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ASIA'S GARDEN CITY AT A GLANCE

Written on: Wednesday May 3rd, 2006

A journal entry from: SOUTHEAST ASIA

Pondok Lodge
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
 
We arrived last night in Kuala Lumpur after a bustling three days in Singapore.

Our journey began when we arrived in LAX. The cesspool of all airports. It was dirty, chaotic and very random. Although our budget did not allow it, we decided to escape and treat ourselves to a swanky dinner in the City of Angels.
 
We boarded the plane to Singapore and discovered, to our horror, that we would not be sitting together for the duration of the 19hr flight ahead. To add insult to injury, we were both sandwiched between two complete strangers, surrounded by crying infants... Bon Voyage! To compensate, at least the food was good and even Brea was able to enjoy a couple of tasty meals aboard Singapore Air.
 
By the time we touched down in Tai Pei, our edematous extremities were so swollen that we could barely put our shoes on. Our brief stop in Taiwan gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs and power up with a java fix as cockroaches scuttled across the cafe counter - Welcome to Asia!
 
After the grueling 35 hours of travel we were extremely relieved to arrive in Singapore. With our lives on our backs, we set out in search of our hostel. Upon arriving at our hostel in vibrant Little India, we were delighted to find that it was bright, clean and spacious - a great start to our adventure. Our first encounters with fellow backpackers were delightful, a lot of people from around the world and even some great Edmontonians. Small world 'Eh!

So some of our Singapore highlights worth mentioning: Singapore is termed to be the clean "nanny" state. Absurd rules such as no gum chewing, no ownership of snakes and no durians on public transit. There is a plethora of diverse markets and temples that we wandered thru in the various districts of Little India, Kampong Glam (the Muslim area) and Chinatown. We stumbled upon numerous testosterone block parties. So in other words, the male to female ratio was 100:2. Seriously this was no joke... Can you guess who the two females were? We later discovered that Sunday evening is boys night out in Little India. Dianne got hit by a car... really! But that is a story in itself (don't worry there were no serious injuries sustained). We had traditional henna bodyart, but only the real deal that covers our entire hands and forearms. Of course, we had to have our "authentic" Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles hotel and at S$20 ($15CAD) a pop, they were outrageously overrated and disgustingly sweet. The Night Safari was amazing. We saw lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, Indian rhinos, hippos, giraffes and so many more exotic animals. All of them roaming around in a gigantic park without cages and within such close proximity of us. We visited the SAM (Singapore Art Museum) and we also enjoyed sampling all sorts of Asian cuisine, from the expensive riverside restaurants to the smelly hawker centres - a conglomeration of crowded outdoor food stalls. Brea turned into Narcoleptic Brea and began taking cat naps everywhere (i.e. during dinner, in the middle of conversations, while standing at the bustop, etc.) Thankfully, her jet lag is slowly wearing off now. And lastly, scary Indian men clacking their false teeth at us.
 
Our ride into Kuala Lumpur from the airport was fast and frightening. The drivers here treat the roadways as their own personal formula one race tracks - as we zoomed through the streets we truly feared for our lives! We found a lovely hostel (Pondok Lodge) amidst all the pandemonium of KL. 'Beautifully decorated' and friendly folk, this hostel came highly recommended and was right smack in the middle of a busy marketplace.
 
We're spending a couple days exploring KL and then we'll head into the Malaysian jungles. Oh the "mysteries" that surely await us there....