No Sling in Singapore

Trip Start May 30, 2005
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45
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Trip End Sep 30, 2006


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I started from Ubud knowing that it'd be a long time before getting to Singapore, most of it would be hanging around without much to do. I checked in early and met an American guy called Todd. He'd only had a short holiday in Indonesia and was heading back home. When I told him that I'd been in Kuta when the bomb had gone off he looked really interested and then with a macabre smile asked me if I'd gone to see when the bomb had gone off the next day, no I didn't you sicko.

I ended up sitting next to him on the plane, the highlight of which was when he told me of his European trip a number of years ago, 15 countries in 5 weeks. That's about the same number of countries that I'll be visiting in a year. He went on to explain how he'd just gone to some of the countries in order to get his passport stamped and to collect some of the local currency. It was a riviting journey.

I managed to loose Todd when we arrived in KL as he was flying off to elsewhere while I had a night to look forward to in the airport. Since I was flying Air Asia for both flights I had to pick up my bag and clear immigration and then check in for my next flight. However it was about midnight and I'd not be able to checkin till after 6am. I found myself a new friend, far more exciting and interesting than Todd. In fact my new friend was an airport trolley. We had a ball together, spending hours in each other's company, we walked around the airport, then went for a walk together outside, had a cup of coffee together and even ended up together in the toilets. I got to about 2am and I was feeling pretty knackered so I worked out how to arrange my stuff and sleep. I found an airport bench and then parked my mate with my bag on it at one end which served as foot rest. I then took my wallet out my pocket and put it in the inside of my jacket. My little bag acted as a pillow, with an arm slung through it to discourage bag snatchers. Lastly I slept on my left side where my money belt was located. It was a bit contrived but it worked wonders and I had a fairly blissful sleep right up till 6am. That's when all the locals started getting up and eating, Ramadan started a few days earlier so they needed to get some nosh before the sun came up. The sleeping in airport trick was a good new skill to learn and one that I hoped I'd not need to use again. The checking woman had a go at me as well, my bag was 18Kg, and officially the checkin weight for airasia is only 15Kg, I was just warming up, about to plead my case in numerous ways when she must have just taken a look at my tired eyes and said that she'd let me off this time, but to make sure the next time I flew with them that I only had 15Kg, I'll take note!

It was a short hop to Johor Bahru, only 45 minutes, hardly worth the hassle of the overnight stay! From here it was amazingly easy to get into Singapore, probably the easiest and cheapest land border crossing that I've every done. As I was checking out of Malaysia I was stopped by a woman with a clipboard, only doing a questionairre thankfully. She started asking about how long I'd been in Malaysia and what I'd done. When I explained that I'd arrived in KL the previous night, slept in the airport and then flown to JB she looked kind of put out. I was obviously not her target audience.

I eventually arrived at a hostel that'd been recommended to me, feeling very hot, tired and dirty, but glad to just have my feet up.

Overall I was a little disappointed by Singapore. It was just a big expensive city. I did have a wander around, taking a boat tour on the river, looking at the massive buildings and architecture. But at the end of the day it was just an ordinary city. Perhaps I missed something special. I'd originally planned to head to the Raffles Hotel to sample a Singapore Sling where it was invented, but at 6 quid for a pre-mixed cocktail I decided that they were just having a laugh and making money from their reputation, not making any money from me!

I arranged to meet Sebastian who was a guy that I met at Uncle Tan's in Sabah. He's studying in Singapore for a few months, so no one better to show you the sights of the town. We just had a quiet night out on the town, playing pool and eating free peanuts. This city doesn't fit the backpacker budget in anyway at all! It was good to see him though.

I was getting quite excited about the prospect of heading to Sydney. After 4 months in Asia I was ready to move on. I love asia and had a great time but a change in pace and culture is required to get the travels back up to full speed! So next entry will be written from down under, from within our antipidean brothers!

See you soon,
Ron.
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