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Showing posts from September, 2009

Seeya Singapore, Hello Home!

I sit at home typing this sad that I am not still on holidays. In some ways it is good to be back, good to be listening to music on my stereo with my dog sitting next to me. But I would rather still be travelling somewhere in the world. Not that long after I finished my last blog post and it was time to wake up. Pack the last items into our bags, pay the hotel bill and catch the shuttle bus to Terminal 1, watching the sunrise over the airport. There was no queue at the Qantas check-in counter and passing through immigration was quick as well. We wandered around the shops, B had a breakfast of kaya toast and egg, I just ate leftovers from the day before. In Singapore you need to pass through security before you pass into the gate lounge area. I had to wait while B queued up for the women's toilet. While waiting, I thought I saw Qantas' chief pilot (as seen on their safety videos) walking out from the gate. Cultural insensitivity - visa to Australia denied I say! Through the gate

An orchard of shops

Our last day in Singapore. As I type this B is watching a "historical" Chinese action flick with lots of wire stunts. The television in this hotel is pretty good. Apart from the dreadful CNN and other US news channels there is NHK Japan and even the Australia Channel. I've heard that it's not popular (a shearing competition, oh the thrills), but at least it screens Playschool. The Singaporeans take their kids education very seriously. It's not surprising as it was education that helped thrust Singapore into the high technology country it is today. The Roxy Centre, in which our hotel is located, houses not just massage parlours and beauty therapists but also a large number of tutoring businesses. One even advertises that it trains students for the Mathematics Olympiad. In Australia few would have heard of that competition. Education is a competition in Singapore. The pressure starts at the earliest age, in order that students get into the best schools, then the bes

A Firefly to Perankan Food

It was with some regret that we said goodbye to Kuantan and Malaysia today. We packed our belongings into the car and drove out past the kampongs to the airport. The Sultan Ahmed Shah terminal was quiet. Most of the shops and services were closed, though there was a restaurant and small local products shop open. Apart from our flight, the only other scheduled service was a Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur around 7 hours later. Check in opened shortly after we arrived. We put our two big bags through the scanner and then carried them to the single Firefly check in desk. They ignored the fact that my bag was 1.5 kg overweight. Maybe because it evened out between the two of us. More waiting, then the departure lounge gate opened and we passed through, this time our hand luggage was screened (but not the stroller). Another wait in the lounge, where we had good views over the tarmac. Unfortunately, there were no airforce operations to watch. The staff at the immigration booth were t

A lazy day at the beach

It's 2am and somebody is still setting fireworks off on the beach in front of the hotel. I can't see the explosions as I have the window shuttered, but I can still hear them. I've wanted to have a lazy day and today was the closest I got. I woke up in the night from a very sad dream. Dreams follow crazy paths, but this one resolved itself as so. An entity had been causing disruption of computer systems around the world. It turned out that this entity had emerged from the computer networks and had been struggling to gain access to more computing power so that it could live. The entity had taken on the persona of a woman. The protagonist who had "defeated" the entity discovered that it was alive, spoke to it. Ultimately fell in love with her. But his prior actions would lead to its death. As a gift to her he downloaded his memories so that she could experience life even as she died. I know it sounds like a pulpy sf or technopunk plot, but dreams are about feelings,

Driving us crazy

In Sydney a bad driver is either one who drives too aggressively or too erratically. Do the latter and the former will ensure that your drive is made a misery. In Malaysia they just forgive you. Thanks to the inflexible nature of their banking system we were forced to drive all the way from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur and back again simply to pick up a cheque book. Mother in law demanded it. B was initially terrified of driving in Malaysia, but after the easy drive of yesterday she figured that she could at least cope with the motorway between Kuantan and KL. Driving in KL was another matter as it is well known for its confusing road network and huge traffic jams. We figured that we'd find a train station on the outskirts and park there. As we left drove away from the resort we heard the radio say that, on average, 17 Malaysian died in road accidents per day in 2008. It's not difficult to understand why when you see them drive. Road rules are considered advisory only and frequently