Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Singapore to Malaysia

So now I'm Kuala Lumpur. I had a few good days in Singapore. I visited the zoo, a definite must-see that somehow I didn't on my trip last year. The enclosures aren't really cages, except for a few necessary ones like the butterfly enclosure or the close-up reptile enclosure (where, oddly, the only reptile I saw was an iguana - but there were tamarinds everywhere). most of the animals are separated by a large moat, except for one area with windows so you can get up-close and personal with the lions and tigers. The orangutans had two enclosures that they could travel between via ropes high up over the visitors' heads.

Besides that, I also went to the movies in order to catch The Dark Knight, which came out on the 2nd in Japan. It cost me only S$9.50, a far cry from the 1400yen I'd pay in Japan. I did a bit of shopping, especially books. I'm going through Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series. I managed to find the first two at the Border's in Singapore. I tore through the first one, and managed to finish the 2nd on my first night in KL. Fortunately, I found the rest of the series at a bookstore in the mall near my guesthouse. I picked up #3 and #4, will have to get the remainder before I move on. It's going to be heavy carrying all those around. Hmm.

I'd been staying at my college friend Borna's house. She and her family just moved into a really nice house out in the 'burbs in Singapore. It's a bit of a trek into the city, but I'm not complaining. Especially when a cursory look for hotels turned up quite a few going for S$200/night. Her family is fantastic, especially her mother who made sure I was well-fed every morning before I headed off to wherever. Her dad I didn't see as much, but on the first morning we chatted in the kitchen as he stuffed me full of watermelon. Her younger brother I only spoke with briefly, and her boyfriend was down with a throat infection, which curbed his natural chattiness. Hopefully, I'll get to see more of them when I pass through again on my way out.

So yesterday I got up early, and headed off for the border to Malaysia. I'd meant to get a really early start, but got caught up searching for a pair of shorts that had vanished into the black hole of family laundry management. They turned up eventually, a good thing when you only have three pairs, one of which is dirty and the other doesn't quite fit right. That pair's headed for the trash heap before I leave.

Anyways, got to the border ahead of the rush, definitely a good thing, since I don't have fond memories of my last trip through the overland border crossing. I made it to the Johor Bharu bus terminal in time to catch the 11am bus up to KL. Traffic wasn't too bad, so we got in just past 4pm, giving me ample time to plow through the 2nd Dark Tower book.

I wandered out, got a kebap for an afternoon snack, and plopped myself down in the guesthouse lobby to get an early night. Well, that's what was supposed to happen. I ended up chatting with some of the other guests, including one Malaysian girl from the northern part, who was apartment-hunting while she started a new job. She showed us around the local bar scene, which was very useful because I had no idea that there were some good expat bars down a tiny, dirty alley beside our guesthouse. I'd have probably gone my whole time here without finding them otherwise. So we hit a couple places, then I wanted to have something other than meat and beer in my stomach, so we stopped at an Indian place for ayam tanduri (tandoori chicken) and garlic naan.

Today's a bit of browsing Chinatown and searching for a lens cleaning kit, since I've got a small smudge on my filter I need to get off before it ruins my photos. Tonight? Maybe fish & chips at the pub 'round the corner and a chat with the owner, seemed like a nice guy last night.

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