I hung around in Singapore for the Thaipusam festival Continue reading Thaipusam
One thing about Singapore is that you can transport yourself to different parts of the world in theme park style by going to a few of the little enclaves dotted about.
Right now I am in Little India. Little India is like a sanotised microcosm of the mother country where you can absorb the sights and sounds in a few hundres square metres, music shops, shrines, them smell of incense misxed with spicy food. Tonight I chowed down on a mutton byriani and cold iced tea.
I almost didn’t stay through the day though. For a while this morning I missed my lady and felt somehow as if I were negligent in not being in the UK with my brethren for the bad weather and knee deep snow, so much so that I rang Qantas and asked them to change my flight. But just before I gave them my credit card info for the surcharge I realised that I had better finish what I had started and make it through my last week for this winters trip, so I have booked a bus to take me to Mersing where I’ll catch a ferry to Tioman tomorrow.
for tonight I have the treat of the six nations starting so I’ll pop on over to a local bar and catch the game in 20 minutes time.
I’m getting too lazy to shift my arse out of Singapore – It;s comfy here, not as expensive as you’d think if you stck to the food halls where you can buy any food from China, India, Malaysia with even fish and chips on the menu for those missing home. So why move – I have heard the weather is still awful on the island of Tioman so perhaps diving is out of the question so we’ll see – it’s raining here now so maybe this muggy weather will lighten up a wee bit.
Anyhow, later on I persuade a few lovely souls staying in the hostel thatÂ it would be a good idea to try a Singapore Sling at Raffles. It’s the only thing I had on my agenda here so we have some food and meander over to the iconic hotel in the late evening. I didn’t actually think we’d get in, believe it or not I looked about the tidiest of the bunch in my cotton shirt and strides, but my old tatty trainers, a lovely young French girl who was wearing a pair of rubber thongs and an American feller that looked like he should be playing in the Red Hot Chillies all added up to a refusal at the first hurdle in my books but no, they allowed us to sit in an outside bar in the centre of the hotel and sup on a few slings we did. They tasted a bit like an over enthusiastic half pint of strong grenadine, but hell, they were invented here and we had one at the source.
Job done, now what Captain Kirk?
I remember once standing on a Thai raliway station with my daughter in my arms as life went on around us. Lady boys flirted on the night time tracks and people milled around until they all started to buzz about like stirred up bees shouting ‘Singapore Singapore’. It was the orient express travelling on it’s way south with it’s carriages full of luxury. A little nest of people sat on a balcony at the back of the train with a waiter poised to fill up glasses with more champagne and for a moment I saw the difference between the life we had chosen to live and the opulence of this little island sat like a jewel in the sea.
And here I am, sweltering in the humidity that marks so many months in this part of the world thinking that the only way to really get to know this place is to take out a bank loan and spend until increasingly chubby fingers are spent.
But no, one will simply nip into Raffles and have a Singapore Sling, anything else would be showing off. How vulgar.
The friends I am staying with in Perth bought me a ticket to see David Byrne play at the city zoo so we ambled over there via some nachos and a pint and settled in for what turned out to be a wonderful night.
Byrne built the evening up from low key to spectacular in a similar way to the ‘Stop making Sense’ gigs of the eighties, only this time it was subtle. He played a lot of the Byrne Eno songs and I think most people went home feeling like they had seen the best that Byrne could deliver – a few people were shouting for Psycho Killer at the end but I’m quite happy he didn’t do that song, It was always a song for opening the night, end the night on something a little less psychotic.
So here I am waiting to go to the airport. The hospitality I have recieved in Perth has been the best yet, but perhaps that’s because they are valuable old friends I am visiting and a few bridges have been mended. Life is short and we can’t afford to waste such beautiful people, so it is on a note of reconciliation and friendship that I leave this wonderful country on. I am also happy that such a warm welcome was afforded by people from back home, I had begun to think that it was an Australian cultural quirk to throw the doors open with such warmth, but no. Good.
So I am in love with this country, it took me a wee while to get my head around it’s warm and very big heart but I think I have an idea of it’s nature now and feel comfortable just being here.
I think we’ll be back.
Just to show I haven’t forgotten that I am supposed to be writing a blog about work and travel I had better mention that I do work whilst on the hoof y’know.
Today I updated three websites and went half blind staring at my monitor until the early hours – it’s worth it though as when I put my laptop down the scenery is still stunning.
For this evening we went to one of those Ozzy restaurants where S.E.Asian food is given the reverence it deserves, then back home for a few cold beers. Life is good – only a few more days until I fly to Singapore and then Malaysia so I had better make the most of Australia now, I do hope to be back.
Well Mike and I stayed up until 5am eventually moving to the shed so as not to wake up the family. We put the world to rights and figured out what to do with it so don’t you worry.
Anyhow, Joey and Mile nicely bought me a ticket to see the cricket at the WACA stadium in Perth, so we trotted down there with some buddies of Mikes, an ESKI full of food prepared by Joey and a few hangovers.
The cricket was great, one of the best games I have ever seen – New Zealand won the game on the last ball of the 50 overs. The crowd sure do get behind the boys in Oz. Here is a picture of one bloke and his girlfriend…
The flight to Perth was planned well – I booked a seat on the left of the plane knowing we would be heading down the coast, and sure enough we flew along the Great Ocean Road so I could see the coves and bays that I had driven around in the days before. This always gives me a perspective on just where we are in the scheme of things – I’m not sure how, but it does.
So I sat like a cat with it’s nose to a window while the plane ate up the miles to Perth and was met at the airport by an old old girlfriend of mine. It is lovely to see her, her husband and children and yet again the hospitality is faultless.
Perth is what I would call a ‘Boutique City’, Brisbane was similar – easy to get around, very clean and not imposing, everything in it’s place. Of course it has a big river but does not make as much use of it as other cities, but this is changing.
This Western Australia has less population than a mid sized European city. They seem to think they need to change this and ship people in – ship people in so that they can get more resources out of the ground and make more money, therefore being able to consume more and eat up resources.
Keep Australia just the way it is…and Perth is very lovely.
Friday night in Melbourne was a bit of a washout – well for my purposes it was. I wanted somewhere where I could site outside and have a beer and a smoke whiling away the hours before my flight – my flight was at 6.25am Saturday morning so I figured I’d head to the airport and sit it out.
I found one place that suited my purposes – the Melbourne Hotel or the such but it closed after 15 minutes because it wasn’t busy enough. Not busy enough – at 9pm on a Friday night. Not many pubs back home have a similar problem of people not wanting to drink in them, but then again I am getting the idea that with 20 million people in a country 1.5 times the size of Europe there is a lot of competition for limited livestock.
So I headed to the airport and waited it out, dining on a breakfast at McDonalds as nothing else was open – I had survived on nothing but fruit and yoghurt on my trip around the great ocean road and was saving myself for a laksha at the airport, but McDonalds it was to be…
Ok, so I did rally the hire car Continue reading Not So Cheap Car Hire