macado's se asia adventure I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

18Jul/061

Singapore sling – back to KL

I know I said the same thing about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but Singapore is probably the cleanest city/country i've ever been to in my life.  It's the epitome of what every modern city should strive to be.  I'm quite convinced that in 50 years from now, the world will still be trying to play catch up with the effiiciency of Singapore.

You can't eat, smoke or drink on the sidewalks or trains.  Importing gum into the country is ILLEGAL and carries a 500 dollar fine if you're caught with it I believe.  Jaywalking is a 50 dollar fine if you're caught not crossing in a crosswalk. The entire subway/skyway system uses RFID cards rather than coins.  Just put the subway card in your wallet and tap your wallet on an area to gain entrance into the train station. Extremely clean, all air conditioned.

We stayed at a hostel called the Prince of Wales. An extremely nice and clean hostel with a built in pub that has live bands that serves cheap beer on draft.  I mean, cheap beer by Singaporoen standards which actually isn't cheap at all.  Once again, Singapore being somewhat muslim also had strict tax/tariffs on alcohol as did Malaysia.  Beer at the pub would actually cost the same at any respectable bar in Boston or less respectable bar in London.    Nevertheless, prices for alcohol aside, this place was probably the best hostel in Singapore. It certainly was the cheapest we could find.  10 Singapore dollars  (6-7USD) a night with air conditioning and comfortable clean beds.  The only other strange thing about this hostel was the staff.  Although very nice, they were extremely forgetful and often appeared like they were "out of it."  Asking simple questions like "Where is the bus station?"  involved wonderfully complicated, convoluted, and complex answers that would one day take Harvard scholars years to understand.  This was of course because the question was never answered.  It was forgotten entirely as soon as it was asked.  This actually happened a few times.  All kidding aside,  Prince of Wales was a great place. I would definitely stay there again in a heartbeat. 

Shopping here is hard to describe. Well ok, it's not really hard to describe but it's a bit intimidating to the novice.  Literally hundreds and hundreds of shopping malls with floors and floors of cheap electronics and designer clothing so packed full of flocks of asians and westerns you can't even walk. Singapore can destroy any chance of budgeting. The prices here for food/drinking and everything else is pretty much the same back home and equivilent to the U.K as well.  Not really any bargains to be hard, the exception being electronics since Singapore is pretty much the shipping capital of the world for everything.  I have estimated that my trip to Singapore for 3 days would have cost the same as living lavishly and drinking heavily in Thailand for 3 weeks on the money I spent.  I only wish I was joking.

The foodcourts here are also something to be explored. Back home you have shitty mall food but in Singapore EVERYONE eats at hawker-type/food court places places.  Food at these places are extremely cheap (compared to the rest of Singapore) and very good if you like Chinese/Malaysian/Thai/Asian food.  Don't get me wrong, I have grown to love Asian food, especially Thai food but right about now i'm actually killing for a nice steak dinner.  Anything western would suit me quite well now.  The beef here is also absolutely horrible, i'm not even sure if it's actual cow. I believe it's some sort of buffalo.

The city is extremely modern, lots of skyscrapers, lots of gardens and parks.  I will post pictures when I can.  I just got back to Kuala Lumpur.   Did the usual tourist things.  Walked around all the shopping distracts, the river front.  We also went to Raffles Hotel.  Quite possibly one of the most famous hotels in SE Asia known for it's colonial style and and famous "Singapore slings", some type of highly alcoholic cock tale like the Long Island Iced Tea.   Chris ended up walking approximately 5 feet into the entrance until we were kicked out due to our dress code.  No sandals, shorts, or t-shirts.  All 5 stars; proper dress code required.  So my tour of the Raffles Hotel ended outside the lobby before it even started.

Right so...interesting things that happened.  Let me think.  I purchased new mp3 player player because my ancient 2nd generation iPod finally decided life wasn't worth living anymore.  Not wanting to pay exorbitant prices for another iPod I decided on getting the next best thing so I purchased an iPod nano clone.  That's right, a bootleg of an iPod nano..design and all with the exception of the actual iPod interface.  It's a 2gb flash player with a OLED color screen.  This was my first adventure. When I finally got it back to an Internet cafe to load it up with music, I discovered that it was actually broken much to my dismay.  Thinking fast, I decided to take the train back to the shopping plaza where I bought it only to find that the shop that sold it to me had packed up early and decided to call it a day at 7:00PM leaving me with a broken mp3 player and having to catch a bus at 8:00AM in the morning back to Kuala Lumpur.  Luckily I set my alarm for 6:30AM the next morning and got the train and managed to get the owner to unlock the shop for me. After much arguing, I exchanged the mp3 player for a working model.  This was actually more complicated than it sounded since the owner feigned ignorance and lack of English even though all Singaporeons speak it fluently.

My last two adventures in Singapore begin at the end of my journey. We decided that it would be better to take a taxi to the bus station not wanting to be late and miss our bus of course.  Flagging down a taxi was the was the easy part.  We were greetly by a nice old Singaporeon man who seemed quite harmless.   During our ride, the driver asked us a series of seemingly normal and basic questions.. "Where are you from?", "Do you have a job?, "Do you go to school?" "Do you have a girlfriend?"  without skipping a beat, the questions escalated to "Do you fuck gay?"  Naturally, this sort of caught us off guard at 7AM in the morning. The driver for the next 10 minutes continued his stories of sexual escapades describing intimidate details of his sex life with ladyboys and hairy British girls.  Not quite the conversation I was expecting from this harmeless old man.  I reckon he just did it for a laugh but in any case it was extremely funny and caught us off guard.  How the questions when from "Do you go to school?" to "Do you fuck gay?" is something i'll never quite understand.

The last adventure was the actual bus back to Kuala Lumpur.  We arrived at the bus station about 10-15 minutes early and sat there another 10 minutes only to find out that we somehow missed an actual bus that we never saw leave in the first place.  How this happened, I don't understand.  The person at reception insisted that we had missed the bus, that tickets were non-refundable, and that the only other bus would be the "executive deluxe" bus leaving at 9:00AM.   We had originally thought that we were going to have to shell out an extra 50 Singapore dollars (Approx 30USD) for another ticket.   As luck would have it, we were somehow allowed to board the "excutive deluxe" bus without paying extra.  The bus was extremely crowded and when I say crowded I mean full and when I say full I mean exactly 5 people, including the driver, two actual paying passengers and then of course, me and Chris.  I figure the reception at the bus station felt guilty and realized that it wouldn't have actually been a problem to put two people on a completely empty bus.  That's the end of my adventures in Singapore.  We arrived safely in Malaysia just as before with no problems. 

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