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  • I made it to the airport with two hours of sleep and heavy rain!! Next milestone is making it to the gate before it closes 😂

    The guys at Petrie/Datai did well! Hooking us up with business class seats on Malaysian Airlines even though its only for an hour plus.

    Sitting in the pretty full SATs lounge, I'm wondering who all the people there are. There are some guys who look like they've been there chilling for half a day. Think airport lounges could be an interesting premise for a sitcom?

    Update: MHA biz class is falling apart..wonder what the economy looks like
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  • Dats wir time in Singapore nearly up, we fly on to Sydney danite. We have hed a great time we Alice and very kind hospitality fae Jim, BC and Murray. We have (nearly) become pro's at using chopsticks, had some brilliant food, attended da Grand Prix and met up we a fellow isles man- Erik Thomson, asweel as much more.

  • Hi everyone! After another lengthy day of traveling (seven-hour overnight bus, followed by lugging our backpacks on the Tokyo subway during Monday morning rush hour, and 11 hours of flying), we've made it to Singapore. We've been outside America for nearly two months now, and while we've enjoyed damn near every minute of it, we're both a little pooped.

    With that in mind, and with a mounting pile of other responsibilities to deal with (including filing our taxes, booking the next two months of accommodations, and filing the insurance claim from our mugging in Argentina), we've decided to "take a week off" from traveling. We rented an airbnb here in Singapore, complete with good wifi, a gym, pool, and laundry, and are going to use the next seven days to get our affairs in order for the next couple weeks. Don't look for many (or any) updates from us for the next few days, and we'll talk to you guys from Malaysia!

    A couple photos below (sorry for the mess!)
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  • I'm happy again! It's great here. The hotel is very fancy, and Ruby and I have our own room with big beds. We can see the pools and the beach and lots of huge ships out our window. At breakfast I saw peacocks and big monitor lizards trying to steal the food! We are not supposed to feed them. We had a fun day swimming and going on water slides and making Lego!

  • We wake to the news of the Cherry Blossoms beating the mighty Boks. Now the should keep that name now.
    Good flight over to Singapore. How to pass 10 hours, watched Hip Hoperation, lunch, read about refugees heading north through Serbia to Hungary (we are going unopposed in the other direction) eat some more, dosed, another meal, and before you know it back on the ground. Staying in an airport hotel, (Richie on the Tele!) Hope to see the All Blacks game - kicks off here at 11.45pm plane takes off at 2.00 am. Wonder if they will delay takeoff for us?Read more

  • We went to the Zoo yesterday! Keeping up Claires travel tradition made her fall into french mode right upon entering the Zoo. The Zoo was pretty cool - except for the daily Singapore rain which trapped us inside a food court (OH NO) for like 2 hours. With the climate they have you can imagine the alleys full of green vegetation always giving you the feeling to be in a (very clean and tidy) jungle. The zoo is actually located within one of the few areas in Singapore where there still is primary rain forest. But of course this part is not natural anymore. We saw some decent shows but what was more fun was the Night Safari. An extra zoo which you can only visit after sunset at 7.30pm as all their nocturnal animals are most active at this time. A zoo in the dark is a nice thing. So you can go see a tiger being fed really close. It was like just 1 meter away, only separated through a thick layer of glass. The African Lion is definitely more impressive than the Asian one. With the low light and when not moving, the animals sometimes looked as they were stuffed. And most importantly, we saw a Slow Loris (!!) climbing a branch just in front of us very slowly of course.

    Soon, we'll head into the city, after it stops raining and our laundry is done! 
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  • What a long day! First stop on the agenda was the Future World and Big Bang Data exhibits at the Art Science Museum (the orchid-shaped building in front of Marina Bay Sands). We had tickets for entry at 11:30, but we left our hotel anyway at around 10 and decided to walk over. It was a nice walk though very hot and sweaty even at this early hour, since it was entirely on the waterfront promenades which are of course paved and completely exposed.

    Arrived at the museum around 10:45 and tackled the Big Data exhibit first, which was quite interesting. There were installations mostly about how big data is captured and generated, and just the staggering amounts of the modern era and how it can be used or mis-used. There was an interesting display about the undersea cables as well which form the back-bones of the internet - mapping them out, showing you who was responsible for them etc. Lots of cool infographics from history too - apparently Florence Nightingale was once of the first people to do visual representations of her data! She used it to demonstrate more soldiers in Crimean war were dying from post-combat infections and diseases than from combat. All up it was a very interesting side exhibit and we were very glad we went.

    We tackled the main FutureWorld exhibit starting at about 11:45 - it was split into four parts of nature, town, water and space. Each part had a couple of interactive installations within the theme of how the world and the future will collide in that area. So for example in the nature section, there was a huge 180 degree video screen where you lay on beanbags in front of it. The screen displayed a Mambo-style animation of islands in a sea; gradually the sea level rises to the top of the screen and the islands are no more. Making a point about climate change and rising sea levels obviously - a big concern I guess in a small island nation though they have the money to plan their way out of it.

    The middle two parts were mostly interactive and kid-focused, but one interesting thing in both areas was an interactive video wall. You grabbed a sheet of pre-printed paper with a particular vehicle (I chose a fighter jet and Shandos a UFO), coloured it in with crayons and then scanned it. Once your vehicle had gone through the scanner, it would show up in 3D on the video wall as part of a giant city-scape with everyone else's vehicles driving around. I was glad I didn't draw a cock & balls or something on mine!

    But the highlight was the last part - space. It was a large room filled with chains of LED lights hanging from the ceiling in a grid pattern, and a narrow walkway through the centre. Imagine those beaded door-curtains people used to use in the 80s, now add LEDs and fill an entire room, and you're most of the way there. This room provided what felt like a three-dimensional model of the universe, with stars and galaxies dotted around. The colours pulsated and whirled, the music swelled and faded, and there were a couple of special effects like a waterfall strobe and a clap (where the lights would go sequentially from the floor and ceiling in time, meeting in the middle as the music clapped). It was sensational, and both of us stood there for probably 15 minutes in awe. This alone was worth the $25 admission ticket, and highly recommended for anyone going to Singapore.

    By now it was 2pm and high time for lunch. We wandered into the nearby shopping mall underneath the Sands, and found a small hawker-style food court buried right in one corner. It was very reasonably priced, so we weren't surprised it was hidden away! The stores in here look ridiculously expensive - mostly high end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton targeted at cashed up Chinese tourists. On that note, there are quite a lot of Chinese tourists here which isn't surprising as there's a large expat community (indeed the reason Singapore seceded from Malaysia was because the latter wanted to discriminate against Chinese migrants in favour of Malays). The "huge bus tour" thing doesn't seem to be as common here for them, but still plenty of people following a flag or whatever and talking loudly. I was reminded of our driver in Bali, Putu, who said that Chinese tourists always sounded to him like ducks going quack quack quack.

    Freshly lunched up from a noodle soup, we headed across the lobby of the hotel (very fancy!!) and into the Gardens By The Bay, a huge botanic gardens type area just behind the hotel that's freely open to the public. We wandered slowly around here for the next few hours checking out the displays; Chinese gardens, colonial gardens, Indian gardens and so on. Very interesting. Opted against going into the large flower pavilion and the rainforest pavilion - the latter looked interesting but you can only buy a combined ticket and it was $25! So we skipped.

    The centre section of the Garden is taken up by "super trees" - man-made constructs in the shape of a tree. These have greenery on the outside, but perform vital functions for the park like heating water, collecting solar energy via rooftop panels, mulching and so on. There was a huge series of tedious diagrams which we politely examined for a moment and moved on. You could have a drink at the top of the tallest super tree for the bargain price of $18, but rather than go here we figured we'd just go all out and visit the cocktail bars atop the Marina Bay Sands hotel instead. It was 5pm by this point - that's definitely drinks time!

    Wandered over, found our way up to the top and despite being quite under-dressed, they gave us a prime balcony position overlooking the city and the sunset right when the bar opened at 6pm. Pints of local beer were an eye-watering $20, but we decided we'd get comfortable for a couple of hours to watch the sunset so that's what we did! Took a bunch of photos which hopefully look OK. I had a second pint while Shandos followed her sparkling rose with a mojito, and then we ordered a pair of $12 pork & prawn sliders too which were absolutely delicious.

    We stayed up here for a couple of hours, watching the sun set and the lights in the city start to come on. Left at about 7:45 as we wanted to go on the SkyWalk - an elevated walkway between some of the supertrees - and the last ticket sales were at 8pm. Hustled back there just in time for the ticket office to refuse us service as although it was 7:58, there were already too many people waiting to ascend and they wouldn't get through any more people by closing time. Alas!

    Wandered a little more around the park taking photos in the dark, before grabbing a good position for the ~GARDEN SPECTACULAR~ show where the trees light up in time with music and stuff. It was a bit tacky and kitsch, especially since the song mainly seemed to be about how great Singapore is, but still a fun experience.

    Very tired and footsore (by now it's 9pm), we walked back to the metro station nearby and caught the train four stops back to Clarke Quay. Shared a curried mutton martabak from a popular Indian takeaway a few doors from our hotel - very cheap and very tasty! Jumping in the shower to wash off all the day's accumulated grime and sweat is one of life's greatest feelings. It's now 11pm and I'm finished writing my diary. Time to collapse into bed!

    And I think I'm going to skip wearing thongs tomorrow - my iPhone pedometer reckons I walked about 25,000 steps today (about 17km)!
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  • First I saw some lady peacocks fighting near the breakfast tables, they lost some feathers which I could collect. Then when a big storm started, a big thunderclap scared a male peacock on the roof! He jumped down and ran across the road shouting "aaaaaaaargh!" It was very funny. The coolest animal was a big monitor lizard who went swimming in the pool next to where we had lunch (in the rain!). We also had a great time riding the cable car between Sentosa Island and Singapore. Plus a lot more time in the pool! Even after dark!Read more

  • Finally got to my residence after a 3.5 hour flight, 1 hour subway ride across the city, a 10 minute cab-ride that ended up in an hour-long backtrack walk. Today I learned that when you don't exactly know where you're going, ask MANY people for directions. Whether it's the officer at the neighbourhood police post, a construction worker on his lunch break, or a highschool secretary, it's always good to get a second opinion to make sure you're (still) going in the right direction.

    My room is fantastic: small but comfortable, furnished with a double bed, night table, two (!) desks with chairs, functional AC and fan, and more than enough closet space. The view from my 12th-story balcony is fantastic (see pictures below)! Bathroom, kitchen and living area are shared with the rest of the floor (up to 5 people, I know there are at least 3 others already).

    I just got back from a little excursion at a nearby shopping mall and picked up an outlet adapter for my laptop. It is ridiculous how many food shops there are in that place, probably more than I could cover if I only ate there my entire stay! Tomorrow's mission is to buy a towel and an unbrella and do some more exploring. Time to go eat some hawker food (for those of you who aren't familiar:
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  • Say hi to the big Merlion & the many plants 🌻🌷🌴🌱🌿🌺🌸
    We eat a lot her ! You can see on the picture 🤓
    And the boys are from our hostel, Martin & Jens. Very friendly & sure they are german guys 😀😊 from Berlin & Stuttgart.