sick and sore in singapore

After several weeks of feel good travel, last night saw me have my first bout of travel sickness. It wasn’t anything serious; though walking down a spotless street in Singapore chucking my guts up was hardly a smart arrival in a country famed for its cleanliness and on the spot fines for litter louts. Its part and parcel of travelling that you will get sick at some point – I have a suspicion that the cause was drinking water straight from the dispenser in my KK hostel . After a night out, I returned from the pub only to take this easy option instead of purchasing bottled water from the shop next door.

I’m also still sore. I mean really sore. I’ve been walking round like I’ve had an accident in my boxers, while going up and down stairs and steps is frankly a miserable experience. Walking down some steps at one of the Monorail stations here in Singapore would have made for great viewing. I looked like an old man who’s Stannah Stairlift had broken down and was tackling the stairs for the first time in a decade. The slight arrogance I had in completing the ascent of Kinabalu in such good time and relative ease has well and truly been evened out from the knock on effect of the descent.

My last couple of days in KK were spent in the company of an Aussie lass called Julia. She was travelling for several weeks with some fellow Ozzie’s, but was in Step In Lodge for a couple of nights by herself as her mates had gone off elsewhere. After an afternoon chatting, chilling and trying to find a decent wi-fi connection in the hostel, we gave up and headed out for some food and drink. I wrote right at the end of the last update about being quite lucky with the people I had bumped into and spent time with on this trip whilst on my lonesome. This was another smart example, as the pair of us hit it off instantly and spent the evening gassing about life in general. It was also the first one on one time I’ve spent with someone in a bar in ages. Usually there has been an odd number, making most conversations turn into a competition to who has done what and been where. With it just being the two of us, it gave a chance to just a have friendly night out talking about ourselves! It’s no different to when you are at home. Drinking and eating with several friends is cool, but you don’t get the quality of conversation that you do one on one. We hope to catch up in Perth next month. She may even see me walk properly!

It’s also time to give some thoughts on Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. I spent over two weeks in Malaysian territory and enjoyed the majority of what it offered me. Being such a vast spread of land thrown in with my distinct lack of time, I’m pretty happy with the diverse activities I achieved. Starting off with the skyscrapers of KL, to the gorgeous beaches of Langkawi, boredom in Penang, the bonus ferry ride from Brunei to Sarawak, partying in KK and of course, the magnificent views from Mount Kinabalu – I feel I made the most of my time. As you can see from the above list, I’ve seen cities, the seaside and national parks spread all over several territories. Thinking about it, I’ve also covered a stupid amount of ground. In eighteen days from leaving Cambodia and arriving in Singapore I have squeezed in four flights, three ferries rides, an overnight train, several overland bus journeys and a two day mountain climb. In a twenty four hour period alone I managed five stamps in a passport. My original plan was to try and fit in either a trip to Kuching, in Sarawak or go up to Sepilok, in Sabah to see some Orang-utans. In the end I opted for the over sea and land adventure from Brunei instead, missing out those two options. I’m pretty comfortable with this decision as the ferry into Lawas from Brunei gave some of the best views possible when arriving in a new country. Sure, a trip to see some big monkeys would have been great, but being on such a tight schedule I simply can’t do and see everything.

When you throw in the amount of different nationalities and religions that reside here seemingly happily together, the slogan ‘Malaysia truly Asia’ is a pretty accurate one. I like the mix of people here and also the general attitude of acceptance in life. Although a predominantly Muslim country, all walks of life are accepted, with Western customs being widely practiced in most areas I have visited. Alcohol, although expensive, is as widely available in bars and pubs as it is down the local markets and supermarkets. Drinking in public is fine, with bars serving alcohol outside with no issues at all. I’ve visited and heard of many Muslim countries that will serve alcohol, but only inside buildings, away from the public eye. Tolerance to other people’s beliefs and practices is so important and I feel Malaysia is doing that pretty well. Perhaps it is the wide mix of cultures and religions here that aids that feeling?

Not feeling on top of the world (no Mount Kinabalu pun intended) I’ve not seen a great deal of Singapore yet. I went for a walk this morning around the area I am staying, Little India. I found the usual hustle and bustle you would get in any big Asian city, with countless food hawker stalls and markets selling general bits and bobs. I quite like the efficiency here, being introduced to the city by the dead easy, tourist friendly Monorail service. The highlight of the journey was the beautifully naff Asian jingle on the Monorail which suggested that you give up your seat to anyone elderly or disabled. Sadly there were no songs or signs suggesting able-bodied give up their seats for aching, sore backpackers…..My hostel was located after a confusing ten minute stroll around the general area that I had marked on my LP map. The problem with cheap hostels in this part of the world is that they don’t always have signposts. Empire Hostel simply had an A4 sheet of paper on its front door – not that obvious when arriving after dark. Luckily for me the Indian lady in my dorm stopped crying by bed time, she wasn’t a happy bunny on my arrival!

The reason for this quick update is down to my pending meet with Pat. Going into Indonesia and facing some ridiculously long train, ferry and bus rides over the next twelve days means internet usage may recede. Apologies in advance to anyone who does actually bother reading this (other than my Mum who I know does)

On a final exciting non travel related bit of news, Beady Eye are releasing their first single this morning! Prepare to ‘Bring The Light’……..


2 Responses to “sick and sore in singapore”

  1. 1 Donna
    November 12, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Great title! Shame about the body…flesh and spirit are not yet one then you proved it! Since the former appears to have suffered somewhat at the hands of the latter!!! Hope you feel better by now.

  2. 2 Donna
    November 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Glad to hear you enjoyed Julia’s company. Malaysia appears to have made a good and lasting impression. Love the photo’s…have fun with Pat in Indonesia!! And I cannot help but wonder about you using ‘Bring the Light…’ to close this particular Blog entry…me thinks nice!

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