Kuala Lumpa and Singapore

March 10, 2012 - Singapore, Singapore

Traded island paradise with city madness … sigh … I’m not a city girl at all, bring back the beaches! Got the night bus from Kuala Besut to Kuala Lumpa, which rolled in at a pleasant 5am – yawn. KL Petronas towersI quickly located the nearest nice hotel, and freshened up in their lobby toilets. Relaxed an hour or so in the lobby, and then enquired about their luggage storage for the day, which they happily had, assuming I was a guest! I’m not going to correct them otherwise!! I then hopped aboard the skytrain, and made my way to KLCC where the famous Petronas Towers rise up. My camera lens was playing up, after 30+ on and off’s, it decided to work, phew! I spent the morning wandering the parks that surround the towers, and I then hopped aboard the transit, and went to book my bus to Singapore for the next day. I continued to explore the city, and then collected my big backpack, and headed to Sam’s apartment. I found Sam on Couch Surf.org, and met her and her boyfriend, and we all hung out for the evening. We went down and along Bintang walk, where shopping and eating and money are everywhere. The towers were in the distance, and were lit up like nobodies business. It was amazing to see! George and AngelaI left the next day after another mornings window shopping session with Sam, and was all aboard the bus to Singapore to find Angela and George!

Singapore has been an amazing experience, lots to see and do, I was here a whole week – that’s 1/8th of my holiday!! I knew to expect a clean well organised city, but it really does amaze you with small practical things that you see here and there. The metro will only be confusing if you really are a stupid dumb blonde - It’s soooo simple, signs and arrows and light boards indicating where who when and why! The no smoking, no drinking, no eating, no littering on board is really the way to go, everyone abides by the rules because otherwise you’ll get a $500 - $5000 fine. Cameras are watching you from every angle possible, and even the citizens are giving you a second look if you as so much reach for that polo mint in your handbag! Chewing gum really is illegal on the island, they will confiscate it from you if you bring it across the border!

Air conditioning is throughout the city, it’s amazing that they haven’t yet placed a massive dome over the island to protect the inhabitants from the heat, the humidity, the rain and the sun! Anyway, even with all these rules and regulations, it really has been an experience! I had the pleasure of staying with Angela and George at their Clementi area apartment on the 22nd floor. They both showed me round the first weekend, and we spent the evenings together eating out, and returning to watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on tv (!).

I wandered the very expensive, highly exclusive Orchard road, where shoppers go insane with designer labels and expensive eating. I ducked in and out of the extensive inter-connected mall systems only to dodge the pouring morning rain! I visited Fort Canning park, walked the red brick road, and enjoyed the high park vistas. Ice cream sandwichClarke Quay around the river (reservoir system!) was a wonderful walk, all along cute shops, colourful buildings, ice cream carts selling $1 blocks of ice cream either as is, or in a slice of bread (very bizarre!). Marina Bay Sands HotelI walked around the marina, and was amazed by the Marina Bay Sands hotel, and its ground breaking architectural design. The attached mall and casino was something else to behold as well, just a phenomenal pristine environment. I spent a good part of a day in Singapore's Botanical Garden's, they were glorious, such a relaxing time wandering the extensive grounds.

Angela and I took the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) and the bus to the central north of the island to see the Night Safari. Lots of amazing wild animals from Asia and Africa, we saw hippos, hyenas, lions, tigers, many antelope species, hogs, flamingo’s, civet, leopard, rats (!) and elephants. The lighting was enough that we could see, but soft enough for the animals. It was a full moon that night, but the lighting was almost as if it was a full moon anyway!

Singapore SlingWe visited Little India, and China town, and had a cracking lunch at both on those days. 70th floor viewGeorge and I ventured up to the 70th floor of Swiss Otel, where the view of Singapore below was amazing of course! Angela and I partook in a Singapore Sling (it had to be done!) at the place where it was first created, Raffles Hotel. At $28 a glass, it was a first and last Singapore Sling for Claire.

Gold class cinemaOne night we went to the cinema, but not any cinema .. a gold class cinema! Let me explain … first of all, it’s a $38 per person admission, which you do for the experience!! The room holds 30 people, the seat is like a comfy cozy recliner you’d have in your living room, complete with a fuzzy blanket, and waiter service at your side throughout the showing! Unreal. We watched ‘This Means War’, it was a light daft film, but we enjoyed it non the less.

Now, the time has come, my 60 days are up, my care free travel days are over (for now!), It’s been an incredible experience full of amazing places, cultures, foods, drinks, and people. Angkor Wat and the Perhentians are in my top slots, both for strikingly different reasons of course. I loved having my Davey with me for the first 21 days, but my solo travel has been an incredible eye-opener. To see the world like this is something anyone with the opportunity should do. It’s not scary, it’s not dangerous, it’s independent and fun. If you believe all will be well, it will. If you think negative, then things will take a turn.

Throughout my time alone I had no plan, no schedule, no agenda. All I knew was when my Thai visa was up (15 days - lame!!) and when I had to catch my flight out of Singapore (now!! 1am of the 10th March!). I turned up at all the bus stations, I turned down silly expensive taxi touts, I booked my standard tickets there and then, I rode the back of a moto-cycle taxi to my short destinations. I stayed in $10 or less a night rooms or dorms, I couch surfed with 2 people through www.couchsurfing.org . I made friends, I hired scooters to get around, and I shared a taxi with a French couple away from Phnom Penh airport. I swam, I snorkelled, I scuba-dived! I increased my spice tolerance from a 4 to a 7 (out of 10!), fallen in love with mango's and passion fruit and I have successfully lived on rice and noodles almost every day of my trip.

How good it is to be alive, to see the world like this, to not sit at home all day and stare at the wall, to have had this amazing opportunity … wow, I am so lucky, so blessed, so grateful. Now, it’s time to board the flight, away from Singapore, away from SE Asia … up up and away. Back to my Davey, my Evey and Mr Kayu (dog!).

In the words of Mr Buble ‘’Let me go home’’ ….


Pictures

KL Petronas towers
George and Angela
Gold class cinema
Ice cream sandwich
 
 
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