14.02.2015 - 19.02.2015 32 °C
Melaka - The Venice of Asia but without the prices and not a single pavarotti wannabe gondolier in sight. A relaxing three days and a chance to soak up the atmosphere at the local night market and soak up the grease of the local street food.... I'm ready for a salad! The town has an interesting past having been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch (plenty of windmills to make it feel like home) and of course the British. I managed to learn all this on an action packed visit to the local history museum.... A chance to get out of the sun and look at some manakins attempting to represent the various nationalities of the traders that visited the port town but ultimately ended up looking like the rejects at a madam tussuads audition. The town itself had plenty of character and also plenty of characters including the local rickshaw men, who had decorated them to be what can only be described as Disney themed techno tricycles! For some reason the Japanese and Chinese tourists were going mad for it...atleast they made for some bizarre photos.
I spent much of my three days with my international room mates from France, Holland and Australia. But to bring it back to the Venice line of thought in the hostel I noticed a guy watching the England v Italy 6 nations game....surely an England fan watching the highlights of the inevitable win you would have thought, and not a former italian rugby professional from near Venice, and now professional traveller/beard grower! Decision made, the beard stays and after a few beers with my new Italian friend, next to the canal an agreement made to send a beard photo when I catch up to his Jesus like appearance....
On the bus trip to Singapore it was good to see mans destructive nature at its best, mile after mile of palm plantation much like a repeating background on a cheap cartoon. That being said the trip was good and a chance to be on the road rather than flying over the countryside....also the Malaysians have cracked what bus travel should be by basically swapping out the nasty plastic seats we're used to and putting in the kind of armchairs your grandparents fall asleep in in front of the TV. Time for some shut eye before the next urban metropolis....
So Singapore and first up some huge praise for a German chap I met in Melaka, who despite suffering with some kind of food poisoning still managed to provide me with a golden nugget of German logic for my visit to Singapore. In Singapore there is a newish building which basically looks like a giant surfboard on top of three towers, said German chap advised me that the views from here were unreal and also that you could go to the observation deck for $18 or for the same price and the slight inconvience of having to wear shoes you could go to a bar one level higher and get a beer...."why would you go to the observation deck, zis makes kein sense" and my word he was right! Me and my hostel room posse, an Iranian, an aussie and a older Japanese chap, timed our assent perfectly as with beer in hand and view in front the practice chinese new years fireworks were set off...amazing!
Singapore was incredibly clean, they jet wash the pavements.... and raised the food bar yet again. I'm still not quite ready for some of the local tastes yet, I'll wait a while for my first try of frog soup/pigs brain/insert other animal part that would normally find its way into a bin or budget sausage. The marina area was stunning and gave great views over the city, I also managed to track down the local cricket club but struggled to convince them I was a member wearing shorts and flip flops....good to see crickets elitist nature lives on in the empire.
Time for the real fireworks and time for guy fawlkes to take note, this is how you really make things go with a bang. Me and my international entourage arrived with plenty of time to spare at the marina bay for the main show, only to find there not to be much to do and the best killer of all spare time beer, greatly overpriced. Either way the wait was worth it and the Singapore government blew up enough fireworks to send a Chinese satellite into space!
Happy new year and I'll wish my self a happy birthday... One year older and still non the wiser, hopefully the year of the goat will be a good one!