Just When I’m Getting the Hang of It


I had a nice day in Singapore.  Thanks to a friend of mine in London who was just here a week or two ago for a much longer period, I got some tips on things to do.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I had a pleasant mall experience today.  But this wasn’t your typical, suburban, US mall.  This was Singapore.

Vivo City is HUGE.  I got there around 9:30 a.m. and many of the stores weren’t open yet.  But that was okay; I needed to scout the place out.  Not to mention the outdoor areas of the mall are beautiful for just strolling around since they have views across the sound to Mentosa Island.  No time for tourism today though, I had a shopping list.  I managed to find the elusive travel alarm I’ve been looking for and razors.  I also got a haircut at Vivo City.  I’m still looking for the other things, but all in all, my kind of day.

Didn't get a chance to try this

After my haircut I had a most pleasant lunch (Sorry Nils, not Modesto) at a little Vietnamese deli called Baguette (http://www.baguette.sg/index.htm).  It was delicious, a cross of Vietnamese and French (you know they were there before the Americans pretty much blew the place up).  After lunch I headed back to the hotel for a little snooze and to prepare myself for the next thing.

How much do you tip the butler at the Eastern and Oriental (or any place else for that matter)?

Tomorrow morning I have an 8:00 a.m. train up through Malaysia to Penang.  This place is a little confusing, but let me explain.  Penang is an island off the coast of Malaysia.  The main town there is called Georgetown, but the train station is called Butterworth (here the English influence?).  So if I use these terms interchangeably, you understand why.  The train trip is about 10 hours.  (I’m having flashbacks to my Melbourne trip).  But I have a treat in store there.  I’ve booked a suite at an old, heritage hotel called the Eastern and Oriental.  (http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g298303-d307724-Reviews-Eastern_Oriental_Hotel-Georgetown_Pulau_Penang_Penang.html)  I’m there for two nights before I take a sleeper train to Bangkok.

This evening I got the best bargain on the whole trip so far.  I had dinner for 3 Singapore dollars which is about $2.25 US.  Finally!  It was good too. 

You have to remove your shoes to enter this temple, but evidently not your cell phone

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2 thoughts on “Just When I’m Getting the Hang of It

  1. For some reason, your pictures didn’t show up on my computer. I’m loving your blogs and I saw the comment about removing your shoes before entering the temple and it brought back a memory.

    In 2009, we went on a cruise and Jamaica was one of our stops. One of my friends had already decided that we needed to see the “real” Jamaica and the best tour to do so, was the one to visit the Bob Marley compound. He explained that it was going to be on an “air-conditioned” bus and we wouldn’t have to do a lot of walking. We boarded the bus. It looked like a 60’s school bus painted by a bunch of hippies. The air-conditioning was the windows down and traveling about 60 mph on roads that made 2-mile hill look like a major highway, but which was curvier, steeper, and with no guardrails. The Bob Marley music was blasting; I’m assuming to cover the terrified screams of the passengers on the bus. We finally arrived and after climbing about a mile of stairs entered the first of the shops we would have to go through to get to the destination.

    At that point, you need to realize that none of us really knew anything about Bob Marley except what we had learned on the bus ride up. We went through a lot of buildings, climbed a hill and finally arrived at his home. Beside the teeny-tiny two room house he lived in was a small chapel that enclosed his tomb. We were told we had to remove our shoes to enter the chapel. I hesitated while a couple of my friends went in. I finally decided to go on; after all I had nearly risked my life to come this far.

    As I was entering my two friends were exiting. They didn’t say anything. I entered and the guide asked me to stand behind the tomb. I was stuck. He began explaining the tomb, Marley’s death, et cetera. It was about 100 degrees in the chapel and there was no way I could graciously exit. Apparently Bob wanted to be 6 feet high when he was dead and was buried with pot and his favorite guitar. Finally, the guide asked us to circle the tiny room so everyone would have a chance to be near and touch the tomb, light a candle and say a prayer. When I passed the door, I went out. I didn’t have a candle and I wasn’t going to say a prayer.

    I was furious with my friends for not stopping me from entering. They said, “You saw us come out; why did you go in?” It never occurred to them that I had no way of knowing why they had exited.

    It was quite an adventure. Jamaica is beautiful county and in the interior very much like eastern Kentucky. The buildings were more colorful, but the poverty and trash were like home. Except, that may have been worse.

    We all returned to the ship smelling like pot; although neither I nor any of my friends had smoked any, and were grateful that there were no drug sniffing dogs waiting at the terminal before we got back on the ship.

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