Published: October 19th 2011October 18th 2011
Raffles Hotel in Singapore
This is where the Singapore Sling drink was invented.
Jim, Walt, and I flew from Lhasa, Tibet to Singapore. We stayed two nights in Singapore and enjoyed a little R & R. On the third day, Jim left us to go back home to the U.S., and we took a train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We bought a five day pass on the Malaysian Railway. The cars are old but very comfortable. They have a dining car but few options. On our way to KL, we sat with a very nice Scottish couple and their two children. The teenagers were on a Fall Break, and the family was headed to an island off the coast of Malaysia. While on the train, we passed many palm and banana trees, lots of thick tropical foliage, many flowers, simple homes, Hindu temples, new rail construction.
Kuala Lumpur is about 5 degrees north of the equator, very hot and humid. Late in the afternoon each day, the sky darkened and we had a short shower. We saw large numbers of people eating at street stalls, outdoor restaurants. What amazed me was that these restaurants did not have running water. The employees used a couple of large buckets by the street to wash
Marina Bay Sands Resort
This is a cruise ship sitting on top of 3 buildings.
plates, glasses, utensils, vegetables, etc. I was also surprised to see that many customers ate with their fingers ---rice, meat with sauce, veggies, etc. It looked like a messy thing to do. We did find several really nice outdoor cafes. Our favorite was the White Coffee Shop (a chain). It had great coffee and fruit drinks but no alcohol or soft drinks. Sunday afternoon, we were sitting in this café enjoying a lime juice drink and snacks. We saw a blind lady with her white cane trying to cross the street. Cars would not stop for her. A crippled man, with a Christian cross around his neck, hobbled out into the street to help her. He safely got her across the street to where she was trying to catch a bus. As we left the restaurant, we saw man. Walt gave him 10 ringgits and thanked him for helping the woman. He crossed himself and thanked Walt over and over.
Because we had a first class train pass, we could use the VIP Lounge at the rail station. We went in there Monday morning to wait for our train. Before leaving, Walt went to the restroom and was met with
This monument represents the different ethnic groups that live together in Singapore.
a surprise. Two guys were in there—apparently RR employees. One had only a towel wrapped around his body and was shaving at the sink. The other was in a toilet stall, using the Muslim hose to take a shower. Walt couldn’t wait to come out and tell me what he had seen!
On Sunday, we took the Hop On, Hop Off bus and rode through the entire city, getting off to see some of the wonderful sights. The National Palace was beautiful! It is the home of Malaysia’s King and Queen (elected every 5 years.) Two soldiers in red uniforms on horses guarded the magnificent gate. We got off in Chinatown and Little India to check out the markets. We had hoped to go up in the Petronas Twin Towers but couldn’t due to renovations. Until 2004 when the Taipei 101 opened, they were the tallest buildings in the world. It really makes you wonder how a city could have the expertise to build these huge skyscrapers yet can’t solve open sewage on the streets, get running water to small businesses, figure out what to do with the piles of trash on the sidewalks and alleys, repair sidewalks, and
get rid of squat toilets.
The Malaysian flag hung from the Parliament Building and other government agencies. It resembles the U.S. flag in that it has red and white stripes (14). On the top end is a blue square with the Muslim crescent and 14 pointed star. This star is often found in patterns on ceilings and floors in public areas. The majority of the people in Malaysia are Muslim. (You don’t see pork sold anywhere. At McDonald’s, I had an Egg McMuffin that had something that looked like ham but was called chicken roll.) On our city tour, we passed a Presbyterian Church and a Methodist Hospital. These were the only Christian facilities that I have seen since leaving home.) I read that it is illegal to try to sway Muslims to your faith.
Malaysians do beautiful wood carvings, batik fabric printing, embroidery work on textiles, jewelry, etc. When we went by the Bird Park, it hadn’t opened. We planned to go back later, but the heat got to us. Instead, we went back to the hotel and took a nap. As the trip has gotten longer, I don’t have the enthusiasm to see and do everything. Just mixing
St. Andrews Cathedral
I hope that I have the name of this church right.
with the people and enjoying the culture is enough. In Malaysia, we did not feel threatened even though some people in Singapore had cautioned of potential problems. We found Malaysians to be very nice and helpful. Wireless is readily available at hotels and in many restaurants. Connecting to the Wi-Fi is easy but getting an internet connection is difficult.
On Monday, Oct. 17th, we returned to Singapore for two more nights. We liked the Hop On, Hop Off bus so much in KL that we decided to use it to explore Singapore. At one of the stops, I had a Fish Spa Pedicure. To do this, you put your feet in a tank of warm water about 1 1/2 ft. deep. Garra Rufa Fish - known as Dr. Fish eat the dead skin off of your feet. The nibbling creates a ticklish sensation. I am glad that I waited to have this done in Sinapore and not in Malaysia. This spa was across from the Orchard Hotel where we stayed on our last visit and was very nice.
Singapore is clean, safe, and reminds me of the U.S. We have seen a couple of American couples here. In most places
I loved letting the Garra Rufa fish eat the dead skin off of my feet. What fun!!!
on this trip, we have seen visitors from other countries but not the U.S. Several of them have said to us, "Why don't Americans travel?" I have answered that they do travel. The foreigners have responded, "Traveling on a cruise ship or in a tour is not really traveling!" I do think you get to experience a country better if you mix more with the people. To do that you make your safety more vulnerable. One day an Australian told me that Americans have it better than any other place in the world. I think he is right! We need to give thanks for all that America offers us --especially our freedoms!
We are planning to go to Japan after Singapore.
There are more photos below