Leaving the USA......
Trip Start Jan 11, 2011
60Trip End Jun 01, 2011
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Fortunately, we didn't even see any snow until we were taxiing to the runway when a micro-burst of snow flurries hit. It was a decent send-off by Mother Nature -- and may we not see them again until late 2011.
The flight itself was uneventful
We landed in Singapore at 12:20AM on Thursday the 13th (we had crossed the International Date Line). We were blessed enough to stay with friends Drew and Shelia....what a great way to transition into a trip like this!
After getting back to their apartment, I think we finally crashed around 2AM. Both of us took ambien in order to help us sleep and get synced to the new time zone (Singapore is +13). That stuff works like a dream, literally.
In the morning (we're still talking Thursday here!) we woke up around 9AM and tried to get our bearings in Singapore. We spend most of the day walking around central Singapore taking in the sights. The quays (pronounced "keys") which are mainly around the river (and are big tourist traps, but fun), Little India, down to the waterfront to see the Merlion (symbol of Singapore), fun with pythons (see "Hand Sanitizer!) and over to the Raffles Hotel.
For lunch we ate at one of the hawker stands in Singapore (street food)
The Raffles Hotel is one of those places you *know* is a tourist trap, but you feel you have to see anyways. The hotel is where the Singapore Sling was invented and you can have one yourself at the Long Bar for the bargain price of S$20. We went by the hotel which admittedly looks very nice (and expensive) and had a look inside the Long Bar. It's basically a long teak bar overloaded with tourists although I confess to being a little startled to find a fully dressed geisha uncomfortably sipping a Singapore Sling sitting next to an older Asian man.
Friday was Bird Day. Singapore has one of the largest bird parks in the world -- Julong Bird Park -- and Sonia is a first-class animal lover (doesn't matter what kind). The park itself is OK, there are lots of birds and some interesting shows, but I'm not sure we'd ever go back. We were trapped there for awhile by a massive downpour. Currently we are on the edge of the monsoon rains -- this is why we did not start in Indonesia. Most afternoons there's about a one or two hour period of serious rainstorms and thunder. BTW, this is why nearly all our pictures currently have an overcast sky.
Saturday morning we ran errands preparing for the trip to Myanmar. Picked up unlocked cell phones (in Singapore it is illegal to sell a locked cell phone) so we can switch SIM chips as we go from country to country
For lunch Shelia took us to an amazing place in one of the malls off Orchard Road (in Singapore you can find great food at cheap prices in hawker stands or malls) which served Chinese food. Noodles, fried rice, lemon and sichuan chicken later we were moving again. This was one of the best meals we had in Singapore.
That afternoon we went to the Botanical Gardens which were great to see. In most US cities, tropical plants have to be kept inside of greenhouses, but here you can see them in their natural glory. The park seems very popular with the locals and we saw multiple wedding groups having pictures taken there. As usual, the heavens opened around 4PM.
Sunday morning we packed up and headed to the bus terminal to catch our ride to Kuala Lumpur which should be a five hour ride. Tomorrow afternoon is our flight to Myanmar and we'll likely be only in sporadic contact.