Singapore!

What a huge city/country…

After an eight hour flight (I was expecting something much shorter from my memory of looking at the globe) we arrived to full darkness at 2:00 AM. Speaking of globes… before we left I aked Leesa-Maree to borrow one from school and bring it home to show everyone Canada versus Australia. She managed to find a little tiny one (about 10cm in diameter) that showed political boundaries from a few years ago and had a couple towns marked. Funny enough though, the ONLY town marked in the Northwest Territories was PINE POINT! Very odd of course, since Pine Point has not existed as a town for probably around twenty years! It was a mine town, and one the mine was closed all houses, buildings, power poles were removed when the mine shut down.

Singapore was quite an interesting visit for the few days we were there. Our plane arrived an hour later than scheduled which meant we arrived at the hotel about 1:00 AM! Yes, we were all tired and cranky. The plane was quite nice though… It was a boeing 777 with all the fix’ins. 10 seats accross a row and a fully customizable entertainment console in every seatback. This one was even better that the 747’s though because we could play networked games (checkers, backgammon ect) with each other. Plus these phones could call other passengers, dialled by seat number. What a great way for singles to meet up to possibly join the “MH club”.

The taxi (or “taksi” as they spell it here) system was pretty cool in that everyone lined up at a booth inside and prepaid the fare to whatever part of town you wanted to travel to.Very efficient and saves negotiating with (and/or getting screwed by) the individual drivers. The first thought as we emerged from the aic conditioned terminal building was dealing with the overwhelming heat and humidity. We all agreed that it was just as bad or even worse than Figi. Our second vivid impression of Singapore was while driving from the airport was watching a cab just ahead of us in the adjacent lane at a stoplight. A rear door causually opened and an early 20’s guy began expelling the contents of his stomache on to the pavement. Now, as one might imagine, we were not a little stunned to witness this after hearing so much about spitting in public and posession of gum being illegal in Singapore. Thus we were slightly relived to see that perhaps they weren’t quite as stringent a society as travel reports (both published and verbally from others) had led us to believe.

Our hotel was actually a large hostel complex with larger patio areas in front of each single story, “condo” style unit. There were many people milling around even in the wee hours when we were walking to our room. This unfiled fact would come to haunt us the next night. To check in we were actually dropped off at the wrong part of the resort. The driver had dropped us off at the slightly) nicer part of the resort complex. The night desk clerk there called the other officeo get an electric cart to pick us up.

We slept in the next day, and wandered a few blocks away to semi shopping complex called “Downtown East” for some 11:00 AM fast food breakfast. With a variety of western franchises and some local ones we chose an elaborate buffet place to pig out at. After walking back through to the main complex we decided to hit the waterpark there. It was smaller scale with a slant towards younger families. They did have two water slides which were rather tame with gentle curves compared to West Ed. This place did have a huge tube (8 passengers!) river ride which we had to force Luke to go on and all enjoyed a couple times together. The wave pool was very small, (even slightly smaller than the Millwoods pool) but right beside it was a two person tube half pipe. This was VERY cool! Alex went with me the first time and she was too speechless with fright to even scream!!! Somehow, (under deep coercion and trading a variety of privelidges) I even concvinced Claudette to go with me. Alex forgot to warn her mother NOT to go down first (with her back to the downhill slope and looking up at me) and all Claudette said she saw was my bulk blocking out the sun and sky above her as we went hurtling down at about a 75 degree slope. It is rather difficult to explain but I will try and find a website link.

That night the neighbors partied until a little after 4:00 AM. Worse was the fact that we had an adjoining door though which all noise easily flowed (in fact it semmed as though it might have been amplified!). My loving supportive wife refused to allow me to ask them to tone it down a bit or to even phone the front desk. We asked around the next morning and quickly realized that since most homes here were very small that this was a cheap way for friends and/or family groups to get together for a party. The room next door to us was completely vacant (and unslept in by the looks of it through the open curtains) so everyone just took a cab home when the party wound down. During the day as we had walked through, there were very large groups BBQing with charcoal in front of rooms which we knew could only sleep 4. Now we know better! It also probably didn’t help that we were booked in there during a weekend, never mind the fact that it was a long weekend!

Since we had originally only booked for two nights, when we decided to stay a third night we had to change rooms. Also in this area was a small amusment park called escape. It also had most rides for slightly younger families. Claudette stayed in the room to do some more relaxing while Alex, Luke and I went in the rain to check it out on Sunday night. Most rides were closed during the rain but we went inside to wait anyways. The kids went through the haunted house a few times while I threw some cash away at the typical midway games. I tried one however where I won on the first try (MR2, or about CAN $0.62) of rolling balls down into slots to accumulate a small or large number, but not the range inbetween. Cleary the gods were smiling on me and I scored a huge purple Snuffelupagus. The kids were impressed by it, but insisted on calling it just a plain old elephant. I think it had big sweet droopy eyes just like Snuffy though. Since it was much too large to take with us, I gave it away to the lifegaurd at the pool as we went to check out.

We booked ourselves a mid afternoon train trip to the main Malaysian city (Johor Bahru) just on the other side of the border. This took one hour, and to save a huge amount of money we had to buy tickets to the rest of the way to Kuala Lumpor from within Malaysia. Unfortunately all the first class sleeper cabins were booked, so we were stuck with the second class sleeper hallway. It’s difficult to describe but I shot a few pictures. The carriage is lined with top and bottom bunks with individual curtains.

5 Responses to “Singapore!”

  1. keizerklan says:

    Hi guys. Sorry I haven’t written in awhile. Way too much work to get done and then busy with hockey and Michelle’s Grad fund raising. (We are selling fresh Christmas wreaths which will be delivered for the first week in December.

    Enough about me. It sounds like your trip to date has been fantastic. What an experience you all have been having. Thanks for the phone call when you were in Oz. It is always good to hear your voices … it reassures me that you guys are still okay!!

    Well, I am up in YK all this week (work related) and won’t be home until Friday … then it is the hockey clinic with JJ and Carla. (We miss you Claudette!!)

    Well, take care. A big hug and hello to Luke and Alex. I miss you guys and think of you often.

    hugs,

    Ann (The Good) 🙂

  2. keizerklan says:

    Oh by the way …. Barkley H. (Rapids Store) won 11.2 million dollars on last Saturday’s 649. He decreased his gas to 50 cents a litre and the line up was all the way to the highway!

    Another millionaire in town.

  3. Tim says:

    “Another millionaire in town.”

    But sadly, it is not one of us. 🙁

    Singapore sounds pretty cool. Interesting to hear about the hotel partying culture. I always thought of Singapore as incredibly uptight – you know, authorities always quick to cane some misbehaving youth or something like that.

    I look forward to seeing your pics from Malaysia.

    Take care guys, and Happy Halloween!

  4. Rick says:

    You Loves! YK don’t ya Ann??? What a surprise about Barkley, good for him of course. I’m sure he’ll invest it wisely for his future. No halloween parties here except for at the nightclubs of course. Luke wanted to call Ian tyo wish “Happy Halloween” earlier, but it was 11:00 your time so we said it probably wasn’t a great idea… Besides whic I (dum, dum stoopid head) lost the WIFI phone so it’s unlikely we’ll be making any more frivolous calls with the new ($1.20/minute to Canada) tri-band cell phone we had to buy.
    .
    Tim, Singapore is still an incredibly clean city so the threat of canings must be very real in the minds of the Proles. Keep in mind that homosexuality is still illegal (even this close to Thailand where Transvestites are almost a national icon), and there were signs at all entry points reminding people that drug importation or trafficking gets the death penalty. We did see a couple people jaywalk on occaision, but we certainly didn’t chance it at all! There are (police, governement security and private) CC cameras EVERYWHERE! so most people don’t do much wrong. Reminds me of a really bad Stallone sci-fi movie where everything citizens did was monitored and tickets for various breaches were handed out instantly. None the less we found residents to be fiercely prowd of their city/state/country. This was strongly eveidenced by several different people finding out we were taking the train out and showing absolute disgust at the old, somewhat decrepid train station building just outside of the downtown core. It turns out that the Malaysian government owns the land and building, and can’t be bothered to make it the spectacular architectual showcase that the locals feel it should be. It’s probably some long term grudge by a senior beurocrat against Singapore for splitting off from Malaysia back in 1966 (or thereabouts?).
    .
    No one told us that the CAN dollar passed the US greenback!!! We just saw it yesterday at an exchange place. That seems good at first, but mark my words… A $1.20 Candian dollar and $125 barrel of oil are just around the corner!!! And even worse after that is the continued intentional devaluation of the US dollar and the introduction of the new continent wide monetary unit, “The Amero”! Not that it matters to us of course, cause after the full trip we’re gonna move to a South Pacific Island and gather fruit for a couple hours everyday to make crafts for the tourists passing through…

  5. The Perps says:

    Hearing you talk about Malaysia and Singapore sure brings back the memories. I’m glad you were able to experience some of the culture and the back alley eatiers, they sometimes have the best food and way cheaper.
    Shannon