What fantastic trains
26.05.2010 - 28.05.2010 30 °C
The Singapore transport system is great - buses and MRT trains everywhere. The buses have a mechanism that counts how many seats are available! However, be careful of maps - some are round the wrong way. Got the bus down to Boat Quay, passing the Arab District, Raffles Arcade and St Andrew's Cathedral. The Cathedral looks like frosted icing. I became a real tourist, walking along Boat Quay. Local resident June suggested I got an umbrella as it was so hot and sunny. There are little boats on the river that are there purely to pick up litter from the water. I met a guy who talks to the birds in the trees along the quay and another guy who had a huge python round his neck - as you do! A fortune teller distracted me from photographing The Esplanade but I got pics of the Merlion and the new, futuristic building that looks even more exciting than Sydney Opera House. There are wonderful bronze statues depicting life in colonial times - very exciting.
After crossing to the other bank by the Colonial buildings, I then headed to Chinatown for a massage - as recommended by Anna. The pain was excruciating but lovely when she stopped. Whoever says that Singapore is bland has not seen the old back streets, the ashtrays designed into the seating outside huge buildings and one little cat sitting on a buddha by the side of the main road.
Got the MRT to Keppel Road Station in Singapore - it's Malaysian but on Singapore territory. Just this week, there has been an agreement between the two nations to swap the land back to Singapore for loads of other stuff that Malaysia will profit from. It will be a shame when the station goes as it's a fantastic building. The first class ticket to Kuala Lumpur cost 68 Singapore Dollars - twice the price it would be in Malaysia but it can't be bought there - curious or what! Still, it's great value - the Man in Seat 61 certainly knows his onions.
Bought samosas at the station then had to wait to go through Malaysian immigration. It was Wesak - Buddha's birthday - so the world and his wife were travelling. Witnessing the poverty evident by the train tracks is quite upsetting - shacks in the jungle with the house number just painted on the side. "In-flight" entertainment is now provided on 1st Class trains - a Vim Diesel film (twice!) water and cake. The carriage was cleaned every couple of hours with a little carpet cleaner! Arrived two hours late at KL but what the hell - I'm on holiday!