Too Many Drummers.com
Journal 1 - The Land Downunder
Journal 2 - Indonesia
Journal 3 - Singapore & Malaysia
Journal 4 - Thailand 1
Journal 5 - Thailand 2
Journal 6 - Indian Ocean
Journal 7 - Red Sea
Journal 8 - Egypt
Journal 9 - Suez to Israel to Petra
Journal 10 - Turkey
Journal 11 - Greece & Italy
Journal 12 -
Balearics, Gibraltar, Canaries
Journal 13 -
Canaries to Cape Verde to Atlantic
Journal 14 - Barbados to
Journal 15 - Trinidad
Journal 16 - Bahamas DC-3 Plane Wreck
Journal 17 - 34 Things I've Learned in 33,000 Miles
SINGAPORE & MALAYSIA
It’s been ages since I updated the journal and there’s so much to cover that I’ll just hit the high points and direct you to Sarah’s journal for the complete saga.
Singapore was excellent. Very modern city, especially compared to the rest of
Indonesia. Some of the cooler things we did in
1. Hooked up with my 7th grade teacher and his family from the
2. In search of culinary beauty, ate a hideous and deceptive dessert called an ice kacang (pronounced “ice kuhchang”). The picture at the
food court showed a luscious bowl of shaved ice flavored with red sauces of happiness. To my horror, I discovered that the ice merely covers a foul concoction of kidney beans, jello, soy sauce, and corn. That’s right, corn. I kid you not. (And the sauces are not those of happiness…they are sauces of edible pain.)
3. Ate with a friend of Sarah’s family at an authentic Chinese restaurant where they hand-make every noodle by stringing out the dough between their fingers and pounding it on the counter with a who’s-your-daddy slap.
4. Learned about Chinese mythology at Haw Par Villa, where displays include a tunnel portraying the ten circles of hell in graphic detail. The place was built in a time before television, so the garishly bright statues were considered rousing family entertainment and a great way to teach the kids values. Often the huge 3-D murals tell fables, usually with the kid who cheated on the test getting mauled by a bear while the hard working, studying kid plays ball in the street.
5. The marina had a huge pool with three waterfalls and a slide.
6. Singapore has double-decker buses. Need I say more?
7. The marina also featured a bowling alley. We only bowled one game, but in the third frame, Dad went too far down the lane into the waxed section, where gravity tap danced his head in the gutter. It was pretty scary because he cut his head and bled a bit as he lay stunned and spread-eagled across the lane. Fortunately, Sarah was there (she’s a medical professional and dad’s a doctor), so no problemo.
Oh, and he rolled a strike on that frame, too. It’s the truth.
Staunching the flow of blood took a while, so we managed to make one game last an hour an a half…and if you were wondering, Mom won, Sarah was second, I came in third, and Dad came in last (although in his defense, he had just conked his skull.). I tried to give Sarah bowling tips in the beginning, not realizing that she could wipe the floor with me (or more likely, my tips were so good they pushed her to the next level).
Singapore is a country, state, and capital city all in one. It is not a cheap place to shop or eat, which wouldn’t be a big deal except that the main pastimes of the entire population are shopping and eating. Expensive shopping and eating, to be precise. Because the whole island/country/state/city is only about 40 miles across, there isn’t all that much else to do that doesn’t involve a passport.
From Singapore we took an overnight train to Malaysia. We could only get 2nd class sleeper cars, but they turned out to be very comfortable. Each rail car contains 40 bunks in double-decker groupings of 20 down each side of the car. On the way back to Singapore, we rode in the first class non-sleeper compartment. In 1st class there was a TV linked to the overhead speaker system from which there was no escape.
The first movie was aptly named “Nowhere to Run”, featuring Jean Claude Van Damme. Someone had edited all the fight scenes out, so poor Jean Claude had to carry the plot on his acting skills and an action-movie script. Accidentally funny.
The second movie was called “My Husband, My
Killer”, which kind of gave away the plot.
I have wanted to go to Kuala Lumpur since I saw the movie “Entrapment”. The movie revolves around a plot to rob a bank in the Petronas Towers, two of the tallest buildings in the world. KL (what everyone around here calls Kuala Lumpur, which by the way, is the capital of Malaysia) was everything I expected and more. It felt grittier than Singapore, which was a nice change. And the Petronas Towers were beautiful.
Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, but feels different than Saudi Arabia. Although women dress conservatively (and many cover their head with scarves), most don’t wear the complete black abayas (robes) common in Saudi. Also, women work. It seems like every shop we enter has a female
store clerk (in Saudi, women didn’t work in public). And of course, women are allowed to drive here (in Saudi, they couldn’t get licenses).
Malaysia also has significant Hindu, Bhuddist, and (smaller) Christian populations. As far as we can tell, people from all four religions live in harmony with each other. For example, last week we had the Hindu Festival of Lights two days before the Moslems celebrated Eid, to a month of fasting (Ramadan). Because the days coincided this year, the whole country basically took a week off. Vacation for everyone!
After KL, we went back to Singapore for a few days, sailed up to Port Dickson, from there to Port Kelang, where we visited a Chinese stilt fishing village, then to Penang, and then on to the island of Langkawi,
where we are now.