Back on Two Wheels

I had deluded myself that it might be possible to go through our whole trip without having to set butt on the dreaded and ubiquitous motorbike. We went through all of Indonesia and China walking past hundreds of calls of, “Wan motobai?” with me declining or ignoring each and every one. In Vietnam, I had hoped we’d manage to avoid the touts and their bikes with increasing ease. Not so.

If you know me well, then you know the details surrounding my fear of anything on two wheels. For those of you that don’t, all you need to know is that I was in a bicycle accident in college. I took the brunt of the fall with my face. The result was an eye patch, a false tooth, a couple of scars, and consequently bike-a-phobia. Sure, I can laugh about it now. Once, several years later, I was even able to hop back on a bicycle (albeit the back seat of a tandem on an empty bike path in Tahoe).

However being faced with the prospect of hopping on the back of a motorbike was no laughing matter. I had a feeling it was going to happen at some point, and the time had come. If we wanted to get to the Marble Mountains and China Beach, motorbike it would have to be. I have been observing people on motorbikes for months now. The way the passengers nonchalantly hold on to packages of all sizes, kids and babies stowed between, up to four on a bike, as the vehicles and streets and hazards fly by, where the rules of the road are that there are none. Jeff and I each had our own motorbike, complete with driver and helmet. If I didn’t already have reservations to begin with, what definitely did the trick was the fact that printed in familiar font on my driver’s helmet and bike were letters spelling out “HONGDA”. Despite the fact that my driver was really a complete stranger, I had to resist the urge to wrap my arms around his waist and hold on tight. After all, in my analysis of motorbike passengers, the only ones I’d ever seen clutching their driver were likely also dating or married to them. So, the 15-minute ride was spent with white knuckles gripping the skinny bar behind me, legs squeezing both sides of the seat and bike, and body so tense, I thought for sure I’d be sore afterwards.

Fueling doubt

Fueling doubt

Anyway, since then I have been on a motorbike three more times. It doesn’t matter that for two of those times, I had no idea a motorbike trip was involved until it was too late (once to get to the bus station and once to get to the docks-both sans helmet, and the latter trip with all my luggage!). Good thing I had one ride under my belt because who knows how many more motorbike rides lay ahead. In fact, just today we rented our own motorbike for a day trip to a national park. And despite the inexperience of my driver, at least I was able to hold on to him for dear life without shame. Jeff said that it was fun to drive and towards the end of the ride I realized that playing passenger wasn’t as terrifying anymore. It was even fun…almost.

Posted: November 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Sand, Sea, and more Sand

Mui Ne was fabulous.  It’s somewhat of a resort town consisting of one long main street of restaurants and resorts, with great deals to be had at the little guest houses in between.  Most people come here for the beach, which even compared to those we’ve seen during our travels, ranks at the top.  But aside from lying around on the soft sandy shore, we took a half day trip to see some of the surrounding sights, including the White Sand Dunes, which the area is also famous for.  Who knew there was a mini Sahara in Vietnam?  For less than a buck, you can rent sleds from the local kids and give it a go.  For your entertainment, here’s a play by play of how I fared.

Me and my sled are ready to go

Me and my sled are ready to go

Posing at the top

Posing at the top

Getting a little push

Getting a little push

"Wheeeeee!!"

Zooming down the dune. These plastic sheets go fast!

Succesful first run.  The hardest part is walking back up.

Succesful first run. The hardest part is walking back up.

Off to tackle the big dune

Off to tackle the big dune

Holding on tight and trying to keep the sled straight

Holding on tight and trying to keep the sled straight

Uh oh...starting to loose control

Uh oh...starting to lose control

Taking a tumble.  That's me flat on my face....and my sled way over there.  *Picture slightly out of focus because Jeff was laughing so hard

Taking a tumble. That's me flat on my face and my sled...way over there.

Posted: October 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Massage, Museum, and Mekong

Day One – A few days ago we touched down in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, but still referred to as Saigon by most people here) in Vietnam. We easily found our hostel, centrally located with the friendliest staff imaginable. After putting down our packs and consulting a map, we headed out in search of a particular massage clinic. After navigating around several blocks worth of muddy puddles, broken sidewalk, fruit rinds, and staying clear of the motorbikes careening on and off the walkway, we found the building. The Vietnamese Traditional Medicine Institute offers hour-long massages for a mere $2.50, but what is even more significant, is that all the masseurs are blind. If I’m being honest, initially I was a little uncomfortable upon entering and being hand-led to the massage table. My female attendant instructed me to undress and exited through a curtain. Despite the obvious fact that this was unnecessary on her part, I suppose that to do so is just proper masseuse etiquette. My discomfort quickly subsided once the massage began. She was proficient with a definite no-nonsense quality, as she quickly dabbed menthol oil from a jar in her pocket and swiftly rubbed it in, before going to work on my muscles with some (very) strong kneading. As she worked, I listened to the lively chatter and the sound of palms rapidly pounding away through the curtains. While different from the tranquility and zen-like atmosphere that spas attempt to create (in the few times I have been in a spa), I enjoyed it. Plus there was something eerily comfortable knowing that my body wasn’t being visually scrutinized. We left feeling relaxed and with a feeling that it was money well spent.

Day 2 in Ho Chi Minh was spent walking around the city and visiting the War Remnants Museum. After our free breakfast at the hostel, we walked toward the museum. As we navigated the city streets, I tried to prepare myself for exactly what it was that were going to see. No amount of mental prep would make taking in the exhibits any easier. It was heartbreaking. What I came away with was that regardless of politics and beliefs, to see the war through the eyes of the country where it all took place was horrifying. The pictures were hard to look at, but I forced myself to look at each and every one, to read each and every name. Some may argue that the museum does not provide a balanced view of the war-that it is weighted with propaganda, and maybe that’s true. But to be fair, maybe that’s justified, given that the museum is housed within their homeland. Although Vietnam as a country is recovering, many of its people are still reeling and the effects of the war continue to be felt and seen everyday. I walked through several exhibits with a lump in my throat, and at times the tears spilled over. As I learned more about the personal stories of the war, I couldn’t help but feel what we all know as fact-that in war there are no winners. It’s one of those simple truths that we all take as a given, but at this moment I actually felt it to my core. In this museum, the way it was portrayed, my heart broke for the people of Vietnam, but also for the Americans, the French, the Laotians, Japanese, Australians, and everyone else, military and civilian alike, who had no choice but to see and experience what no one should have to-the consequences of war. One of the most touching pieces was a recent addition to the photo exhibition, an enlarged copy of a letter written by a young Vietnamese man to President Barack Obama. In his well-penned letter, he commends our current president for his beliefs, and his hopes for his children to live in a world of peace. He also asks for assistance for victims of Agent Orange, including the author himself. Despite the best of intentions, I had a heavy feeling of hopelessness, knowing that in all reality his pleas may not be answered, at least not in his lifetime. The museum closed for an hour, just as the afternoon deluge began. But we bought ourselves ponchos, had a pensive lunch, and went back to the museum to see the rest.

Exhibit in War Remnants Museum

Exhibit in War Remnants Museum

Day 3-4 were spent not in Ho Chi Minh, but instead on a tour of the Mekong Delta. I feel a bit hypocritical after the stance we’ve taken on tours, but sometimes they are truly unavoidable. Plus this two-day tour was $20 including transportation, hotel, and most meals. The first day was worth-while and included a boat ride to several smaller islands, a canoe ride through the delta, a trip to a bee farm and candy and wine making factory where we sampled the wares and Jeff drank snake wine.

Snake wine

Snake wine

We enjoyed some live local music and dancing, and took a bike ride through one of the villages. The best part of the bike ride other than hopping off, was that I didn’t crash into anything, since it has been well over a decade since I’ve ridden on one of those things. That night we stayed at a hotel in Can Tho where we tried snake for dinner (chewy), and woke up at 6 in the morning to go to the famous floating market, Cai Be. It was slightly underwhelming, compared to what I had conjured up in my head, but nice seeing the fruit and vegetable-laden boats floating around selling their wares. What was less fun was the two-hour boat ride after to the ferry, and the five-hour bus ride back to HCMC to end the day. The one-day trip would have been the better option. We had a great cheap dinner at the night market in Ben Tranh (my favorite meal so far) to wrap up our stay in HCMC. Now it’s off to Mui Ne to get away and back to beach life.

Yummm....snake

Yummm....snake

Posted: October 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Day of Fun

Guitar (Un)Hero

Guitar (Un)Hero

Most days we do a lot, and see even more. We’ve been racking up the passport stamps and entrance tickets to world heritage sites and historical landmarks, while trying to eat and do as the locals do, engulfing ourselves in the culture of whatever country we happen to be in. But today was not one of those days.

Our day began with a warm chocolate banana muffin-half for me, half for Jeff. Next up, a free foot massage (the first of four each in the span of 24 hours). Then we weighed our options and decided to take in a movie. We walked over to the movie theater and caught a showing of The Transporter. On the way back, we passed a fun zone, so I tried my hand at guitar hero and a video game. I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of either one, so both attempts were relatively short-lived (although I’d love to give Guitar Hero another shot one of these days as I sense the potential for much fun to be had). We realized our lunch options were limited, and ended up having Western food (Burger King, to be exact), which turned out to be embarrassingly good, given the rarity of eating good old American fast food. After our meal, we strolled through some shops. The selection was overwhelming and too high-end for our needs, so we just browsed around and moved on. I’m sure if you’ve managed to read this far this has all the makings of a cheesy high-school date, rather than a day in the life of a world traveler, but do read on (if you are so inclined). We saw a large banner advertising a Tribute to Michael Jackson event scheduled for the evening, and we were just in time-lucky us. We hopped on the tram and made our way to the event, just ahead of the crowds. I was even able to find a space near the stage. The performer/impersonator was Edward Moss. Never heard of the guy, but apparently he is famous on the circuit and has stood in for Michael Jackson at several events, as well as played his likeness in movies. The guy put on an entertaining show and even from the second row, the resemblance was probably as close as you’re gonna get. After the show, we grabbed a quick dinner and yet another foot massage, checked our email, and found a clean, comfortable, and quiet place to lay our heads down for the night.

Tribute to the King of Pop

Tribute to the King of Pop

The next morning we awoke to the sounds of the early morning hustle and bustle, but continued to lounge around for a while and took in a couple of episodes of “The Simpsons” and “Seinfeld”. Then we got up and visited some gardens within walking distance. The Sunflower Garden was cute, the Orchid Garden was beautiful, but my favorite by far was the Butterfly Garden, full of live colorful butterflies of all sizes, fluttering about, drinking, resting, and one even emerging from a cocoon.

From the Butterfly Garden

From the Butterfly Garden

As we exited the garden, I glanced around for a clock and discovered that our time stuck in the transit terminal was almost up. Who knew one could have such a busy day of fun trapped in an airport? After having spent two full consecutive days and nights in airports–Manila and Singapore, we were glad to make our escape. Still, if we are ever stuck in transit again, we could do worse than Changi International in Singapore. Next stop-Vietnam.

Posted: October 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Singapore | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Into Hong Kong

The 11-hour overnight bus ride into Shenzhen was our last memory of China. Different from the trains in several ways, and a nice transition between China and Hong Kong.

Sleeper bus to Shenzhen

Sleeper bus to Shenzhen

Not surprisingly, the carriage was full and the underbus luggage compartments so jam-packed that our backpacks only made it on due to the conductor’s brute force. But that’s where the familiar stopped. We have grown accustomed to the eating, drinking, shouting, and smoking on the trains, but stepped onto this bus to the sound of quiet, with the conductor asking us to please remove our shoes and place them in the designated bag. Jeff took his space on the top berth window bunk, while I was stuck with the top bunk in the middle aisle of the carriage. I think they assign small people to the middle. After fluffing my pillow and arranging my bag and shoes and self into position for the night, I was amused to find a seatbelt attached to the bed. I laughed, but there was a short portion of the ride where I put it to use in order to remain in bed while the bus took some sharp turns. During bathroom stops, passengers quietly tiptoed through the aisles off and on the bus. I kept waiting for a loud phone conversation or music, but the ride was peaceful and uneventful.

Anyway, our friend Terrence, has been generous enough to host us for our entire stay in Hong Kong. We’ve been spoiled again with the comforts of home, a refrigerator, a washing (and drying!) machine, cable TV, wifi, and an amazingly awesome view of the Hong Kong harbor and skyline (ok, the last one is not actually a comfort of home, just a pretty cool comfort). It’s been months since we’ve been able to stay with a friend, and while some of the hostels might be nicer than we expected, they can’t compare with the feeling of staying at a friend’s place and the benefit of their company and hospitality.

View from rooftop bar

View from rooftop bar

We have been in Hong Kong for a few days now. I like this place. Maybe not so much as a backpacker, but I imagine for vacation or business or residence, it could be great. I wonder if they need speech therapists here. I’m told they do. The tough thing about traveling through trendy cities is the effect it has on the small amount of vanity I have left. The skyline is gorgeous. The people are beautiful. The malls are ridiculous. Last night after a delicious Shanghainese dinner, we went out for a drink. We took an elevator up to the top of a high building, and when the doors opened to the rooftop bar and view of the city lights sparkling below, I actually gasped. Then I remembered to try to act like this is where I hang out every Thursday night. I’m feeling a bit like a country bumpkin, which I assume might be uncomfortable already if that was true, but despite being a “world traveler” (I guess I’m allowed to self proclaim that now?), I am also a city girl at heart. I don’t yet know how to reconcile these two people and respective ideologies, but I hope to find a way.

Posted: October 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Hong kong | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

When Macaques Attack…

So we decided to climb Mt. Emei. This is when my aversion to stairs really solidified, but already I digress. After walking up and down thousands of steps for about 15 kilometers, we reached the Qingyin Pavilion, a few kilometers after which is the Ecological Monkey Zone. There were hordes of tourist groups that day, so I was hoping to see a monkey or two. As we approached the entrance to the zone, vendors were selling bags of monkey food to those who wished to feed the monkeys. We decided not to engage in the feeding of wild animals and walked on. A sign posted near the entrance stated all the dos and don’ts involved in dealing with the monkeys, and there was a nicely written statement about how the locals and macaques have lived harmoniously together for years. Several meters past the sign, I spotted my first lone Macaque monkey walking across a hanging bridge. A few seconds later, a groundskeeper hit the monkey with a large stick of bamboo. “That man just HIT a monkey!” I exploded in astonishment and anger, as the monkey cowered and ran up into a tree. We were crossing the bridge as I continued on about this act of animal cruelty, when a mother macaque with baby attached jumped down and grabbed Jeff’s water bottle out of his backpack holder in one swift move. She then promptly bit open the bottle and enjoyed the beverage, sharing some with her baby, and dripping some down on us from her spot on the branch above. I looked around and saw macaques of all sizes all over the place-on the bridge, the railings, sitting on rocks, in the foliage. I also noticed that the groundskeepers who seemed to be everywhere, all had long sticks and slingshots. It was at this point I began to think that these macaques were too crafty for their own good. At the same moment, I spotted a very large male macaque walking calmly through the crowd of people. For some reason, he ignored all the people and their tangle of legs, bags, cameras, and monkey food and weaved his way straight towards me. As he came closer with no signs of slowing, I thought it best to show no fear. This was a wild animal after all-maybe a show of dominance would prove to him that I was not afraid and he would go away. Really dumb. I should have learned my lesson from the incident with the baboon on the car in Kenya, but apparently I have a thick skull. So, I yelled something, swung out my leg and kicked at him. Note that I did not actually kick him, just at him. Either way, he did not like this one bit, which I realized as soon as he bared his teeth and growled. The rest happened so fast, it’s all a blur. The next thing I knew he had leapt from the ground and was flying through the air. He jumped on me, the force of which knocked me over. Luckily, there was a large boulder to the side which I was able to grab on to as I screamed my lungs out. Jeff tells me that he was yelling by this point too and that he was preparing himself to fight the monkey, but at the same moment as all the tourists turned to see the commotion, the nearest groundskeeper appeared with her stick and chased the male off. Whew. I had escaped with barely a few scratches.

Looking all innocent

Looking all innocent

After that, it is safe to say that I did not enjoy the rest of the hike through the Ecological Monkey Zone. I tried to remain near any groundskeeper at all times, with their sticks and slingshots. And despite my indignation several minutes earlier, any time a macaque came too close (which was often), I found myself whispering to myself, “Get it! Hit it…hit it!!!!” which sadly they often did. Some of the ladies appeared to take a perverse pleasure in chasing the monkeys with their sticks, and playing games of monkey slingshot. Even though I was still a bit shaky from the incident, it made me really sad to see that several of the monkeys were a bit bloodied. I would like to think it was all nature, part of living in the wild, maybe a rivalry between packs, but I also think I know better.

A macaque monkey (not the culprit) and one freaked out girl

A macaque monkey (not the culprit) and one freaked out girl

Posted: September 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: China | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Facebook Status Update

In honor of Facebook, which has been blocked during our time in China, here are a few things that I have come to like, dislike, and am undecided about while in the great country of China….Facebook-style.

Mari has become a fan of….
1) Hostels in China – Contrary to popular and belief and all expectations, every hostel (and even cheap hotel) has been awesome. Surprisingly clean, as well as backpacker-friendly (with free wifi, book exchange, café/bar, free train/bus station pick-up, the works!)
2) Blue sky – never realized how much I love seeing blue, until going three weeks without (mostly due to smog and pollution as opposed to weather)
3) Street food – ‘nuff said
4) Signage in what has become known as “Chinglish”. Quite amusing. Here are a few examples: “Deformed Man Toilet” = Restroom for the disabled; “Slip carefully” = Watch your step; “Don’t stroke the works” = Do not touch.
5) Personal space – Not that I have ever NOT been a fan, but after spending any amount of time in lines/buses/malls/streets/etc. or having the lady next to me on the train put her nylon-clad feet all up on my legs and alternate that with using me as a backrest, I am all for personal space.

Mari has become NOT a fan of…
1) Spitting – especially in confined indoor spaces OR when point of contact is on or near my shoe
2) Long nails – Particularly long fingernails on men, and long toenails on women (this is not exclusive to China…just a general pet peeve of mine)
3) Macaque monkeys – see future blog on this subject
4) Censorship – I had almost forgotten some of the rights we have at home that get taken for granted. In addition to blocked websites, such as Facebook and YouTube, there are quite a few other websites that are not allowed/censored, but you only find out after waiting and waiting while it fails to load. Also, one of our fellow travelers gave us a copy of a banned book about China, but we have to hide the cover when reading in public places.

Mari has yet to make up her mind about….
1) Sleeper trains – entirely dependent upon one’s cabin mates and length of journey
2) Crotchless pants for tots – Not the cutest look, but functional.
3) The “half shirt” look – Men have no qualms about rolling up their shirts to expose the belly (and I have yet to see a six-pack). More power to them, I guess. It is hot, after all. But if they can, why can’t I??
4) Hot pot – so good, but soooo hot. Worth it?
5) Stairs (never had anything against them before, but they are everywhere….after climbing thousands of stairs, seeing them makes me cringe).

Posted: September 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: China | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Foodie

So far China has been a lot of things, and one that stands out has been the food. I think it is fair to say that we have run the gamut in terms of fine dining and cheap eats. And my taste buds (for the most part) are happy. Maybe one of the biggest challenges of travel for me has been the issue of food. It is not realistic to have aesthetically-pleasing, well-balanced, finger-licking good meals every day while traveling on a budget. But in some countries it’s easier than in others. China is one of these. So we’ve splurged and done the Peking Duck thing, which was and will be the most we’ve spent on any meal during this entire trip. Typically though, we’ve been more than happy with the awesome street food (my favorite so far, the spicy pork on giant skewers) and all the bakeries with their baos and sesame balls and dan tats and deep fried goodness. All for just a few cents! YUM. Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re ordering. We just point, pay, and wind up pleasantly surprised.

Quail eggs on skewer

Quail eggs on skewer

Last week we found ourselves on a side street in the polluted transit city of Shijiazhuang. The Lonely Planet states that there is no reason to go there, except to pass through, and unfortunately we could see why. Here were our food options for lunch: A California Beef Noodle King USA. A Yoshinoya/Dairy Queen (a common pairing in China). And several over-priced looking restaurants, one called Sushi Beef. Hmmmm. Or….a trip down a tiny, dirty, alleyway lined with food carts.

Food cart alley it was. No menus here. No English either. We walked slowly by each cart, some set up with as many as twelve different dishes in trays, looking for something appealing. We passed over the pig noses and vat of chicken feet. We slowed down in front of the next cart and started pointing. We got a heaping plate of three different dishes (an onion dish, a bean sprout dish, and a tofu dish). As there was no seating outside and no apparent eating area inside, I had figured we’d get a take-away container of sorts. So when I was handed the heavy plastic plate, I just stood there and did my best pantomime of “Where to eat?” It became evident that we were to go inside. Behind the food cart, past a heap of dirty buckets and trash were a couple of steps leading down around a corner. As I rounded the corner, I spilled an enormous amount of sauce on the concrete floor. I looked back apologetically, but even though they witnessed it, no one seemed to mind. I looked up and it became clear why. There was a pile of black dirt, about waist high on my left, heaps of debris, garbage, and old food on either side, and through the dump there were four tables in a dimly lit concrete compound. There was food all over the floor. No décor whatsoever. The tables and floor were covered in sauce stains (evidently both freshly made as well as days/weeks old). It was the kind of place where you just know you will see a roach or rat if you look hard enough. There were a few middle-aged men, sitting around and drinking, who stared as we entered. Toward the end of our meal, a fly dropped dead and landed upside down on our table. But the food was delicious. Really really good. The three dishes, plus two bowls of rice the man brought over, were 60 cents total. It was so good that I told Jeff I would consider coming back for dinner, but that I might have to eat with my eyes closed.

This week we tried hot pot in Sichuan the night we left Chengdu with our friend, Cat and her friend, Chris.  Luckily, their Mandarin is better than ours and although “not spicy” was not an option, we were able to order a safe selection of items for our pot.  It was HOT, but good.  The real deal.  Like shabu shabu, but with a giant pot of deep red spicy broth with a layer of Sichuan and chili peppers covering the surface, instead of plain boiling water.  A little intimidating, but I’m glad we got to try it.  Plus, it gave us an excuse to go for ice cream immediately after dinner to soothe the burning in our mouths.  Awesome.

Hot Pot and some fixin's

Hot Pot and some fixin's

Posted: September 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: China | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

I Choose Ignorance

So far there seems to be a continuing theme and breach of Western etiquette when it comes to nose-picking. As in Kenya, here in our first few Asian countries, the act of picking ones nose in public does not elicit the same response as it would at home. Believe it or not, a person can actually be having a conversation with you while simultaneously fishing for something in his/her nostril. Without a tissue. I am having a hard time with this. It would be all fine and dandy, except that it is so commonplace, and with both men and women, that I have had to convince myself that none of those ladies whom I have witnessed with finger(s) in nose, have ever prepared or handled any of the food I’ve eaten. Yet another case where ignorance is bliss.

Posted: September 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: China | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Singapore In Brief

Since we were only in Singapore for a day and a half, there isn’t much blog-worthy material. The city lived

Message on cartoon cat in park

Message on cartoon cat in park

up to my expectations and that was that. Clean. I could literally count the amount of litter I saw on one hand (maybe two). Not bad for a modern city in Asia. Nothing hugely surprising in the way of architecture or culture. Just a lot of polished urbanity. Sparkling shopping mall after shopping mall. Amusing signage on buses, trash cans, and other public places, kindly reminding its citizens to be kind and helpful to one another. The airport was probably the highlight, since we stayed overnight in the movie lounge on the second floor. Cushy, comfortable, relatively quiet (despite the movies), dark, and best of all….free. Also, no bugs.

What we probably enjoyed most about Singapore was that despite its lack of character, it was a refreshing reminder of things we hadn’t experienced in the last month. Western comforts and sights that under normal circumstances, we take for granted, or sometimes even try to escape. Flush toilets and toilet paper. Air conditioned buildings. Signs in English. Recycle bins. Food courts and Coffee Beans. Multi-plexes. People who actually wait in lines in an orderly fashion or for the light to cross a street.

While we made it to a temple or two and a museum, I’m still not sure what would draw people to travel here other than for business or a serious addiction to shopping. But it is definitely pretty, especially by the river and when lit up at night. The weather was similar to a nice day at home. There was a nice mix of cultures and religions from different parts of Asia. And it was pleasant and easy travel, which was what we appreciated the most, given that China is next on the list. It’s not the easiest place to travel in, and will be even more difficult considering we don’t speak the languages. We are gearing up for lots of drawing and charades ahead.

Posted: September 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Singapore | Tags: , , , | No Comments »