More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Holiday Update Part 3

Following on from the riveting holiday update of part 2 found here, here's what has happened since.

1st Jan

Paul had a friend's wedding to attend so I took a stroll around KL myself and had some lunch. At about 3pm, our friend Felix picked us both up from separate locations and took us around in his CAR. Our first trip in a private car so far in this holiday. He showed us many of KL's landmarks such as Independence Square, Old Train Station, the largest Mosque, Old Petronas Tower, King's Palace and Central Market. We stopped at Central Market and had some Malaysian favourites in milk tea and kaya toast. At night, Paul and I had dinner with Felix's family and saw his apartment, very nice indeed for KL standards. He had his own gym and pool in his apartment complex. After dinner, Felix drove us to Putrajaya, the Government area. Putrajaya is definitely architecturally magnificent. Words cannot describe how good it looked. I will have to upload photos when I get back to Melbourne. The designs of the buildings were so unique and different. Offset by the striking lighting, the whole town was a great sight. I thought that it sort of looked like Gotham City from the Batman movies since the buildings had this eerie feeling about them due to the spot lighting. For late night supper, we ate at a "mamak" restaurant I think. They are old style outdoor restaurants run by Indians.

2nd Jan

Today was the start of our trip to the "jungle". We went to Taman Negara, which means National Park in English. It's Malaysia's largest part spanning about 4000 kilometres square. The trip started with a bus trip from KL to Tembeling Jetty. From there, it was a 3 hour "boat" ride in a long wooden canoe style boat with an outboard motor, to Taman Negara. We were staying at the Agoh Chalet, which was more like a shack than a chalet, but it did have running water and a toilet. Our tour guide, Muhammed, took us for a swim in Lubok Simpon, a lake running through Taman Negara. Dinner was traditional food on a floating barge and then a night walk straight after into the "jungle" to see the animals. We didn't see too much, but did spot quite a few insects and some mouse deer drinking at the salt licks. You may have noticed that I keep putting quotation marks around jungle, because it's not really a jungle. It's quite civilised with a 5 star $800 resort sitting there and all the modern comforts. I even got really good mobile phone reception in the jungle, which is more than what I got in Tasmania.

3rd Jan

The days started very early with breakfast provided. We then went for a 3 hour hike up to Bukit Teresek, a 344 metre high mountain. The view up top wasn't that great, but the tree canopy suspension rope bridge walk was definitely a good experience. I never knew bridges like that wobbled so much. After lunch, we went into those wooden canoe boats again and went over the rapids in the lake. Needless to say, we got quite wet. Midway in the rapid shooting, we stopped at an Orang Asli village. Orang Asli are the aboriginal people of the land who live in huts without modern ultilities and move from place to place. I'm a bit of a cynic and have to question how "native" they actually are. They are being allowed to live on Government property so have to rely on the Government. They also rely on tourist money to be able to buy food. I don't they do that much hunting and are only sustaining themselves from money from tourists. Hence they aren't really that authentic a tribe. However, I could be wrong and maybe their contact with outsiders isn't that great, apart from their Mickey Mouse t-shirts. The poison dart demonstration and fire building demonstration were interesting. I was totally awful with the blow darts, missing the target by miles. The only thing I would kill is a McDonald's hamburger from 1 feet away. After the village visit, again it was dinner and then free time. Paul and I met some German tourists who were in the same tour, Wolfgang (pronounce Voiefgeng and not Wolf gang) and Katie, so went and had some drinks with them.

4th Jan

The two day tour into Taman Negara was over. After breakfast, we took the boat back to Tembeling Jetty. That was a 2 hour ride. Then it was a 3.5 hour bus ride back to KL. We got dropped off at the Pudujaya bus stop, just in time to catch the bus to Singapore. After buying our tickets at the counter, we had about 10 minutes to get to the platform. Not knowing where anything was and just all the people everywhere trying to get us to buy their tickets, it was a bit stressful. We found the platform and went down to load our luggage into the bus. The conductor wasn't much help with information but we finally asked someone else who told us we were at the right place. I asked the conductor whether there was a toilet in the bus, which he said there wasn't so it was another mad dash around to find a toilet. Luckily all went well and we got on the bus safely. A 5.5 hour bus ride to Singapore passing through two customs check point where you actually get off the bus with your luggage, go through, and then back on the bus on the other side followed. We arrived in Singapore quite late at night so decided to take a taxi to our sleeping place. We are currently staying at the Anglo Chinese School's boarding houses, which is where Paul's brother Joshua is a tutor.

5th Jan

The first day in Singapore was spent doing the tourist things. I wanted to go to Singapore Zoo since I had read that it was very good. It didn't disappoint. Compared to the Melbourne and Sydney zoos that I have been to, Singapore is a class above. All the enclosures have not minimal or no fences, and instead have moats around them. This makes seeing the animals very easy and also makes you feel extremely close to them. There are a huge variety of rare animals, from polar bears, to white rhinos, to white tigers and a host of primates. A lot of animals were also free roaming, so that you could touch them even, though you're not suppose to. There were so many animals that I had never seen before and it was all extremely interesting. After the zoo, it was off to Orchard Road to see the mega shopping complexes. Any famous brand you can name, it was there. My favourite part was actually the Konikaya book shop. It was a book shop unlike any in Australia. It makes Borders look cheap. There were so many interesting books there that I wanted to buy, from the architecture ones, to 100s of t-shirt design books to books about history and culture. Too bad the Singapore to Australian currency exchange rate isn't so good, since all the books were way out of my budget.

6th Jan

The day started with a buffet Yum Cha, don't have that in Australia, with Paul and his brother Joshua. The food turned out to be very good, despite the limited range. My favourite was the fried fruit rolls, mmmm, I had three dishes of that, that's 9 rolls. I feel fat just thinking back on them. We then walked around Vivocity, this huge shopping complex along the harbour. The buildings shape is so modern and beautiful. The harbour isn't that spectacular, nothing like that of Hong Kong or Sydney's. It looked rather lame actually and wasn't beautiful at all. Inside Vivocity, they had a Food Republic, my kind of place. It is built like old style buildings and the stalls had numerous interesting food. Despite being extremely full, I still sampled some peanut pancake and these pickled berries. We went back to the dorms to shower and then it was out to eat again. This time it was with Paul's old teaches Miss Qui and Mr Lim. We went to a buffet in a hotel. Two buffets in one day, thats too much gluttony. Anyway, the buffet was good too, with foods such as oysters, roast beef, jellyfish, smoked salmon, stick clams all being to my liking. The most interesting dish was the coffee pork ribs, which sounds bad but is quite tasty. Desserts were good too, with durian mousse cake (mmmmmmmm) and chocolate fruit fondue. I ate lots of dragon fruit since that's so expensive at home and I've only ever eaten about 3 in my life. With all this eating, we had to do a bit of exercise. Miss Qui drove us to the Esplanade where I saw the Singapore skyline, quite nice. I also saw the famous Merlion fountain, half lion, half fish. The performing arts building looked like a huge durian and was quite weird. We enjoyed some good live music from an acapella group. Then it was off home to recover from all the day's food.


Blogger The Oriental Express said...

Glad you like the zoo. I would spend whole day there from 10.30a.m. first show to 4.30p.m. last show. Did you see the shows by the parrots, sea lions, elephants, and the monkeys?


1/12/2007 3:18 AM  
Blogger afrobev said...

Walk with the with the animals! It's photo's we want Thanh. We need photo's!!!

I'm only joking mate. I hope you are having a good time. When are you back?

1/15/2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Choo, I spent the whole day at the zoo too, it was great. I saw the monkey and elephant feedings but didn't actually catch the shows. It's an excellent zoo and having no cages makes the animals seem so close.

James, photos on the way soon, as soon as I sort out the 1000+ photos I took and upload them.
I have just arrived back today, the 16th January. It's been great!

1/16/2007 9:31 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home