Recently in Singapore and Malaysia improvised Category
If you are in Hong Kong for a while and wanted to go somewhere relatively urban, and cheaper than Japan... then Singapore could be a great stop for you too. The ticket cost me something like 1100HKD with all taxes included (roughly 185CAD), and a youth hostel is about 18SGD (14CAD) per night.
Was in S'pore in end of May, beginning of June. Was so hot, unbelievable hot. Not sure if Singapore is a sunnier town than HK, but it was mostly on the sunshine side most of the days I was in the Malaysian peninsula. Had not posted many pics after the first day, so here we are.
Bunk bed at my youth hostel in Singapore, the Betel Nut.
Finest xiao long bao skins ever, at the Singapore branch of famous Chinese dining chain from Taiwan, Din Tai Fung.
Me, enjoying a not-oversweet-like-in-North-America lime juice, from Old chang Kee, a famous counter 小吃 (xiao chi) chain in Singapore.
Feet of me and K, my guide in S'pore. ^^;
Kaya toasts must be enjoyed with runny and wet eggs... (Ced: "Hmm, not so bad, maybe I should order one for myself lah")
Eggs, runny and wet, with soya sauce, the Singapore-style (Ced: "Hmm, maybe I'll settle with my okonomiyaki then...")
It's not an impression... We spent the whole day eating. :D This is a so-called "hawker centre", an organized outdoor food court selling street-side-ish foods, another particularity of Singapore (and variants can be found elsewhere in the Malaysian peninsula, I guess, but surely not as organized, with the scoring system, as in S'pore...).
Smoking kills. :P
MRT station at Ang Mo Kio, one of the most well-known new towns of Singapore.
Durian is a public threat in any Southeast Asian country.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is probably (on par with HKU, I think) one of the top universities in Asia. A nice campus (in a tropical country - so that kicks our McGill campus good for only 3 months a year, in the ass) southwest of central Singapore.
Tastes like Pocari Sweat, but isn't Pocari Sweat. It's 100-Plus, one of Singapore/Malaysia's home brew (and distributed by Coca-Cola).
Chicken rice from the Makansutra Gluttons Bay venue on the Esplanade (aka The Durian, see two pics down). And some sort of Indian-style pain-doré with ground meat...
Spicy noodles wrapped in banana (?) leaves. Huge lineup to that particular stand, had time to ponder about getting chicken rice, get it, and get the Indian bread, eat both, before K arrived with them noodles (and they would've been better if I weren't complaining of heat-related sickness of too-much-food, bleh).
Beautiful Esplanade at night from the bridge to the Merlion.
A statue of a giant overweight pigeon (if you see what I see), near the United Overseas Bank Centre on Boat Quay.
Hmm! Merlion chocolates!
Joo Chiat Avenue, on which the hostel was located. Famous, picturesque street of southeast Singapore quarter by day, what seems to be a red-light district by night.
Another one of those hawker centres.
Rows of colourful houses.
More houses (and the guy living behind where I stood came to ask what I was doing on a Thursday morning taking pictures of private houses like that...).
The Katong/Joo Chiat neighborhood is home to members of several cultures found in Singapore, including the Hindu one.
Warning sign, to be understood by everyone...
My plane leaving Changi Airport, flying above the rows of ships supplying/transiting by Singapore.
Food unboard the Cathay Pacific flight taking me back to Hong Kong, my temporary home.
If only skies could be as beautiful over here...
I won't have a summary until HK, and as the novelty wanes, the lesser get posted. Thus, sticking to the essentials...
Singapore (The Merlion, and me, thanks to my most portable tripod <3, - and then K rightly points out that the Merlion is useless on Land and Sea alike).
Kuala Lumpur (The Petronas Towers at night with my improvised tripod: a road-side fence... They really dominate the KL skyline, nothing else is even close, except the KL Tower perhaps, which is built on a hill).
In the same vein.
Anyways, I should go out see some sunshine. Kuala Lumpur is the same time zone than Hong Kong, but slighly-to-a-lot westward than it. I saw the Twin Towers already, but couldn't climb up for lack of tickets (for Got's sake, I arrived at freakin' 2PM, and it isn't closing before 5!). It rained a bit (so a lot, according to Canadian standards) at 4-ish, and I walked from Puduraya, dropped my things, went to the KLCC, then hiked on the Putra train/sub line to Chinatown, and did a bit of walking around the paradise of teh fake goods (DVDs of all movies that came out this week, along with some that probably aren't even out yet - take *that* copyright protection).
It's hot. But not that hot, cuz of cloudiness. There is nothing to see, because I neglected to read my travel guide, and I am tired. It's been like that for most of my trip: tired wherever I go. Simply because I've been jumping from places to places for the past two or three weeks - ever since Vietnam I think. There was one week in HK before Shanghai/Huadong, and two after it, and then it's been at most half a week in HK since Vietnam on ... May 5th? I stayed a week in HK after Vietnam and went to Guilin, and then it was Shenzhen the day after returning, and then off to Singapore/Malaysia after one day rest in HK.
After spending a few days in Singapore, I crossed over to Malaysia two days ago. Singapore-JB-Muar. It's dirt cheap, 12RM (about 4CAD), for a 3 hours trip into the Malaysia "jungle" (on an expressway). A surprisingly modern country - not as much of a surprise after all this publicity from Wee. I met up with his family (while he was still in Montreal (we called him yesterday, but he was sleepy and grumpy)) and we went to Malacca, while having lots of yummy food I never tasted before.
Today, I'm in Kuala Lumpur. Another bus ticket on the Mayang Sari bus service from Muar for a mere 10.40RM. Prices are sometimes low, sometimes high, compared with North American standards. Yoghurt can be 1/3 of the price paid in Hong Kong, but then you have commodities such as shampoo and soap that cost as much as in Canada. The country is by all means on par with the other richer countries in Asia such as South Korea and Taiwan and Hong Kong. Well almost. But it's got oil, and is a muslim country, the first one I visited so far, and probably one of the most foreigner-friendly there is out there. Chinese make up about 24% of the population, while Malays are 58%, and that upset my previous conception that mostly/overwhelmingly Malays supposedly live in "Malay"sia. It's a multicultural country for sure... not in the same way as Canada I'm sure, but this will probably be the object of long debates with Wee upon returning to Canada.
I started today at 7:30AM. It is now 2:51AM, and I am fighting to gain access to the bathroom/shower.
The food! Enough said.
Singapore and Cedric and his huge-ass backpack.
...with protocolar warnings about local laws.
I made a good choice with the Betel Box. The hostel is owned and run by this former IT professional (who worked/studied in England/Australia). They also offer guided tours of the city, including a "food walk" on Thursdays, where you simply walk around the neighborhood for hours jumping from food stall or restaurant to another. Included in cost of bed, which is 18SGD, or roughly 14CAD... Now I understand why Google lists it as #1 when searching "Youth Hostel Singapore" (and the dude knew exactly how it progressed on the Page Rank system too).
So we went for the food walk, albeit a shortened one since two of the walkers were flying away tonight. We were only 5, including Tony the owner/guide. So the food walk was instead a sampling of hawker centre food. Instead of roadside food stalls, Singapore now has those "hawker centres" where all the food stalls are parked in an area, making a sort of outdoor food courts serving local food.
You can't possibly get lost in Singapore, although K insists I/she will get lost.
On the other hand, I am booking Malaysia. Super-random moment, I spoke with Wee, and I somewhat invited myself to his home (while he isn't there). How more random does it get? Like, going to Kuala Lumpur on the next day? ... Sigh.
I'm either out of ideas, or out of cash. One of the two is causative of the other - they are not occuring independently. I'd like to think that I am afraid to spend my cash... Can't possibly run out of places to go to? South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, some more China Mainland even perhaps (I'd have to be Yunnan or Hunan because I can't give a damn about Xi'an or Beijing anymore... I want to see nice landscapes like Guilin, and I want to get lost in China, but then anyone in my entourage would not advise it).