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Published: March 14th 2011
Monday March 14th, 2011
Strait of Malacca- off the Coast of Malaysia
Latitude 2 degrees 59 minutes’ north- Longitude 101 degrees 20 minutes’ east
Yesterday we were in the booming metropolis which is Singapore. The busiest port in the world, Singapore is a modern, independent city which is also its own country. Singapore was a marvel to behold. The architecture was very high tech and bold, but there were some very well preserved historical buildings as well. We went to the Raffles Hotel to have a genuine Singapore Sling at the famous Long Bar. Built by the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, it was originally built on the waterfront. They have filled in so much area since the 1800s that it is now over a mile inland. Perfectly preserved and thriving the hotel is now surrounded by enormous skyscrapers and high-rise hotels. The city was easy to walk with many interconnected covered overhead crosswalks with adjoining enclosed malls and atriums. That was convenient since it rained hard while we were there. While walking thru one enclosed mall we even saw people’s legs in the spa window where fish were cleaning the dead skin off. What people will
pay for! The city has over 24 thousand taxis and they were cheap and easy to use. At the end of the day after walking all over we jumped in a cab and it took us across town to meet our shuttle back to the ship. The six Singapore dollar fare ($5 US) was worth every penny. The streets were spotless and there were no beggars or vagrants to be seen. It is, in fact, against the law to chew gum or jaywalk in the city. There is no crime to speak of and on the back of our visa card it said that the punishment for drug trafficking in Singapore is death. However, I saw very few policemen and so it did not feel like some kind of police state. Our time in Singapore was really quite nice.
Today we stopped in Port Kelang, Malaysia. Some of the passengers went by bus to visit Kuala Lumpur, the capital. After the excitement of yesterday Jane and I decided to take it easy and just look around this port city. We took a local shuttle bus to the Buki Tinggi Mall for some power shopping. It was huge (supposedly the largest
enclosed mall in Southeast Asia) and had every conceivable name brand store. We shopped all morning and ended up just buying some nice Timberline walking shoes for Jane. She was in pain after all the walking we did in Singapore yesterday and really needed some decent shoes for the rest of the cruise and Europe. We have good walking sandals, but you can’t wear those everywhere. Open-toed shoes are not allowed in Temples or fancy restaurants.
As we steer north thru the Straits of Malacca ahead of us lies the Andaman Sea. We will set our course for Port Blair in the Andaman Islands and should arrive day after tomorrow. A few of the other passengers have been there before and they tell of grim conditions with hundreds of beggars and filthy streets. As I lean over the rail tonight, all I see is a clean, clear horizon with the smell of a fragrant sea breeze in my face.
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