Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Catching Up: Singapore

Photo Link (Again):

The bus ride from Kuala Lumpur was mostly uneventful - saw some gigantic catfish at a rest stop, but that’s about it. Crossing the border was a little weird for me though - leaving Malaysia I got grilled about “staying so long” (seven weeks?) which threw me for a bit, but amounted to nothing. The customs agent coming into Singapore was odd in the opposite direction - a bit too happy and excited to give me recommendations, which I thought was a test or something. In any case, we arrived safe & sound!

Travel hiccup: [preface: talking with another traveler, we discussed how disingenuous it was of travel bloggers and insta-travelers to only highlight all the good stuff that happens. Hiccups exist and their inclusion in stories might help future travelers.] When we got to Singapore, RC thought he’d lost his wallet, which caused some consternation. Then, when we found it (he had put it in his bag when we went through a metal detector), his ATM card didn’t work. Luckily we had my ATM card and USD on hand, so we were okay for the few days in Singapore (which is surprisingly cash-oriented).

Our hotel was pretty great and we spent several days just lounging at the pool, so that’s a big vacation win for me. On our first excursion, we explored the Arab section briefly (if I had time & money I’d go explore again), then wandered down to the library (I wrote a poem and we saw an exhibit on early advertising), and just walked the streets for a bit, half lost and half exploring.

The second excursion took us down to Chinatown and on a free tour around Marina Bay. The latter was beautiful, but expensive - typical of Singapore (and, indeed, Malaysia), the culture is centered around shopping and being inside malls! As a bonus, the crowds were pretty heavy due to the Christmas rush, so the whole thing felt overdone. We did have some delicious food at Satay on the Bay though!

Another excursion took us down to Orchard Road to see the decorations there, which existed. I’m sure I’m forgetting half of what else we did, but there was significant hotel pool time involved.

Eventually, we made our way back to the Golden Mile Complex and got on a bus to Malacca on the 26th.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Catching Up: Kuala Lumpur (good stuff this time)

It’s only been a few months since I first arrived in Kuala Lumpur, but it’s a bit tough to remember what all I’ve done. The big stories (the workaways) are detailed in my last post, but I certainly did more than just that. Perhaps we should start from when I finished the workaways.

Before we do that - pictures. There are too many to go through until I have a real computer, so you’re just getting this album that covers the next half-dozen posts:

December 17 (the 115th anniversary of heavier-than-air flight? Why do I remember these things?) I bid adieu to my workaway host and made my way to Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, where I spent a couple days relaxing in the Explorer’s Guest House while I waited for RC to arrive (on the 19th). There’s not much to report from this period except a very strange run in with a guy from Algeria who was convinced the Earth was flat. The dude was nice enough - even showing me a couple cool spots to eat - but after a proselytizing conversation, I ended up avoiding him. Not that it mattered too much - RC soon arrived.

There was quite the jump from dingy shared dorm room to a room at the Majestic in store for me when I met with RC on the 19th! It was wonderful to see someone from Philadelphia - and especially someone as close as RC. The first night he was in we went to dinner with my first workaway host (Joanne) and two others, which was quite pleasant. On the 20th, we had a personal tour guided by the daughter of my second workaway host, which was also delightful - it was a religion themed tour, so we saw Batu Caves, the National Mosque, and a Buddhist temple I’m forgetting the name of at the top of a hill (plus lots of delicious food, as one is apt to do in Malaysia).

My scheduling was a bit off, as I had it in my head RC was *arriving* on the 17th, not *departing Philadelphia* on the 17th, so that’s all the time he had in KL. On the 21st we navigated the holiday traffic and got a bus to Singapore.