Singapore was founded before any of us were born by some Thai prince who was out sailing and saw a Merlion, or Singha in Thai. Figuring he was probably high, the Singaporese government promptly banned all recreational drugs except alcohol and nicotine.[*]
Robin and I arrived late on Friday night to find the public transit system already shut down, so we took a taxi to our hostel.
I spent most of our trip wondering what there is to do in Singapore other than play tourist and shop. I still haven’t figured that one out. Fortunately, there are a few interesting things to do as a tourist, like the awesome Bird Park (all sorts of birds, of course) and the Night Safari (where we saw sleeping lions, hunting tigers, etc.)
The weather in Singapore is about a billion degrees and humid, like the rest of southeast Asia, and it somehow manages to feel a lot like a third world country: there are people selling junk on the street amid Lexuses and Mercedes. Things randomly don’t work (like ticketing for the local "rapid" transit, which is a giant pile of fail.) Everything seems to be either shoddy or owned by a megacorp. So from that point of view, it’s been a good experience: a place to get used to the heat, humidity, and general inconvenience of life in this part of the world without any actual danger to us or our property.
And now we’re on a train that took us across the border to Malaysia and will hopefully take us to Gemas. At the station, yet another sign we’re not in Japan anymore: the train was over an hour late leaving Singapore, and now seems to be running an hour behind schedule. Welcome to the third world! I declared to Robin that this train is not a kitten (since kittens are of course the embodiment of awesome in the world.) She told me it was a donkey, and I’m inclined to agree.
We’re hoping to spend the night in Gemas then get up early to taking the Jungle Line to Khota Bharu, which borders Thailand. From there, train, bus, then boat to Railay Beach and rock climbing!
[*] Nothing in the first paragraph of this entry should be taken as fact. Obviously.