Week 8 - Joburg, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
Trip Start Aug 26, 2003
50Trip End Aug 24, 2004
After a nice breakfast booked trip to Joburg and Soweto departing 1.00pm. Picked up by Isaac Zwane who drove us to downtown Joburg first. Rather depressing place with tall buildings either full of squatters or to let. Only active businesses were stalls on the footpaths and the courts. Then on to Soweto. Population 4.5 million which equals that of Ireland. Surprisingly nice place full of happy people. Taken first to the church, Regina Mundhi, where we were given a tour and filled in on the significance of this centrally located Catholic church. Clinton and Mandela amongst other dignitaries are former visitors to the congregation. During the Apartheid riots police opened fire from within and outside the church. All a bit underwhelming. Then on to Winnies House, then Desmonds and finally Nelsons place. The only street in the world which housed two winners of the Nobel Prize
Day 51 - Wednesday 15 October
Up late (8.30am), had breakfast which we werent charged for and then caught 10am shuttle to Joburg International. Checked in, quick internet and then boarded Singapore Airlines for 10 hour flight to Singapore. Flight full of Springbok supporters but bigger seats with greater leg room compensated. Also footrests, headrests, pillows and rewindable videos raised it above the Virgin flight from Heathrow. Great service, choice of menu and up to date films including Bruce Almighty. Bumpy flight, no sleep, arrive 6.15am local time.
Day 52 - Thursday 16 October
Checked into Fort Canning Lodge YWCA
Day 53 - Friday 17 October
Not up until 2pm. Jet lagged. Down to hotel launderette to get caught up. Lunch in YWCA then walked for ages trying to find internet cafe, none to be found in worlds most hi tech city. Used MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) trains to get about. Far and away the best public transport system ever experienced, clean, quick and regular. At one ticket machine asked girl for change of $10 note, machines only take up to $5 notes. She didnt have change but offered us the required fares. Typical of Singapore people, very nice. Had to go down to train station to get tickets for Kuala Lumpur, wouldnt take bookings over the phone. First class leaving this Sunday at 9.30am, duration 6 hours, cost 30 GBP each
Day 54 - Saturday 18 October
Up very late again (1.30pm) and head to Harbour Front for cable car to Sentosa. Sentosa is a small island connected to the main island by a causeway. Its a weird place. A holiday island for the locals to get away from the hussle and bussle of the main land. It has beaches, volleyball, aquariums, camping sites, monorail and a fort. Surreal. Cable car 60m high. Peter unable to look out of car or take photographs so Nicola steps in. Peter apologises for quality of shots. Back to Singapore just in time to catch last half of last bus tour of city. Got off on Orchard Road posted cards, and photo CDs then across to Dubliner bar just in time for the England v South Africa rugby match. England cruise it. Met Irish girls from last night where we all gave off about the cost of drink in Singapore, 10 GBP for a pint and glass of wine. Walk home wishing that we had stayed an extra couple of days in Singapore but may return on our way from Hong Kong to Perth.
Day 55 - Sunday 19 October
Taxi to train. Comfy reclining seats, air con, green lush countryside like travelling through a massive garden centre
Day 56 - Monday 20 October
Lie in up for 12 noon, go to IT mall for spot of shopping. Noodles for lunch in local restaurant with fish soup. Nicola eats all. Spend several hours updating travelpod, finance and emails. Walk down main tourist street and have dinner in Crispy Noodle Chopstick, delicious fried noodles, prawn dim sum and horrible bottle of overpriced French white wine. Nicola has decided to stop drinking wine until Oz.