to get to Cheng San library. Then I tap it again to get out, and finally find the interchange. I will have to do the accounts to find out whether I was charged anything for that.|
|3:35 pm||I am on the SuperBus (for the uninitiated: an SBS air-conditioned double-decker bus) 87, heading to Hougang Central.|
Cheng San Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 4:22 pm* - exceedingly ahead, but I didn't know it then
There's a promotion for Nestle Omega-Plus something-or-another in Hougang Mall, and I make my way to the third floor using the escalators after giving up on the lift. I borrow Timeline yet again.
|4:00 pm||I walk the short distance to Hougang Central interchange. I make two calls - one to Tenshi, who gasps and says that he's at Sengkang with his digital camera, all ready to welcome my arrival, except that I had already gone there and left; and Jimmy, just to update him on my progress. With 1 whole hour to make it to the crucial Ang Mo Kio library before it closes at 5, I am very optimistic of success.|
|4:05 pm||It all comes down to the 165 I'm aboard now.|
|4:22 pm||I stop opposite the Ang Mo Kio MRT station. Now for the long long walk to the library. I remember I budgeted 15-20 minutes for this.|
Ang Mo Kio Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 5:20 pm - exceedingly ahead, and I knew it!
I made it! Though the borrowing queue is long (because the library's about to close), I manage to finish my loan of Sphere not only before 5 but also 40 minutes ahead of my schedule. Oh, this library has the new line of iMacs deployed as OPAC (catalogue) stations - you know, like the one which stuck its tongue out in the ad.
|4:49 pm||I'm really dragging my feet now. The Ang Mo Kio library is beside a garden and near a very large carpark and this building with cinemas, Breeks!, Seoul Garden and MOS Burger. It's tempting, but it would be sheer folly to eat at, of all places, MOS Burger. Anyway I reach Ang Mo Kio MRT, 3 minutes to the next north-bound train.|
|5:02 pm||I am heading to Yishun.|
|5:05 pm||I am at Yishun bus interchange to take 804, a feeder bus to take me to the library. I buy & drink a little bottle of Yakult to keep my spirits up.|
|5:08 pm||804 arrives.|
Yishun Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 6:05 pm* - exceedingly ahead
The library shares the building with the Sembawang Town Council. No, actually it takes up a slice of the side of the building, and I think it's actually smaller than even the Bukit Batok library. This is special because it's the last library on this tour which I haven't visited before. I borrow something new for the day: The Andromeda Strain.
|5:20 pm||I wait for 804 to take me back to Yishun MRT. Bus 800, which also stops here, opposite the library, actually goes on a merry tour of Yishun before finally returning to the interchange, so I won't be taking that.|
|5:26 pm||It's here at last. The rapidly setting sun is making me sweat profusely again. I am flying blind now, without any estimates of when I should arrive at which libraries - just the ultimate deadline of 8 pm for most of them, including Jurong West, my last stop.|
|5:32 pm||The next train northwards from Yishun in 2 minutes.|
|5:39 pm||I reach Sembawang MRT. That took longer than expected.|
Sembawang Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 6:34 pm* - exceedingly ahead
I borrow The Lost World. This is only the second time I have visited this library. There seem to be more kids here than in the average branch.
|5:51 pm||I'm confused by the escalator and lift layout in Sun Plaza, and hence I'm slow to arrive at Sembawang MRT. If that didn't happen I would have caught the previous train - now I must wait 5 minutes. I make a call to xycodex - new character, yes - who says he's at home. I tried to call him earlier to see if he was around Woodlands or somewhere, so I could meet him.|
|5:58 pm||Passing through Admiralty MRT: all new HDB flats here.|
|6:00 pm||Woodlands MRT. I'm going on autopilot now - feeling a bit hungry.|
Woodlands Regional Library
Projected time of arrival: 6:49 pm* - exceedingly ahead
Again a library I've visited before, in fact, many times. It's a whopping 4 storeys, and there's a fountain near the entrance which makes it look like a hotel lobby. There are always a lot of students studying here, on all the floors. I proceed to the third floor for Crichton's Airframe, another new title for the day.
|6:13 pm||I think I'm losing it. I wanted to take the lift inside Woodlands library, but I stood there stupidly for half a minute before noticing the "under maintenance" sign. And then I enter Woodlands MRT station only to remember that I was supposed to take either 187 or 963 to Bukit Panjang, at the bus interchange just below the station.|
|6:14 pm||The TIBS information system says that the next 963 will arrive at 6:30 (?!). That must be a mistake: from my experience at Bukit Batok, sometimes this system displays the arrival time for the next bus, when actually the one that's supposed to show up now or a minute later hasn't shown up yet.|
|6:18 pm||Lie! 963 has arrived.|
|6:30 pm||It's a race! 187 has just passed us by on the BKE(xpressway) (near the intersection with the KJE).|
|6:34 pm||We part company with 187. I'm now thinking I should have taken 187. 963 goes through a part of the Bukit Panjang estates while 187 drives through it to get to Choa Chu Kang, but 187 will reach Bukit Panjang Plaza faster.|
|6:39 pm||I get off 963, opposite Bukit Panjang Plaza. The library's inside.|
Bukit Panjang Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 7:27 pm* - exceedingly ahead
I borrow Jurassic Park. Sometime back I did a small trial run of how long it would take me to visit Bukit Panjang library, then go to the LRT station and take the train to Choa Chu Kang, then visit Choa Chu Kang's library. It took me 20 minutes then, although I thought that can be cut by at least 2 minutes.
|6:44 pm||I make the exact same mistake I made at the trial run: I got out of the lift at Level 1 when actually it should be Level 2. It's the weird construction of Bukit Panjang Plaza: the front entrance goes to Level 1 while the back leads to Level 2, and I always think the latter's Level 1.|
|6:49 pm||I board the LRT train to Choa Chu Kang after a walk to the LRT station. The traffic junction outside Bukit Panjang Plaza is quite unusual in its behaviour (from the pedestrian's point of view, that is).|
|6:58 pm||I reach Choa Chu Kang. The purpose of the trial run was to make sure I didn't screw up and take the LRT train in the wrong direction. And it worked: I didn't get lost or confused. The LRT trains have the unique behaviour of misting whenever they approach HDB flats, so that the flatowners can have their privacy. It's quite nifty, although it makes the windows take on the general tone of 100-Plus.|
Choa Chu Kang Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 7:45 pm* - exceedingly ahead
I take the escalator up to the third floor because the lift is slow to arrive - that's something I confirmed during my trial run. Timeline again.
|7:06 pm||I have arrived outside the Choa Chu Kang MRT station again, but the display says the next train will only arrive 7 minutes later. That's worrying - I have less than an hour to complete the tour (with two libraries left), and every minute counts. I set the unofficial goals of 7:15 pm for Bukit Batok and 7:35 pm for Jurong West.|
|7:08 pm||Waiting, waiting - no, it has arrived!|
|7:10 pm||The scenery's wrong: I've gone in the wrong direction! This is definitely the worst, most embarassing screw-up today - I think the hunger's really getting to me. I mean, no wonder the train came before the 7 minutes were up.|
|7:11 pm||So now I'm at Yew Tee and I have to wait for the next train 5 minutes later. I think I will lose at least 10 minutes from this bad error. Now it could be very close at Jurong West. The funniest thing was that someone asked me to confirm that the train would be going to Jurong East. I'm sure he would not be asking me had he known what I was even doing at Yew Tee.|
|7:16 pm||The train has arrived. Now every second counts. It has been 13 minutes since I left Choa Chu Kang library and I'm nowhere near my next stop.|
|7:18 pm||I reach Choa Chu Kang MRT, again. To pass the time, I've done up a template with 19__ time entries.|
|7:21 pm||Pass by Bukit Gombak MRT - very familiar territory to me.|
|7:24 pm||Bukit Batok MRT!|
Bukit Batok Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 8:00 pm* - This is when my Plan G fails
There is still hope. I borrow Sphere, and manage to squeeze my way out past the long queue of would-be Sakae Sushi diners that's just next to the library. Now if I don't make any more navigational boo-boos I should succeed.
|7:30 pm||Back at Bukit Batok MRT, for my last ride. The train comes in 4 minutes.|
|7:38 pm||I reach Jurong East MRT to change to a west-bound train. That took longer than expected. But I'm quietly confident.|
|7:42 pm||Chinese Gardens MRT.|
|7:44 pm||Lakeside MRT. Going as expected: 2 minutes per station.|
|7:46 pm||Boon Lay MRT - now for the mad rush to the Jurong West library. 14 more minutes!|
Jurong West Community Library
Projected time of arrival: 8:23 pm* - My Plan G fails, but the tour succeeds!
Ah, the sweet smell of success. Although I face the closing-time crowd as I did in Ang Mo Kio, I have won! And what's more, I manage to borrow Rising Sun, a book I actually didn't dump into the bookdrop because I want to read it first.
Funny, I almost expected a welcome party, but everyone in the Jurong West library is oblivious to my great achievement. Imagine you were running a marathon and at the finishing line there's just a picnic and nobody knows what you just won. I go downstairs to find some dinner to alleviate my gastric pains. Not that great a way to end.
(It's late, so I'll fill in the details some other day)
- I achieved my goal with 9 minutes to spare - hooray!
- I spent about the amount I estimated, $10 for the train rides
- I borrowed (& then returned) 20 books by Michael Crichton
- I haven't counted this, but I think I borrowed Timeline the most
- I probably didn't mess up their database or something with all these loans, because I used three cards (though I didn't need to)
- The borrowing stations' time is about 5 minutes slower than mine - nearly every time
- Don't lose the plan if you can help it
- But in case you do, keep it in your head so you still know where to go
- It's incredibly tiring, especially after walking long distances in the hot sun
- Hence it isn't that fun when you're actually doing the tour
- It's satisfying, though, when you end it successfully
- I got new insights on the NLB rule that I will incorporate into my extended letter
- & learnt what hunger can do to your navigational abilities (but at least I didn't lose because of it)
I know I said here that I will be doing the weekday version on the 26th, but frankly, after today's exhausting experience, I think I've had enough.
The Crazy Library Tour is something one person should do once and once only to show it can be done, so that the blessed rest of humanity need never consider doing it. :-)
I will look at where the bottlenecks were, and where I grossly overestimated the time needed. I think I'll also look at exactly how much I spent.