South East Asia 1
Well as you can see the hair is gone and so are we.
We have departed familiar shores for a 9 month taste of the world. We are looking forward to visiting some amazing places, making some new friends and catching up with some old ones.
Beginning in South-East Asia, then on to Europe, Ireland and then UK and then finally the US and Canada.
I hope you enjoy our tales and pics.
Please don’t forget to write to us and keep us up-to-date with all the news from home. There are a few of you expecting the arrivals of mini-mes while we are away, so we expect lots of pics of those.
Kel would also like to be kept informed of all the local sporting action.
Our first port of call is Singapore, which has served as a good place to ease into Asian culture. It’s a busy little place, but it is very clean and controlled, so you don’t have to worry too much about personal safety.
Our stay here has been a bit of a whistle stop tour, as we are going to return to Singapore for a few more days at the end of our Asian leg. We have taken in some of the major sights, as well as a couple of the huge shopping centers which provided an air conditioned haven from the initially stifling heat.
I have done most of Singapore on previous visits, but it is a place I truly enjoy and I have loved the ‘wow’ look that has come across Imelda’s face several times a day.
Had a great two days in Singapore staying at a cute backpackers in an old Malaysian heritage building in the Arab district. My highlights:
The bird park – the colours of some of the birds were just amazing, pinks, greens, blues. My favs were probably the pink flamingos, all 1000 of them.
Walking round the lobby of a newly built office building in the city– I have never seen such extravagance in my life. It was decorated like an ornate church with gold everywhere, had a glass wine cellar that was three stories high and a grand piano elevated in the middle. You must have to work 36 hours a day to afford to lease a space there.
We took the bus from Singapore to Melaka which is an old port town on the West Coast of Malaysia about two hours from KL. Well…..this is the singularly most random place I have ever been to.
What I found most intriguing:
The unmistakable leftovers of the towns history, it is just everywhere. The Portugese, Dutch, English and Japanese have all had a go controlling it, as it used to be the major port in Malaysia. There are remnants of Dutch and Portugese architechture everywhere intermixed with Malaysian and Chinese. My particular favourite contrast was slums on one side of the town river and gold painted Portugese style lampposts lining the other.
I particularly enjoyed visiting the remains of the 1600’s Dutch church on the top of the main hill. It contained massive narrative tombstones for the Dutch settlers which told stories in themselves. I spotted tombs for several woman my age who had died in the 1600’s.
Also thoroughly enjoyed learning about their justice system in the Museum –they tested innocence by who floated to the top of the river first, the punishment for theft was cutting your left hand off (your right hand if you offended again) and a married woman who committed adultery was stoned to death – a deterrent I would think!
If you’re a lover of thrill rides, roller coasters or races cars, don’t go past the number 17 bus in Melaka. I am positive the 60+ driver has had come serious race driving experience in the past. He could make that 40 year old, decrepit bus move like nothing else I have every seen. Hitting the apexes of every city corner and red lining the engine for every change. As well as the thrill, it is an incredibly quick way to get around and all for about NZ$0.40.
Really enjoyed night trip up the KL tower, view of the city breathtaking. Otherwise generally unimpressed by KL other than its size, shopping and twin towers which look quite spectacular, especially at night. Still a few days left to explore though. Looking forward to some hiking at our next stop further up in the Cameron Highlands and then up to Langkawi Island near the border of Thailand. We are treating ourselves to a couple of nights in a beachfront resort, which will cost us all of NZ$30 a night.
It’s a rainy day today in KL, so we are having to alter our itinerary a little. We are used to walking around for 5-6 hours each day, but with the heavy tropical rain that falls up here we are going to have to find some indoor fun. Will also be a good opportunity to rest our feet and recharge our batteries… I tell you this holidaying is bloody tiring!