Friday, April 2, 2010
I flew into Singapore about a week ago and after a long day that involved train + shuttle bus (because I got off at the wrong terminal) + plane + train + bus + bus (because I got off at the wrong stop) I finally made it to Johor Bahru to see both my sisters and my brother waiting for me. It was about 9pm, so we all went down to a hawker street food place and I had my first introduction to Malaysian food... in case you didn't know, Malaysian food and drink is delicious and at $2 for a decent sized meal, you can afford to eat everything on the menu.
Johor Bahru is quite a large city in Malaysia and compared to other cities I've been to in South East Asia, quite developed. Everyone says hello as you pass and most people are quite friendly, even the taxi drivers for a change. That weekend the 4 of us decided to spend the weekend in Tioman Islands, which is a 3 hour bus and 2 hour ferry from here. But we got a taste of Malay "island" time here, because the ferry left 2 hours late and ours was the last stop. But we saw a nice sunset as we came in and had a nice meal and game of 500 by the beach. The next day we did a hike through the jungle to Monkey Bay to do some snorkelling. The hike was fairly steep and after 5 minutes we were all dripping with sweat. Thongs was not a good choice. So we turfed the thongs and stripped down to bathers like real jungle people and made the two hour walk. It was definitely worth it - we came upon a glistening, deserted beach full of colourful fish and coral and a few turtles. We snorkelled for a few hours before embarking on the journey back, followed by monkeys. It was just getting dark when we finally got back and we were all exhausted.
We have spent the last few days back in Johor Bahru, sampling the local cuisine and shopping. We also spent a day in Singapore where we rode on the largest observation wheel in the world, ate the best Indian meal I have ever eaten in Little India (which was almost enough to convert me to vegetarianism... almost), did some shopping on Orchard Road, then did a Night Safari at the zoo. Another exhausting day.
Yesterday was Sam's birthday, so when he finished uni we did a tour of the hospital with him (massive place, pretty old and run down though) then went out for dinner at a seafood restaurant on stilts over the water. Then we came home and had some cake and watched a movie. The other night we also heard a massive BANG as we were sitting in Sam's apartment and rushed out to the balcony to see a cloud of grey smoke rising in the air a few kms from the apartment. We weren't sure what it was (Beth: "You don't get bombs here do you?) but the next day we were in a taxi and drove past a burnt out oil tanker which explained that.
So tomorrow Jacqui, Beth and I fly to Borneo to do some jungle treks and see some orang utans. Sam will probably be grateful to have a break from us for the week, as we have made a fair mess in his apartment and our 3 strong personalities have sometimes clashed... I hope we don't kill each other on this week in Borneo...
Love Meg... xo