Kuala Lumpar and Singapore...getting nervous now!
I didn't spend long enough in KL to give a good impression of this South East Asian capital (sorry to be repetitive about this, but I am not a city girl anyway!) I am just too nevous about the boat now that it is just best to get to Singapore asap. Through this journey I hope I will learn to worry less...but it is a family trait it seems! Hopefully The Land of 'no worries mate' OZ will cure me! Singapore seems to be fully booked up which surprises me but takes me to the Summer Tavern Hostel which is a real gem - really friendly, chilled (too cold with the air conditioning which we try to turn off as much as possible!), free internet and breakfast. At first I wasn't too enamoured by Singapore - except the kindness of Richard and his wife Evelyn, another friend of a friend of a friend etc who has looked out for me! and the weird and slightly un P.C/animal unfriendly Maya Puto (white eyed) bird singing competition where people bring their caged birds together to sing sweetly for hours whilst judges whittle them down to one sweet winner. Hot competition and serious stuff, I cheered for number 98 for a while but left and never discovered his fate! I found the place hot and too orderly and slow (how can I say that!!!) but for an Asian city. I guess I just got a bit frustrated with some of the systems which if you get used to are perfectly sensible but.... and the huge consumerism and Americanisation annoyed me. There also seemed to be too many chirpy happy people and hollow symbols of peace, harmony, community etc. but from speaking to a few locals it is maybe not that harmonious, but perhaps it is good to at least try to achieve them, even if it is only in words. They have some good things in their concrete jungle though, I found a lush organic, wholefood cafe and had hummous! After a delightful American lady kindly commented on my numerous mossie bites 'Gee they sure love you - you should get one of these' (Cue smiley sticker thing on her leg thrust into my face) I said thanks and departed speechless! I also arrived in the middle of the celebrations for Deepvali (I bought a beautiful and sweet scented flower garland as a treat), The Mooncake/Lantern Festival in Chinatown and also Ramadam. There were lots of decorations and extra exciting food and activites going on as well as beautiful night-time light displays. I also got a Singapore Sling in Raffles - nice enough and good to say I have done it but pretty un-exciting getting a cocktail in the middle of the day on your own and also surrounded by loud Americans (sorry but they keep cropping up!) I also ventured to Sentosa - Singapore's very own man-made island theme park. An interesting and potentially expensive experience. I opt out of some of the rubbish and see the Images of Singapore Museum which after the initial 'cheese' - peace, harmony etc. and being cattle herded in with all the other tourists it was quite an informative museum with lots of great waxworks! Next with ice-cream melting quickly in the 35 degrees heat and a 'have a nice day' from the seller I set off on the nature trail which takes me past fake dinosaur bones and what sounds like fake jungle sounds (but some informative stuff with even a few latin names of plants!) down to the beach. The sand is all imported and I sit on the most southerly point of continental Asia which is very symbolic for me as I gaze out at the many cargo ships in the mist on the horizon - is one of them mine? Also nice was the orchid garden but I have had enough and back to the city. The fabulous Rebecca manages to email me some more music to practice on the ship and the guys at the hostel help me to print it. It is starting to dawn on me how 2 weeks on a ship is a hell of a lot of hours to kill! Feeling a bit homesick, as much as I am having fun and am excited about the boat, Oz and beyond, I still love Mach, my home and my family and friends. (I know you may want to read about the boat and yes I am in Australia but I haven't worked out what to write yet!) xxxx