Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
70Trip End May 17, 2009
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Where I stayed
On the bus as I was writing about Melaka, a young Irish girl got on about half way. She was on her own and shortly after she got on we hit the border. Borders, on buses, are very confusing. You have to get off, walk to the border of one country, go through the disembarkation paperwork showing when you are legally leaving a country as occupancy in each country is often strictly controlled via visas. Some countries you can stay 14 days, some 30 days, some 60 etc and they all differ in the way they collect overstay fees so disembarkation is a real deal here in Asia.
Because so many people travel by bus, and there are so many people in general, it is often difficult to stay with your group and find your same bus on the other side. Difficulties arise as there are always issues of some kind with various travelers because everyone is coming from different countries, holding various passports with different visa regulations
Poor Susan did not have her paperwork completed at the border and was panicking a bit so I waited for her as she struggled back, to the back of the line with all of her bags. I made merit that day in adopting her and bringing her with me to the Hostel I had prebooked in Singapore. As it turned out, the Hostel was only a few blocks from the Bus station so that was fabulous.
Singapore is really expensive. Land right downtown is really expensive. Ergo - accommodation is really really expensive it you want to stay downtown or near the metro. We had both. What we had to give up was size. Ronnie, the sweet owner of the Superb Hub Hostel gave Susan and me a room to share and it was so small the both of us and the both of our bags could not fit into it. Lovely Ronnie decided to give us our own rooms for the same price. Nice.
We dumped our bags and hit the streets as we both had very short time to spend in Singapore - I was staying 2 nights, Susan, 1 night and leaving the next evening, flying to Austrailia to look for work on her yearlong visa.
We headed downtown and walked and walked and both of us were blown away at the beauty of the architecture and the landscaping and the cleanliness. After a while I figured out what makes Singapore so calm - there are no billboards or tacky advertising and without all of that one can really see the beauty of the buildings and the streets and the trees
We found a free concert on the waterfront, then went to the famous Raffles Bar for a Singapore Sling....$23.00 Singapore Dollars - about $17.00 US for a drink, and we decided nah - we could eat a lot or buy something better for that price so just slid out without buying. It really is so beautiful though, it was nearly worth it.. Next day we did the Hop On/Hop Off tour of Singapore and that was a terrific way to see it all, including neighboring districts and a boat ride around the island. Great fun and I found it all very beautiful and livable.
Returning at the end of the day so that Susan could get to the airport, we encountered huge crowds (ala India trains - the kinds you see with pushers), and that freaked Susan out as she was going to have to maneuver through all of this with her wagon load of packs and shopping bags. I took pity on her and played Sherpa carrying a full load myself with her to the airport where I left her to fly away on her own big adventure. Really nice kid. Love those Irish!
Next morning, bright and early, I made the same trip myself back to the airport, except I was loving my small bag even more as I can easily handle all of my stuff myself.
In the check in line I met two Irish kids with the biggest two suitcases I have ever seen, let alone seen on a backpacking trip. They were coming back from Austrailia and heading to Bali so we teamed up upon arrival and shared a cab into Sanur.
Happy Birthday Dad!!!