I took leave today and went to East Coast Park for a walk. The last time I was there was when I went cycling with Sayang and the rest. That time I fell from my bicycle and had not been back since. The fall left a shadow in my heart and I had not rode a bicycle since then. So when I revisited this place of painful memories, I decided to take it easy and just walk as it seemed to be the safest thing to do. Definitely not something dangerous like cycling.
To my surprise, I found East Coast Park to be nearly empty of people. There were long stretches of the path where I did not see anyone. This was so different from the East Coast Park I remembered that it felt like I had stepped into a different place. There were no noisy groups of people, no kids running all over the place and no crazy cyclists who swerved into your path without warning. It was quiet and peaceful.
It was a bright sunny day but because there was a constant breeze it was not as hot as I thought it would be. In fact, I sweated more walking through the housing estates to get to East Coast Park than in East Coast Park itself.
I walked east towards the eastern end of the park. My plan was to walk from one end of the park to the other. It looked doable on the map but the ends were much further apart in reality. I passed by the Bedok Jetty and was surprised to find a lot of people fishing on the jetty. There was little shelter along the jetty but the fishing enthusiasts did not seem to be bothered by the hot sun.
Some of them were well prepared and looked quite comfortable. I wondered if fishing was just a way to laze around the whole day and yet look as if you were actually doing something.
As I walked, I could hear the birds singing. Judging by the different bird calls, there seemed to be quite a few different types of birds living in East Coast Park. However, most of the time they were hidden in the leafy foliage so it was quite hard to see them.
Around one hour and 7 km later, I reached the eastern end of the park. Then I turned around and walked back the way I came to reach the other end of the park.
I was feeling a little tired by now and had to rest more often. I sat by the sea and watched the waves. The sight of the waves hitting the sand triggered an old memory of my Geography teacher’s voice. I was in Secondary 4 and my Geography teacher was teaching us about how waves, depending on the strength and the incline, could build or erode a beach. The details were hazy but I assumed the beach was being eroded by the waves because I could see several breakwater structures around me.
I could see one or two people windsurfing in the sea. I wondered if they also took leave to come to East Coast Park.
It felt really nice to be at the beach all alone. The weather was good; sunny with a constant breeze so it never got too hot and the tide was coming in.
I could stay here for quite a while, maybe even take a nap, but I had to move on. I wanted to reach the other end of the park before sundown.
In the end, I didn’t make it to the west end of the park. I walked another 7 km from the east end and ended up where I had started. By then I was feeling quite exhausted and so I threw in my towel and headed home. Although it was a little disappointing not to reach my goal, it was a good walk.