Malayasia: Penang Island

Malayasia: Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

The video is still uploading as of this time of writing.  Give it a few more minutes to process :)

This is a video of my new KL buddy:

And here we have a local disturbance in progress.

Oh, don’t mind these.  Just a couple of peacocks passing by.

(link coming soon)

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

Ooh, you want that COLD….

So we are sitting at the train station, 2hrs early, and I’m thinking, I’m going to need something to drink on the over night train back to Kuala Lumpur.  There is a local grocery store so I head on over there. 

On this trip, I tended to stay away from Cola drinks as a regular supplement to balance off the buckets we sweat while walking around bird parks, Little Indias and outdoor market.  I decided to go with those “powerade” type of drinks.  Here they call them “isotonic drink”.  While they have quite a number that are “cloudy but not clear” in coloring, they taste fine.

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I had a whopping $2.00SGD left to spend and this drink was labeled as $1.50.  Excellent!  I bring it to the counter to pay.  The lady says “That’s 15cents extras for cold.  Okay?”  I was stunned.  Was she trying to rip me off?  This was a large store, so that was unlikely.  I just replied “The label said $1.50.” and gestured with my thumb towards the coolers.  She basically repeated her statement and said “Sure, whatever.”  Then she scanned a barcode and charged me $1.65.

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It’s the little stories that make this(any) trip memorable.

Saturday night in Singapore

The bus to Singapore was interesting enough but the customs a bit of a pain.  Not that we had any troubles, just the having to get off the bus, twice (once for leaving Malaysia and once for entering Singapore) all within 10 mins of each other was a hassle.

Now that we are here, we can enjoy the sights.

We decided on a hostel to stay in this time. Never done this before, had some reservations about how “open” it might be but we lucked out (yet again) and found a place where we got our own room for about $60.  The room is nothing to really note but it’s clean and sleepable(I’m calling dibs on that word creation right there!). There are some interesting rules though:

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We did get 3 bottles of “room temperature” water for free, so not like we need any more. Love the “hire a towel” line.

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This is one of the coolest buildings I have ever seen.  Park View Square.  Don’t know the right term for the style but it is from a time where I’m sure I would have loved to have lived in a “big city”.  The building has such character.  I got a nighttime shot of it but it’s not too clear. I’ll see if I can try again tomorrow night.

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We found this kind of market area.  Lots of food, clothing and trinkets to buy.

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I heard about the electronics square where you can hey things for “10 – 20%” less than retail price.  I was seriously disappointed.  Prices weren’t all that different, and the variety was nice but eventually turned monotonous. 

Here is an example.  My wife is looking for a lighter laptop to eventually replace the one she has.  So we looked at a few and I decide to grab a shot of the price of one.

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That price is in Singapore dollars and is about $1032USD right now.  I did a search online and lookie what I found on a Canadian website:

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Which is about $200SGD less that a “non-retail” price.  If you are going to another country and considering buying something of value, you had better be prepared and go with some sort of internet-connected device to know what you can haggle for!  Coincidentally, the NewEgg one has more ram too.

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Singapore is very modern.  You won’t be wanting for much of anything from back home.  You have everything from Uni-Glo to McDonalds here.  There is always the ubiquitous 7-11 but the content varies a bit.  Occasionally you get a surprise machine showing up.

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Yeah, you saw that.  Instant mash potatoes and gravy….from a slurpy-type machine.  I am strongly conflicted on trying it.  On one hand, this just had to be gross.  On the other hand, where else can you possibly have such an experience for $0.81?  I’ll see how brave (or stupid?) I feel tomorrow.

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Now, this might seem a bit odd, for me to post a picture of a subway door here but having taken them so much, and seen all of Seoul’s styles, I was surprised to see the extravagance of stainless steel.  This was not s cheap install by any means and taking the subway is cheap here indeed (one of the few things that is so).

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So, onto the highlight of the night. The water show.  This is a display of water and light.  It is about 10 miss long (actually, closer to 12 according to the video below). It is worth the watch.

One last pic for this post. You probably heard off “photo-bombing” but in case you haven’t, that’s where you do something odd/funny/embarrassing to someone elses picture as they are taking it. I got the chance to do so and the girls got a big laugh from it. I asked for a copy and here it is :)

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