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Easy street

A taste of home in Singapore

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I thought I'd try to offer some more details about our brief stay in Singapore before I move on to an update about how Malaysia is treating us so far.

For the first two nights, we stayed at a great hostel called Footprints in Little India, where the kids loved the bunk beds, air conditioning and general cleanliness. They also lucked into a big flat-screen TV with Playstation in the lounge area, and spent an hour on two separate occasions playing soccer with each other. That all ended when Ciaran nearly broke Chloe's arm during some dispute that I didn't witness, but it was good while it lasted.

On our first afternoon there, we headed to Sim Lim tower, a high-tech shopping mecca with about five storeys of shops all selling phones, computers, video games, watches and other electronics. We were so dazzled by the display after a month in one-storey Bali that we lost ourselves in that complex for about an hour. We were offered a spectacular deal on new Nintendo DS games, but left without buying anything more than a new adaptor for the systems so that we could start recharging them again. We decided to mull over the purchase of more games before taking the plunge.

We didn't have time to explore every neighbourhood, but had a good look around Little India and Orchard Road before heading to the zoo the next day. A zoo is a zoo -- I won't ramble on about every single exhibit -- suffice it to say that this was a highlight of the trip for both kids, second only to Waterbom Park in Bali. The best moment for both was being kissed by a seal named Carlos during a show near the end of our visit there.

While in Singapore, we ate mainly at Indian restaurants, getting nameless thalis in little corner shops and giant dosais in others. For his first venture into dosais, Ciaran tried a "cone dosai" which looked like a giant party hat (wide at the bottom, pointed on top) and was actually taller than him when it arrived at our table. We took photos but I haven't uploaded them yet.

For our third night, we stayed with friends Paul and Naomi at their condo quite close to the hostel. If the zoo was the highlight for the kids, our stay at Sunshine Plaza was the highlight for the adults: the best coffee, softest pillows and coldest beers we've had since we left Ottawa, topped off by cereal with fresh milk the next morning (unheard of here in the land of styrofoam-textured cold white toast and greasy omelettes for breakfast). We were planning to leave the next day on a 1:30 pm bus to Melaka, and were supposed to be at the bus station by 1:15. At 1:20, we were still back in Sim Lim buying those Nintendo games we'd been pondering (40 games for $50!!). We dashed back to Paul & Naomi's house, finished packing, and realized there was no time to walk to the bus station -- in fact, there was hardly enough time even to drive there, and in any case we'd used up the last of our Singapore dollars. Paul & Naomi saved the day by hailing us a cab and giving us some cash, and we made it to the station just in time. Many thanks to our fabulous hosts!

The bus trip to Melaka was peaceful and uneventful -- we got to listen to our iPods while the kids immersed themselves in their new games. Melaka itself has been a good adventure so far, but I'll save that for another post.

Posted by The Rymans 22:16 Archived in Singapore Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Managing on the road

rain 28 °C
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Since I have four minutes of internet time left I thought some of you might like to know more generally how we're coping with life on the road. The kids are doing fabulously well, I have to say -- they're enjoying the trip and are extremely adaptable. Ciaran's reading is really coming along; he can now read the Wimpy Kid diary books by himself, which is a giant leap from where he began in August.

Our one weakness seems to be in keeping track of our stuff. We're leaving a trail across Asia. Since we left home, we've managed to lose a frisbee, Chloe's hat, Chloe's goggles, my watch, one of my sarongs, a bottle of shampoo and I think there were other things but I've lost track of my mental list somewhere along the way as well. Need to do a better job of that! Also, after all that dithering over whether or not to buy/take Nintendo DS's along with us, we took them but failed to bring along a converter, so were unable to use or recharge them throughout Bali. Of course we've put that situation right now that we're in Singapore by buying an Asian adaptor. Woo-hoo!

Posted by The Rymans 19:27 Archived in Singapore Tagged family_travel Comments (2)

Whizzing through Singapore

rain 28 °C
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Well, we survived Bali and have now turned up in Singapore. We've been here just two nights and will leave tomorrow for Melaka, Malaysia. I have about 12 more minutes of free internet here at the hostel before I get booted out of the system, so apologies for the quick, short and unedited entry!

Our last night in Bali was interesting. We headed out for dinner around 7:30 pm and had just ordered beers and milkshakes when the power went out. The power often goes out, but is usually restored within a minute or two. In this case, we sat in the darkness for several minutes before the waitress brought out candles, then sat there for another 45 minutes playing cards and waiting....but still no power. We left in search of a restaurant on a block that did have power, but it was a futile search: as it turns out, most of the island was in darkness. The kids had still not had their milkshakes, and were starving, so we found some peanuts, crackers and juice boxes for them and called that dinner.

Back at the hotel room, which was still in total darkness, we went to bed without fans or air-con. The rooms were like saunas (we had two separate rooms), which made sleeping difficult. Difficult turned to impossible, for me anyway, after Mark speculated on the possibility of the power outage being related to another terrorist attack, since by then it had been out for several hours. We were wondering if we might run into problems leaving the country the next morning.

The power finally came back on around midnight, nearly five hours after it had first gone out. But we'd set the alarm to go off shortly after 4 a.m., so I never really did get to sleep.

The flight to Singapore was just 2.5 hours long and totally uneventful. Our first impression of Singapore is that it seems a paragon of organization and efficiency. Every travel-related task here is just a breeze. The kids are also loving it. I sent Ciaran to brush his teeth the first evening and told him not to worry about bringing his water bottle along with him, since he could just use the tap water here. He said, "Mom, I LOVE Singapore!" Chloe, for her part, has decided she'd like to live here some day. It's clean, fun, and far more interesting than Ottawa, she figures.

We spent yesterday at the Singapore Zoo, which was a great hit with the kids despite monsoonal downpours for much of the day. We're having dinner with friends of ours who live here tonight (hi Paul!) and then tomorrow we're off by bus to Malaysia. More news when I have more internet time!

Posted by The Rymans 19:18 Archived in Singapore Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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