Sunday, August 27, 2006
Like it or Lumpur
We are now in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Its a very clean and tidy place as well (though maybe not as clean as Singapore, but far cleaner than India!).
But going back to our last few days in Singapore, we went to the Raffles Hotel that Karly thinks is world known (and Andy had never heard of). Karly had the traditional Singapore Sling, while Andy had the not-so-traditonal Long Island Ice Tea. The prices were massively hiked up because of the Raffles name, but we did get unlimited free peanuts, and we were able to throw the shells onto the floor (as that is sort of the Raffles bar trade mark). This is probably the only place in Singapore where you can throw anything onto the floor without instantly being shot.
The following day we went to the Island resort just off the South coast of Singapore, called Sentosa. This was (as you would expect from Singapore) very clean, tidy and efficient. Though it did have the feel of a very manufactured paradise, a bit like the Park Hyatt Hotel in Goa.
Its claim to fame is that is has the Southern most point of continental Asia. We thought that this was a bit of a fraudulant claim, as you had to go over a long bridge (or take a very very high cable car ride) to get to Sentosa. You even had to cross a final rope bridge to get to the Southern most point, so claiming to be the Southern most point of "continental" Asia (when you are in fact only attached because of a bridge) was a bit of a large claim. But no-one else seemed to be that bothered, so we just got on with taking photos.
Our hotel in Singapore was more of a hostel then a hotel. It had threatening warning signs about "devious" types, and we even found a cockroach under the bed. But, that aside, we still loved Singapore, and would recommend it to anyone who gets a chance to come.
Here are our last photos from wonderful Singapore:
So onto Malaysia. We caught a very efficient train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. We checked into a nice hotel for a couple of nights to spoil ourselves before checking into our current abode which feels like a student Union Bar with extremely basic rooms upstairs. But it's quite central, the beers cheap and we can watch football.
The shopping here is great. You can get great fakes (handbags, t-shirst, key rings) and dodgy DVD's, CD's and games. Andy obviously likes the games. He bought one for his Gameboy Advance after some expert haggling so now he doesn't even have to talk to Karly during half time of the football. Karly is going to hold off on her handbag purchase until China as she thinks they might be cheaper there. A 'good' fake Chloe bag here costs about 100pound and 'ordinary' fake was about 15 pounds.
Karly finally got the henna tatto she'd been contemplating since India. She still can't decide if it's as daggy as getting Bali Braids when you go to Bali but she thought this is the last place we're visiting with an Indian population so she might aswell.
Today we went to the National Museum. It was pretty uninspiring and out of the way but we got an idea of some of the history of Malaysia and we had a good laugh at the very interesting manaquins.
Here are our photos so far from Kuala Lumpur:
Monday, August 21, 2006
Goodbye India. Hello Singapore.
Our last few days in India were eventful. Karly did some Karaoke, Andy was bitten by an extremely large mosquito, local men lined up to have their photo taken with Karly and we had a not so pleasant journey on a night train (there were lots of security men with machine guns that they pointed any which way, including at us while we were trying to sleep! They even left them unattended while they went off to use the loo).
We had two days in Mumbai (the home of Bollywood), where we went and watched 2 films. The first was a new Bollywood hit, called "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna". It was a epic love story of betrayal, lust, adultery and dancing. The second was "Superman Returns".
We also went to Mumbai's 'premiere tourist attraction' Elephanta Island. There were some old stone carvings in some caves. There were lots of monkeys roaming around the island and one stole Karly's coke from her hands bringing several traumatic childhood memories back to her.
To celebrate leaving India we splashed out on an expensive dinner of lobster. Andy thought it tasted a bit like crab sticks and Karly thought it was a bit dry (but for 10 pounds you can't really complain).
Here are the photos of our last few days in India:
We flew to Singapore via Sri Lanka. Andy was ripped off at Colombo Airport in Sri Lanka when he paid about 20 pounds for a computer game that said it had 32 games on it but it really only had 7. When he complained he was laughed at. He then wrote an angry jet lagged letter of complaint and we probably will never go back to Sri Lanka again.
Anyway we love Singapore. It's so clean. A germaphobes paradise. The people talk to you just to help you, not because they're trying to sell you something or begging (unlike India). Everyone is just so friendly.
We spent our first day in Chinatown. We went and saw some Chinese 'Opera'. It was a long talk about the opera followed by some women miming to a backing tape. But it was still very entertaining.
Yesterday we went to the Singapore Zoo. It seemed to us that nearly every animal we saw was either doing something rude, or was deliberately turning their backs just as we were about to take a photo.
We are planning on going to a famous hotel called Raffles later on today. Apparently, its where they invented the Singapore Sling (Andy has never heard of the place, but Karly thinks it is very famous). Its very posh, so we can't wear shorts or sandals.
Most of our t-shirts are now blue. We put all of our washing in to be cleaned, but forgot about a dark blue sarong that we bought in Goa. As a result the dye leaked all over our clothes, making most of them a tie-dyed blue / grey colour. Andy thinks that Karly did this deliberately, so she would have an excuse to buy a new wardrobe.
Here are the photos of Singapore so far:
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Andys 30th Birthday
For Andys birthday Karly organised to stay in a 5 star hotel (The Goa Park Hyatt). It was very posh, with a massive sunken bath and a thing called a Rain Shower (a really big shower that comes down from the middle of the ceiling e.g. as if you are having a shower in the rain). Andy and Karly are not used to these luxuries, especailly a clean toilet and fresh towels every day (sometimes they changed them twice a day!). We even got bath robes to wear, which we would have stolen but the hotel has our credit card details.
It was quite nice to have a tv for a few days. As it rained most days we got to catch up on all our television favourites like Knight Rider and Full House. And the movie channel was showing The Castle so Karly was happy. They have alot of ads for the Sauna Belt (a heated belt which helps you sweat off an inch of fat in just 15minutes!). Apparently if you get fat, your fiancee may not want to marry you or if you're already married your husband might have and affair.
The resort was generally very nice, but it also had the sense of being a little false. It was set over 45 acres of land right next to the beach (in fact it has its own private beach that is patrolled by security guards). It seemed to be a very manufactured place, with nice lawns, lakes and palm trees set out in perfect symmetry. It couldn't have been any different from the other places in India that we've seen.
Because we were effectively held to ransom on the resort (e.g. there were no other restaurants or shops nearby) we had to eat in the resort restaurants most of the time. These had very good quality food, but were very expensive compared to the rest of India, in fact everything was massively overpriced. The biggest rip off was the internet and the taxis. The resort charged 430 rupees an hour to use the internet, when in Delhi we were charged 10 rupees an hour!
But, aside from the over inflated prices, the resort was lovely and relaxing..............if a little pricey.
Over the course of staying at the resort Andy received 3 birthday cakes. The hotel sent one to us on the day we arrived (3 days too early), then they sent another one on the actual day of Andys birthday, and then when we went out to dinner in the evening, the restaurant staff brought out another cake.
Not wanting to sound ungrateful, but these chocolate cakes were bloody awful. By the time we had received the 3rd cake, we were sick of the things! But we still had to eat some because the restaurant staff were standing over us (and it would have looked a bit rude if we'd have refused a free cake!).
We have now left the Park Hyatt resort, and are staying just down the road from it, closer to the beach. It may be cheaper, dirtier, more congested, and there are people hassling us to buy jewellery and get henna, but in a strange way, Karly and Andy prefer where we are now.
Heres the link to the photos of Andys Birthday:
Sunday, August 06, 2006
A right Goa.
We are now in Goa. This is a much more touristy place to stay but yet it's still very relaxed and friendly e.g. with loads of cafes and restaurants serving anything but Indian food. In fact Andy and Karly haven't eaten any actual Indian food for the last week or so. Mainly because Karly has been ill (again) and Andy is just getting a little bored with chicken curry every night.
On a brighter note the people of Goa obviously don't consider the cow to be as sacred as everywhere else in Indian, cause Andy has had his first beef burger in nearly 3 weeks!
Unfortunately the weather hasn't been very sunny, though its still quite hot. Thats why in all of our photos it looks so overcast and rainy.
As a special treat for Andys approaching 30th Karly has booked us both into a 5 star hotel. After staying in places that dont have hot water, towels, air conditioning, or even toilets that can handle toilet paper (we have to put it in a bin!), we are looking forward to some luxury.
Heres some of the photos so far from Goa (Damion, i'm wearing the present you and Tracey bought me!):
Before we went to Goa we were in Udaipur. This is where they filmed the James Bond Film Octopussy. The locals like to remind you of this everywhere you go, and nearly all of the restaurants show Octopussy every night at 7pm (Dawson, you would love it here). In fact, the waiters were quoting lines from the film while they served the food.
We didnt't actually go out to the Hotel in the lake (which Octopussy used as her fortress), because they charged a ridiculous amount of money to go and see it. But we did go into the City Palace (which James Bond stays in).
The city Palace was quite impressive, with some great views of the Udaipur skyline.
Heres some of the photos from Udaipur:
Before Udaipur we were in Jaipur. This had probably the worlds crapiest "palace", but it also had quite a good Sun-Dial park. This is where an old Moghul King built loads of massive monuments which he used to tell the time, read the stars, follow the calendar etc.
Heres some of the photos from Jaipur: