A Sunday in Singapore

Everytime I hear about Singapore, I hear how “clean” it is.  How many fines there are for everything (like chewing gum.  You can’t buy it any where!).  So you kinda have this expectation when you go there.  There are quite a few signs in the subway station that say don’t eat/drink on the subway/platforms and yet I saw a lady do just that.  Being an obvious foreigner, I try to be mindful of such things and them simply observe the reality that appears.

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Burning trash (paper only?) On the street.  I saw a few of these around. And not in “rough”areas either.

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No city is perfect.  This was taken from a window in the hostel we stayed at.  Sure not street facing but then again, Singapore is starting to get a little”rough around the edges”.  Sure it had all these fancy, funky buildings but those are few compared to the rest of the place.

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Saw this tree with a very weird thing growing on it.  If anyone knows what it is, feel free to speak up.  No, it didn’t quiver when I walked by.  Wouldn’t that be a story eh? “Blogger eaten by a Singaporean tree fungus….”

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So let’s take a little stroll thought a Chinese mythological park shall we?  Haw Par Villa.

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I’m not even going to try to explain this one….

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This is the gate to the 10 levels of Hell.  Ohhh….they are special.  So much so that they deserve their own album.  You are really in for a treat once I am able to make the album.

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Asia had some weird myths……just freaky stuff….

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Aren’t you glad you subscribed to this blog now?  But wait….there’s more!

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Yes….that’s an old woman breastfeeding…..as I said….weird.

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Ok, some of the more serious stuff.  This place is filled with really awesome depictions of famous events.

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One thing about being here is the country is multicultural.  It casually mixes East Indians, Chinese and Malays.  We spent a lot of time in the Little Indias of the areas we were in.  I wasn’t giving up a chance for butter chicken everyday!  :)  You really don’t understand how crowded some places are till you visit them.  This is a pic of “Little” India in KL to demonstrate.

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It was like walking through and endless sea of Indians, and I’m not exaggerating!

The good thing, I got one last meal of butter chicken and gaelic naan in before we left for the airport hotel.

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Because we are leaving on an 8am flight, we need a hotel close by the airport.  So we wake up Tuesday morning, and try to get to our final hotel.

Now, the hotel is near the airport.  I check and there are two trains.  One is direct to the airport (same one we took when we arrived) and one that makes 4 stops.  Since one of those stops seems near the hotel, i figure well take that and grab a cab.  We got told that there is no public transportation near there.  So, to the airport and then a bus to the hotel then.

First, we arrive on the first floor of the airport.  I ask where information is….5th floor.  I get there, ask where the buses are….1st floor. Fuuuuuuuu……seriously.

But wait….the bus driver didn’t know where our hotel is! “I’m new here”.  Despite reassurances from the airport staff that the bus driver will know where it was.  Ugh, so we wait till all other passengers are on and try again.  I show him the map on my Galaxy Tab which just seems to confuse him.  I try to name some other things on the map and another hotel rings a bell.  Ugh, finally.

But wait….there’s more(I feel I should be asking you for multiple payments of money by now….).  As the bus driver goes along, shifting gears and such, he’s also counting cash!  WTH?!  And why is he not wearing his glasses when we first got on?  Sigh, we eventually get to our hotel without careening off into a Malaysian ditch.

Sadly, the “YouniQ” (unique) hotel is on a kinda deserted area.  Only one little restaurant open, with a dismal selection of food, and a convenience store that’s more convenience than store.  After a bit of spicey chicken fried rice, we head back to our room and set the alarm for 445am, so we can make the 5am breakfast and get on a 6am shuttle to the airport.

Well, if you guys are lucky, I might have more crazy things our PCs….if you are unlucky, you’ll just get a bunch of pics that didn’t get posted here yet :D

Friday in KL

Today we spent as a fluff day.  Just kinda relaxing and checking out the area around our hotel.  This is our third hotel white here and probably the best one we will have.  First this is a $300 room we got for $50 on Agoda.  We have been booking all of our non-pre-planned stays through this app.  In fact, it is cheaper to actually do so than by asking at the counter of the hotel to stay an extra night!

This room was rather large :)

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It also had a decent view too.

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Next stop, Singapore!

Mixed bag of elation

We have been pretty spoiled with the inter-city busses in Korea.  I mean how m much more relaxed can you get than this?

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This pic was taken in 2007 when my wife cane to Korea by herself and I came for a visit. Still, the busses have reclining seats and a swing out leg support as well. How do you beat that?

When I saw “Massage bus” sticker on the bus wee were about to get onto for Singapore I was both curious and happy. These seats have massagers built in!

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They are also very comfy…

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…and bright.

I was going to be supper happy when I saw this:

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It seems they either don’t work or the bus driver hadn’t turned them on….not getting power to charge my tablet :(

In any case, it will be a nice 5hr bus ride.

Time and money management while on vacation

Too many people go on vacation with credit cars and even loans, then spend years trying to pay it off.  I once heard T Harv Eker say “You are borrowing from your future to pay for your past!”  Since we left Canada, we have only owned pre-paid Mastercards.  I feel these are a much more sane way to use a credit card as the only amount available on the is what you put there.  This makes you much more aware of your finances as you generally don’t want too tie up large sums of cash just sitting around in MCs account and letting them collect the interest.  So you usually only have a couple of hundred there for casual use and “pay” your credit card when you know more will be needed.  The only downside it’s that it can take a few days for the money to transfer.  This is done on purpose by the banks because it’s not a technical lack that the transfer is so slow. This slowness allows the money to sit in some bank account, collecting interest from it’s use I’m sure, by the banks and/or credit companies.  How do I know this?  Because in South Korea, bank transfers are the norm.  Handing out bank accounts is perfectly acceptable and common practice to move money and it’s instantaneous.

Now, back to vacations.

So, we came to Malaysia with some money on the card and the rest in cash.  No, we don’t walk around with it all in our pockets.  We do make use of the safe provided in the rooms we book.  Mitigating any potential problems due to loss of money.

Unless you are in an all-inclusive resort, you really don’t know how much you will need.  You can book rooms ahead of course, search online for other peoples experiences but it’s really only clear once you are in the place you are going. We have come to the point where we really have to manage our money carefully. The “holiday honeymoon” phase is over. That’s the state where your are in a new pace, want to experience new things, so you spend. With 8 days left, we can’t afford to just spend as we please now. We haves booked all the places we need to stay now but we are just not going to do any frivolous trips. While that one day trip was nice, it also was pretty expensive, relatively speaking.

Luckily the only things we have top spend money on is food, and food is pretty cheap here. We have averaged less than $20/meal for the both of us and we have eaten pretty good! So we will have a roof over our heads without worry. Extra stuff to do? Not sure, but we won’t be lacking of things to see and stories to tell regardless :)

Like this funky coloured Red Bull can.

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I had to try it out. Tastes just fine and a cute little can too.

Back home if you wanted milk in your coffee our tea, you would say “coffee with milk” our “tea with milk”. Not so much in the east. Both Korea and other Asian countries we have been to call them “milk coffee” or “milk tea”. Annoyingly, at those “instant” machines in Korea, you can get “milk coffee, milk tea, sugar coffee, sweet tea[same thing]” but you can not get “coffee with milk and sugar”! Really annoying. So I get one of both and just mix :/ Here in Malaysia you also see “white coffee”

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This is actually sweet, which leads me to reaffirm the belief they use condensed milk. This tasted just fine and cost 2.60 Ringgits, or about $0.83.

So right now we are just killing some time before getting on a bus to Penang at 4pm. Lunch is at The Chicken Rice Shop.

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We got the 2 Combo Chicken deal. One chicken is Honey BBQ and the other is Crispy Roast. Total cost, 17.20 Ringgits, or about $5.50.

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For the cost, this was a decent meal.

Just a casual day today

Mostly we jusy planned and bought tickets for a coupe off trips.  One to Penang and the other to Singapore :)

We revisited the Central Market to spend some real time there browsing all the shops but today I was also extremely tired.  Not sure if it was just the heat or the walking we did so far on the trip but by 8pm, I was ready to collapse.

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The market place is huge and you can easily get your fill of trinkets both cheap and gaudy.  There is no end to the amount of local batik clothing and a decent food court as well.

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If you have never tried Durian fruit, you are missing out.  I’ve really only had it once and it was good.  This sign was in our elevator.  The reason it is there if because the fruit shell stinks like hell warmed over.  One of those “defense mechanisms” I suppose.  Yet the taste it totally surprising.  Still, it is popular here and they don’t want it stinking up the hotel.  I recall when Toronto passed a law banning the fruit on public transportation because of the smell.  If toy get a chance, try it out!

Today was a big one!

I’ll have to do a separate post for each of the bigger sites we hit because the mobile app only lets me upload one pic at a time and I can’t do pic albums.  So, for now, you’ll get teaser pics till I am near a PC.  Might not be till I get back though ;)

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This is the King’s palace museum.  The King is really just a diplomat here.  No real power at all.  He greets heads of states and such but the Prime Minister runs the show in this country.  The king used to live here but they built a new place for this position, which changes Kings every 5 years.  We weren’t allowed to take any pics inside (kinda goofy not to allow it really…) So this its all you get.

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Here we have a traditional village house that you might find a couple of hundred kilometers outside of the main cities.

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I can’t really resist animals. Especially when they smile with me.

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I have a strong fascination with medieval weapons. This Dragon Canon from the national museum looked pretty awesome.

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I was glad we got to see the national Islamic museum. I am just floored by the artwork in these old Quoran books.

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Me and this guy became great friends! And I have the video to prove it! You’ll have to wait for it :) The KL Bird Park is quite large!

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This is one big statute at the Batu caves. See this steps behind the statue….keep reading the blog and you’ll see the entertainment on the way up those 272 steps and what’s at the top.

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And of course, more butter chicken from a different Indian restaurant for supper! Mango Lassie included ;)

160km/hr! (100mph for you US readers)

That’s what the brochure said for the train that runs between the airport (kinda) and the downtown city of Kuala Lumpur.

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First we had to take a shuttle bus to get to the train but that was included in the price and was only 20mins.  Over all, it was an hour to get to KL Sentral station.  It cost 12.50 Ringgits, which is about $4.  There was a direct bus from the airport cost 8 Ringgits (about $2.50) but I felt the train would be easier with luggage and space.  It was a good call and I did clock the speed at 140km/h at one point.

What was kinda neat is that to get off the train, the doors didn’t open till you pressed/touched a button on them.  Smart way to save some AC costs by not having to open the doors all the time.