Singapore Sling


Malacca was for sure our best stop in Malaysia. On our free day we roamed the winding narrow streets and explored the shops. We sampled the famous chicken rice balls, which were basically rice that had been cooked in chicken stock made into a ball. They were pretty good not that great though. We tried the Chendol, which is a shaved ice treat topped with molasses, i thought it was gross. We also visited the Baba Nyonya Heratige Museum which explores the marriages of the native Malay women and the Chinese business traders that immigrated to Malacca. It was in an original Baba Nyonya home of the Chang family who were spice traders. It was beautiful and it was amazing that the intricately carved teak staircase was built with no nails because the Chinese believe nails should only be used in coffins. They also said that when they were married the bride and groom would meet each other for the first time (arranged marriages back then) and they would drink sweet tea, to have sweetness in life and eat sticky food, to stick together. Then later the group enjoyed the night market and dinner together.

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We left the hotel at 6AM for Singapore yesterday and it was quite the interesting journey, at least for me anyway. We drove about three hours to the border and went through the exit point of Malaysia then reboarded the bus to drive over the straits of Mealacca and enter Singapore. We arrived at the border of Singapore to go through customs, being sure not to have any illegal contraband. including chewing gum, we had a gum chewing party while we packed the night before to use it all up before crossing the border. I get up to the customs agent and hand over my passport. It won’t scan. He tries and retries. He tries at the neighboring agent’s desk, no luck. The rest of the group has already gone through and is waiting at the bus and they shuffle me off to the sixth floor to a waiting room with several other people. I watch as the agents behind the desk scrutinize passports and one by one call people into the back like a doctors office only to release them and not let them leave yet. I ask the Indian guy next me how long he has been waiting there, he says 30 minutes. I have no way of contacting anyone from the group and I had already been briefed that the bus would leave after 20 minutes. They finally call me into the back for questioning. They ask me all sorts of questions, how much cash do you have with you (random small amounts of several currencies and no Singapore dollars), how long will you stay in Singapore (one day), do you often travel from country to country (once in college), Have you ever been to Singapore before (no), where do you travel next (Lombock, Indonesia). In my head I’m thinking this story sounds more and more like a drug smuggler the more I tell it. They finally decide that I am not a threat and allow me to take my passport and enter the country, after about 40 minutes. I find Anik waiting for me on the other side and we take the next bus into the city. The others went a head on the first bus. Turns out that since my passport was issued in 2005 it is the old version and does not scan in their scanners, however it is completely valid so I’m not sure why that should matter.

Finally Anik and I arrived at the hotel and relaxed for a minute before we went to lunch at a nearby food court. I had chickens feet with noodles which I was happy about because its only the second time I’ve seen them on a menu since I’ve been in Asia and the first time they were fried and were not as good as the black bean sauce kind. Later we waled around the city and it is for sure a modern westernized city. Also the first city in Asia where they actually follow traffic laws! Lots of impressive modern architecture and shopping malls everywhere. We even enjoyed a cocktail on the rooftop of the boat building, it had great views. We also sipped Singapore Slings at the famous Raffels Hotel, where apparently Hemingway used to do the same.

We also said goodbye to all of our trip mates, which was sad. They have all been so great and I will miss them all. I’m sure we will stay in touch via Facebook and hopefully share all of our photos. The one thing that I think I will miss out on the most by skipping my next tour is the people. I will meet plenty of others though I’m sure.

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BANGKOK DAY 1


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Day 1 in Bangkok has been great. It is amazingly easy to get around. Would have never thought you could come here and get by on your own with out a tour but you totally could. People were stopping us on the streets and writing down list of all the places to see and then hopped us right in to a TukTuk to drive us around for the day. 20THB for taking us to five different places and waiting for us at each one which is like less than $1. Although they did have to take us to a few tailor shops which I think is how they make their money because the shops pay them to take tourists there.
We even wandered into some type of event or ceremony with all these monks everywhere and someone speaking Thai over load speakers. It could have something to do with it being the Queen’s birthday today, not quite sure though.

Nightlife so far is interesting. We wandered the streets last night for a bit and came across a huge street party. There was literally just an old lady selling beers and a dude with a speaker playing music and people are all just dancing in the street. An active street mind you. Cars driving through the dance floor! Good times for sure. We will see what is going on tonight after we meet the rest of the group.

Bangkok has her now……


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I guess it was devastatingly pretty photos like this one that first sparked my interest in Thailand a few years back. (Admittedly not my photo but I’m not there yet! There will be originals to come.) How can you not want to experience a view so amazing? After my first trip to Asia, almost 10 years ago now, I was hooked. It was my first trip overseas and I guess I figured go big or go home, lets go to China. Following that I did a couple of stints in Western Europe and in between a few short trips to Costa Rica and the Caribbean.

I’ve been on few different types of trips. When I went to China I went with a company called eftours which is a student travel company that has super cheap prices and is mostly all inclusive. So if you are a student, look it up! Amazing deals. My trip was only $3000.00 including all flights, transport, hotels and meals!!

Then I was off to Europe about a year later. I did a study abroad program with my university, FAU in Florence. It was just amazing. Possibly the time of my life. Had a sweet apartment provided by the school as my home base to travel all around by train on the weekends. So I have to say if you are considering a study abroad, DO IT! I swear you won’t regret it.

These two trips vary greatly structure wise. With EFTours we had a schedule to follow with very little time to explore on your own. Which for how young I was and how foreign China is it was a perfect fit for me. My study abroad and the following months spent wandering Europe by plane and train was pretty much a free for all. We did whatever we felt like, which was well, awesome. I also feel that as a westerner it is much easier to navigate Europe on your own than Asia. So I think that a trip that has elements of both styles will be best for my next trip to Asia. A little wiser and more experienced now I don’t t think I need quite so much structure but still, considering I don’t speak or read the languages over there I will still be in need of some direction.

In my furious online research of traveling to Thailand I came across Intrepid Travel which has a million great trips that I want to take available. I also think that the tour structure will suit me perfectly for a few reasons. It is guided but you can choose to opt out of anything and they take care of all your accommodation and overland travel arrangements and you also have free time available to explore on your own. In addition many of the travelers are solo, so I can go alone and have new friends to make when I get there.

Since I am currently not working, I had been searching for a new job but the task just seemed so daunting considering I don’t know what I want to do. Do I just take any job just to have a job and then just hate it? In my frustration my web surfing wandered to Intrepid Travel website. In one of those hasty travel moments I booked a trip, Bangkok to Bali. My reasoning is since I’m not working I might as well go on a nice big trip and try to figure some things out along the way, right? Sounds like a plan to me, so I will be leaving from Ft Lauderdale airport at 7 AM on August 9th and arrive in Bangkok two days later, (the flights will be long for sure). Hopefully by the time I return I will have some clue of what I should do or most likely I won’t have any more clues but at least I will have been to Thailand.