Onto the 6th Continent

Trip Start Jun 12, 2004
Trip End Jan 01, 2005

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Monday, April 18, 2005

From Adelaide, Australia I caught a northbound plane through Darwin, Australia to Singapore. This is my first time in Asia (unless you count the time I spent on the Sinai pennisula in 2003) and this is the 6th Continent I've visited on my round the world trip (I've only missed Antarctica).

Singapore is sort of South East Asia-Lite. It's in Asia, but it's very urban, clean, and fairly expensive. There are all sorts of rules that are strictly enforced like no chewing gum, no jaywalking, no grafitti, etc. yet there was a fair amount of litter around.

I spent four nights in Singapore. After arriving late on April 13th, I checked into a hostel & watched "American Idol." It seems nearly every country I have visited (South American, NZ, Australia, Asian) has had this show.

My first full day in Singapore happened to be my birthday. I walked around the city, visited a few temples, and hung out at the air-conditioned Malls (catching the flick "Guess Who." That night, I went with Anna from my hostel to the Raffles Hotel's Long Bar. The hotel itself is a $500 US a night accomodation, but we wore our best clothes just to get into the bar. The bar serves $12 US drink called the Singapore Sling. It's a very sweet pink slushie-type alcohol drink.

Also in Singapore, I visited Chinatown, the Night Safari at the Zoo, and Har Paw Villa. My biggest highlight in Chinatown was being an extra in some Chinese soap opera. They were filming in a really deserted mall & I happened to walk by. The Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo must be one of the best attractions in Singapore. This is the first zoo in the world that was specifically built for the veiwing of animals in the night time. You know how one often feels they don't see many animals in the daylight since they're all hiding in the sun? Well, the night zoo let's you see ALL the animals. There were some crazy squealing otters and cool fishing cats. The scariest experience was going in a huge enclosure with many fruit bats that were supposedly harmless but still seemed to swoop at your head. Har Paw Villa used to be called Tiger Balm Garden because the two Burmese brothers that invented Tiger Balm erected giat cement statues in tribute to each other. It was a very strange place. The funniest/most gruesome site was the 10 courts of hell. According to Chinese folklore, there are 10 levels for 10 different types of sin. Depending on what you did wrong (murder, adultry, wasting food, etc), there was a different type of punishment you had to serve (drown in blood, have head and hands cut off, intestines pulled out, boiled in a giant wok of oil, etc). It was quite scary to see little 2-foot sculptures of bloody, headless people.

From Singapore, I rode a bus for 4 hours to Melaka, Malaysia (crossing the border on the way with no problems). Melaka is a port city that has been ruled by the Islamic Sultans, Portuguese, Dutch, English, and Japanese in the last 500 years before becoming independant recently. Here, I met a Dutch girl & we have visited the museums and churches. We spent a bit of time in Chinatown checking out the shops. Tonight I'll be going out for some cheap Malay food.

The weater has been very hot and humid since arriving in Asia. My hair is frizz-city! I break into a sweat after walking about one city block. Despite this, with enough drinking water I've had enough energy to see all the sites I wanted to see.
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