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Malaysia & Singapore

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Marc and Nic's Message Page

Updated 22/03/08

Singapore

Crossing over to the Island which is the country of Singapore we had to pass the usual passport controls of travelling from one county to another. It was only a 4 hour drive from Malacca and we were dropped off on the outskirts of the city. Luckily before walking out of the bus stop we had put on our rain jackets and the waterproof covers on our backpacks, our walk to the underground was a bit of a soggy one as you will see from the photo’s and walking in the rain wearing flip flops isn’t a great look, especially when one of us has a slight limp!!

We spent half a day by getting the metro to Raffles Point which is the famous area where Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles first landed and set up the great sea port. We thought this area was a great part of town as you have a row of really cool restaurants and bars, the buildings of which have been here for years and were once used as shops and bars for the sailors and workmen that had come into Singapore on the various ships, though now-a-days next to all of this old history you have a row of sky scrappers that are used to house major banking companies from all around the world. We hope that the photographs do it justice as it is really something to see the old buildings nestled right next to the modern skyscrapers.

Mega rain in Singapore and a long walk!
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Marc trying to win Champions League tickets!
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Street on Raffles point!
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Enjoying a beer by the Singapore river!
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The river as it was back then...
 

Liverpool road signs outside a bar on the river!
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Singapore river as it is now!
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Caught a fish!
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As we walked on the opposite side of the river we were met by a guy with an Albino Python. Not only did he see fit to force the snake onto Marc he also forced the most hilarious hat onto his head at the same time! Marc was that occupied by the snake he hadn’t even realised that the Snake Charmer had placed the hat onto his head… a perfect opportunity for Nic to get him back after the dreadful outfit she had been photographed wearing in Beijing!

Marc pretending to be brave!
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Marc has no idea about funny hat!
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Marc still has no idea!!
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SSSSSS LLLLLL IIIIIIII TTTTT HHHHH EEE RR ING!
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Sir Stamford Raffles memorial plaque!
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Some of the figures surrounding the river!
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Statues by the river!
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These statues are making a very good point!
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Raffles Long Bar....

The evening was spent with a visit to Raffles Hotel and of course, a visit to the Raffles hotel wouldn’t be complete without trying one of the famous Singapore Sling’s! We’ve got to say that it is probably the only place you would catch a group of 4 burly lads seeing fit to drink Singapore Sling’s without feeling a wee bit embarrassed, but everyone in the place is at it, not only that but it is a huge thing to eat the complimentary Monkey nuts and sling the shells straight onto the floor. To be honest it’s the first thing you notice when you walk into the place as there are shells in huge heaps all over the place. It all comes from the time when the rich and famous used to just throw them onto the floor as a rebellious act of appreciation which they could not get away with at home. Were sure most of you will already know but the reason the Singapore Sling cocktail is the signature drink of Raffles hotel is due to the fact that it was invented there by a waiter called Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon between 1910 and 1915. We had heard mixed reports about the Singapore Sling due to the fact it is now pre-made in big batches and then just pored out of containers straight into your glass, which is a bit of a shame, but we have to say we both thoroughly enjoyed it, which is a good job really considering it cost us 50 Singapore dollars! (Marc is still getting over the shock of it now!!)

Enjoying our Singapore sling at Raffles!
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Monkey nuts on the floor!
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Nic enjoying the Singapore Sling!
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Ouch!
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The Long Bar plaque!
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The Raffles Hotel!
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We forgot in our last update to include the reason for the curry photos below. We have also included some extra photos of Malacca for you to have a look at.

Curry in Malacca.....

We were looking for somewhere to eat when we first arrived into Malacca and the first place we come across was an Indian Restaurant, we were both in the mood for a curry so went straight in. On sight of the food and hygiene of the place (or should we say lack of it!) Nic decided against eating. Marc on the other hand decided hunger was more important than a dodgy belly at that point so tucked right in. He first took the waiter around all of the Curry dishes on display to find out what each dish was, once he was quite happy that he had got the point across to the waiter that he only wanted vegetable curry and rice he came back to the seat to wait with anticipation (or trepidation!) for his food to arrive. First of all the waiter brought a banana leaf to the table and explained that this would be used instead of a plate. Marc immediately noticed numerous Ants crawling all over it and pointed this out to the waiter who said “no problem Sir, I will change for another leaf!” The waiter then brought a bowl containing 3 different types of curried vegetables and splattered them onto the top of the leaf, he then went on to dish some rice onto the middle of the leaf finally a metal container containing two different curry’s was picked up from an adjacent table and put in front of Marc, so he could pour how ever much curry he would like on top of his rice. It appeared to us that the curry was kept in these containers on each table all day, so fresh servings were not made for each individual order but just moved from one table to the next. In spite of this and having explained all this to you the curry happened to be very nice and there were no ill side effects on any of the days following… So Nic should have gone for the curry after all!

So this is our last update of our Asia experience, an experience we are both going to be quite sad to say goodbye to. We have had the times of our lives here in Asia but were sure that the next chapter of our trip in Oz will hold some great memories as well!

We will be saying G’day to you all very soon with tales of our first experience’s in Australia!

Loads of love,

Nic and Marc xxx

Updated 09/03/08

Malaysia!

We have visited a few places in Malaysia and possibly would have visited a lot more had we had more time; however the place’s we have visited have been amazing with such a diverse mix of religions, history and cultures.

Penang

Our Guesthouse in Penang was great! It was owned and run by a local family so it was more like sharing their home rather than actually staying in a hotel. It was right on the beach and had 24 hour WIFI connection, it also happened to be right in front of a mosque so you can imagine we had constant entertainment supplied by the singing/chanting. It rained quite heavily over our three nights spent in Penang which gave us the chance to plan ahead for our Oz Trip with bookings for accommodation, applying for jobs and sorting out our itinerary. The thunder storm on the first night was quite amazing with the whole village loosing electric supply for a day!

Still we wanted to explore Penang. After chatting to the owner of the guesthouse he kindly gave us a lift down to the food court that we had heard so much about. This was definitely the cleanest outside food court that we had seen and the variety of food on offer was making our mouths water! Fresh seafood, Indian Curries, Chinese noodle and rice dishes, fresh spring rolls, fresh dumplings and a variety of pancakes, all costing 50p to 1pound… So this really was a chance to try a bit of everything!

Marc and Nic’s order

Indian savory pancake
Mixed meat savory dumpling (Large)
Indian butter chicken with Pillar rice
Banana and Chocolate sweet pancake

After eating we strolled back through the main road night market. You could definitely pick up some real bargains if you had the room in your suitcase. Our advice is that if you are coming to these places bring an empty suitcase!! We just about managed to get through it buying only 2 DVD’s and two t-shirts! Our last day in Penang we went back to the City of George Town with all of it’s Colonial buildings it’s a pretty cool place to see!

Nic with some locals on the beach!
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Batu Ferringhi beach on Penang!
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Enjoying a beer at Batu Ferringhi!
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Kuala Lumpur

Our next stop was Kuala Lumpur, which took us 4 hours by bus. The high light of our visit to Kuala Lumpur was the PETRONAS Twin Towers; in fact it was the saving grace of our trip to Kuala Lumpur as other than the towers there is pretty much little else to do apart from shopping, and compared to the cheap fun markets in Penang it didn’t really come close. Coupled with the dirty streets and the not too friendly locals this made Kuala Lumpur our least favorite city we have visited so far.

PETRONAS Twin Towers

The PETRONAS twin towers have an allocation of 1,200 free tickets to access the double decker walkway each day. Due to this we got there quite early and started queuing. We managed to get our entry tickets for 10:30am so we waited around outside and admired the view for a while. The tour started with a 3D Cinema which was presented by Petronas, the biggest petroleum company in South East Asia. We got handed some trendy specs as you will see from the pics and then the presentation started rolling.

The twin towers are the PETRONAS company’s head quarters. One tower built by a Japanese company and the other by a South Korean company. Due to a steel structure being two expensive the Malaysian company decided to use a special mixture of concrete. Rigorous testing was done for the right formula of concrete so that it could flex as well as be strong enough to hold the structure.

The centerpiece is the connecting walkway bridge. This 250 ton preassembled bridge had to be craned up 170 meters high then connected to the towers. To support the bridge they had to engineer 2 V shaped steel rods to go underneath the bride and connect to the main towers via huge ball bearings. The purpose of the ball bearing was to accommodate any movement between the two towers.

Hostel in Kuala Lumpur!
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Queue for the tickets!
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The Petronas Twin Towers!
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Marc and Nic in the 3D Cinema
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View down from the bridge!
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Marc looking down!
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Brave painter painting the supporting pillars!
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Glad we did'nt take the stairs!
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Malacca

What a place, and, we would advise anyone travelling to Malaysia that Malacca is a must! We stayed at a fab place called Tony’s Guest House and was of course, as the name suggests, owned and run by Tony. Tony happens to be an artist and has designed the bedrooms with his paintings and each bedroom is completely different to the next. Tony also happens to be a great cook and we enjoyed some lovely food while staying here. All of the tourist sites in Malacca are based around it’s interesting past which includes how it became one of the most important trading routes in times gone by and how the French then the Dutch and ultimately the Brits changed the future of Malacca for ever! We started our day by going for a walk and coming across the Dutch grave yard, the plaque in the photographs below will explain the significance of this site. From here we walked up a steep path that took us to St Paul’s hill with views across Malacca. From here we went to get some lunch at the Malacca Mega Mall and onto see the view of the Malacca straits. We were then on the way to catch a river cruise and was both given a near heart attack when we were dived upon by a leaping lizard. On the cruise we were then to see the weirdest creatures we have ever seen called Mudskippers!! They were straight out of the Guinness advert -the one where humans are taken back through civilization and end up being Mudskippers at the side of the mudbank! (All good things come to those who wait!).Take a look at the link to be amazed by the air breathing fish

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/animals/fish-animals/spiny-rayed-fish/mudskippers.html

It was then onto Jonker Street which happens to be the street that all of the servants used to live and shop in the olden days.  All in all Malacca was fantastic and here are the photos for you to see…

Curry served on a banana leaf!
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River cruise up the Melacca river!
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Picking up some fruit at the Market!
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Tasted good. Honest!
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History of the Dutch graveyard!
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Marc and Nic at the Dutch graveyard!
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Colonial house and the Malacca straights!
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Nic at St Pauls hill!
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Shop on Jonker Street!
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St Xavier statue on St Pauls hill!
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Pedal taxi's in Malacca!
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The Malacca straights!
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Portuguese Galleon!
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The history of the Galleon!
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First sighting of the Malacca river lizard!
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An original Malaysian house by the river side!
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The monitor lizard swimming past the boat!
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Monitior lizard getting some rays!
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Malacca square!
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The famous Jonker Street!
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The Melacca river at night!
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St Xavier Church!
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The only things in life you regret are the things you don't do!