Kuala Lumpur to Singapore

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 27, 2008

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday 26th November we boarded a bus from Kuala Lumpur that would arrive in Singapore some six hours later.  If I am totally honest, before we got to Singapore I wasn't sure what Singapore was.  Was it a country? Is it part of Malaysia?  What was the deal? Turns out Singapore is an island right on the tip of the Malay peninsula and connected to the mainland by four bridges.  It is a completely separate country - own currency, government, the lot.  And get this for a fact (I love my facts and figures) - it is the most densely populated country in the world.  There are six and half thousand people per square kilometre!!! Six and half thousand! That is crazy! Australia, to compare, has 2.3 people per square kilometre.  Not 2.3 thousand; 2.3 people!! ha ha.  I promise that is it for nerdy facts for now.

Singapore is the only border control that has made me feel nervous - very nervous.  Even China, and Cambodia were not intimidating but here I felt edgy.  For starters there were armed guards everywhere. OK so this is nothing new but here there was a high presence, much higher than anything we had seen before.  And then I remembered one thing about Singapore from years ago and that was the chewing gum ban.  It was all over the news at the time and sure enough on the list of banned items at customs, underneath napalm, uranium, scud missiles and hard drugs was chewing gum.  I honestly felt like a criminal - I half expected to be strip searched only for customs to discover a packet of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit discreetly hidden amongst my person. 

The plan for Singapore was to spend four days here as we had our flights already booked to Australia on the 30th November.
First things first, and the same applied in Kuala Lumpur, the beer here is expensive. And I mean expensive.  KL is a Muslim country and therefore alcohol carries heavy taxes, and the same seems to apply to Singapore although it is predominantly Buddhist. It's over four quid for a pint of beer! However, I promise I won't allow that to blur my judgment of the place.

One of the first things we did was to go into a coffee shop and ask one of the locals what there was to see here.  Unfortunately, other than Raffles Hotel and Orchard Road there didn't seem to be a great deal.  First on the agenda was a visit to Raffles.  It has always been an ambition to go to Raffles Hotel and drink a Singapore Sling, as this was the place where the drink was invented. Raffles is a beautiful looking place and looked even more splendid covered in the Christmas decorations.  So in we went, looking like fish out of water and went to the bar and ordered two 'slings' as though this is something we do every day.  47 Singapore dollars (approx 15 quid) later our drinks arrived.  They were very very nice and we felt quite refined. 

And then the remaining two days were spent doing what basically summed up a large part of Asia for me and that is shopping.  I hate shopping and Singapore is a shoppers heaven.  There are shopping centres everywhere - and I mean everywhere.  It is on a par with Hong Kong for shopping centres.  There may be six and half thousand Singaporeans per square kilometre, but I bet there are more shopping centres per square km than this. Orchard Road is about 5 miles long and all along there is shopping centre after shopping centre after shopping centre.  Nic loved it - I hated it.  I have got better.  It used to only take half an hour of shopping for me to slump my shoulders and drag my knuckles on the floor (OK - so that is a normal walk for me), moaning 'I hate shopping' over and over and over again.  Now, I can actually shop for 45 minutes before this happens. Who says men can't change?

Anyway, needless to say, 30th November couldn't come quick enough for me.  We were ready to leave Asia by this point and were very very excited at the prospect of Australia and meeting up with Paul and Megan.

Can I finish this blog entry and the Asia section with a very very very bad joke?  I will understand if you never read another blog but I feel it is worth it.  Here goes:

I went to watch some karaoke in South East Asia
No - she was pretty good actually.

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pierrelepont on

Long Time No See
Sounds like a chinaman that title. Glad to see you've got the blog up and running again squire and squiress. Popped on a few times over the past month but was beginning to think you'd either got writers cramp or been abducted by aliens. That joke's nearly as bad as the old West Indies joke - 'I went with my girlfirend to the Caribbean', 'Jamaica', 'No she went of her own accord'. Brilliant photos of Kuala Lumpur and the tower, too high for a wimp like me. Our John stopped off in SIngapore but didn't really rate it highly. Said the Fishermans wharf was good at night and that island zoo wasn't bad but too many shops etc which is a nightmare for a bloke. Anyway good to hear from you again and as they say in the Middle-East 'Dubai for now'

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