Tag Archives: Penang

05. Singapore is amazing

  1. 01. Intrepid Intentions
  2. 02. Boppin’ & Baskin’ in Bangkok
  3. 03. But I Must!
  4. 04. My Malaysian Debut
  5. 05. Singapore is amazing
  6. 06. Rash Acts in Singapore

The flight from Penang pulled up to the gate at Singapore’s Changi International Airport at 6:30pm, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Pointing to my watch, I predicted “I bet we’re out of the airport by seven!”

“Really?” Frank Lee replied, brow furrowed.

Sure enough, by 6:57 pm, we had passed through immigration control, collected our checked baggage, cleared customs, withdrawn Singaporean dollars from an ATM, stood in a taxi queue for less than sixty seconds, and now watched the taxi driver load our bags into the sizeable boot of his built-to-Singaporean-specifications cab. They fit; a first on this trip. After a quick $30 cab ride, we had checked into our central Singapore hotel room by 7:30 pm.

“That was amazing!” Frank Lee exclaimed.IMG_6284

“Which part?” I asked.

“All of it!”

I shrugged. “Singapore is amazing.” Continue reading 05. Singapore is amazing

04. My Malaysian Debut

  1. 01. Intrepid Intentions
  2. 02. Boppin’ & Baskin’ in Bangkok
  3. 03. But I Must!
  4. 04. My Malaysian Debut
  5. 05. Singapore is amazing
  6. 06. Rash Acts in Singapore

     With four hours to go, we settled into the last two remaining seats in the second class carriage. Actually, they weren’t seats yet, as the attendant hadn’t closed up the Pullman style beds. So we slouched on the bottom bunk, waiting for the giggling train staff to finish entertaining each other with our aborted boarding story. I’m pleased to have brought a little joy into their otherwise humdrum lives.

It became apparent that while the former first class passengers – us – had been put through the wringer at Hat Yai, the second class passengers spent a leisurely twenty minutes converting Thai baht into Malaysian ringgit, and stocking up on food and drink. We had had no breakfast, not even a coffee, and no lunch was in sight. Not only had the dining car disappeared with the first class carriage, even if it hadn’t, we had zero ringgit. Other than a small bag of chips which had survived the night (and thank heavens for that), we would have no sustenance until we alighted in Butterworth at 2pm. With longing fascination we watched the others eat. It is a miracle we didn’t kill each other. Continue reading 04. My Malaysian Debut

03. But I Must!

  1. 01. Intrepid Intentions
  2. 02. Boppin’ & Baskin’ in Bangkok
  3. 03. But I Must!
  4. 04. My Malaysian Debut
  5. 05. Singapore is amazing
  6. 06. Rash Acts in Singapore

To start at the ending, let me say that sometimes resistance to authority is involuntary, even in times of military coup.

Our train was scheduled to depart Bangkok at 2:45pm, so we had a leisurely morning by the pool to reflect. Happily, the warnings of death and deprivation from torrential rain, floods and mudslides in our path disappeared without incident or explanation. Not so happily, at least not for Cambodians working illegally in Thailand, the junta announced a crackdown on these entrepreneurs. Nobody was sure what that meant, but neither was anybody waiting around to find out, the result being a surge in ticket sales of anything moving people towards the Cambodian border. We were headed in the other direction, towards Malaysia; Penang to be specific.

I will take this opportunity to remind you that these writings are not intended to be “guides”, but rather one man’s opinion, namely, mine. This approach frees the author – me – to say some horrible things about a destination. I’ve never seen a Frommer’s, nor  Fodor’s, nor a Lonely Planet guide open with “Before visiting here, think again.” Continue reading 03. But I Must!