Thursday, January 11, 2007

Betel Box

is a backpacker's hostel in Joo Chiat. Walking by, I always wondered what went on in there. I heard good things about Tony, the owner. Apart from running this 24 hr operation, he finds the energy to personally conduct foodwalks for his overseas visitors and brings them out for tours in exotic parts of Singapore. With no business going in there, I've never gone in. Gary and I got to know Tony recently and he invited us to join him for his 43 km cycle ride around Singapore which happens on Sundays. Gary wanted to try out his new bicycle so off we went. Me, I just wanted to imbibe the energy of a backpacker's hostel on a lazy Sunday morning.

The briefing for the cycle tour started once we popped in. An international assortment of young people, bleary eyed but ready to adventure out for the 43 km cycle ride.


More interested in lazing, I cozied up to the surroundings.




Alix fitting right in.



We got a chance to hang out with Lucky the resident cat and Xuelun, a 23 year old who recently graduated from university but works at the Betel Box part time.


I asked Xuelun what life is like working in a place like the Betel Box. What is the first thing she does in the morning? She gamely answered "In the morning, guests look for three things. Internet, breakfast and laundry. Oh and clean toilets too."

And just as I was thinking of how cool it is working in a place like the Betel Box, I saw the future. The crayolas will become teens and one day, home will perform this function to them too. Internet. Meals. Laundry. Toilets. That didn't seem so cool. I am not sure that when the time comes, I will find it in me to have the good spirit of the people who run the Betel Box. Apart from tending to internet, meals, laundry and toilets....they are hospitable, maintain an open mind and find the energy to do fun stuff and go for explorations with their guests.

When the time comes, I certainly will remember the Betel Box and remind myself to be more like Tony and Xuelun and less like a grumpy old woman. Maybe we can even go backpacking together.

4 Comments:

Anonymous sesame said...

That's a cool place. We used to stay in such places when we went backpacking. In fact, this is much nicer. It would be lovely to operate a biz like this too, nicer if there is a little garden.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

I was wondering for so long who does this website... now I know!
Good to have you guys over on Sunday morning. Next time Carrie, come along. I think you'll enjoy it too.
Theres still the foodwalk that you guys might want to join in! (in fact, may be you guys want to run it for me!)
Take care, see you guys soon.

3:17 AM  
Blogger carrie said...

Sesame - I felt so young in there. It was the closest thing to actually backpacking and it made me miss the freedom to just pack up and go.
Tony - no way I can manage a 43 km cycle ride but food walk around our neighbourhood sound good!

4:51 AM  
Anonymous ivn said...

That's a good review. Will send my overseas friends over when they come.

8:32 AM  

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