My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kuala Lumpar and Singapore...getting nervous now!

I didn't spend long enough in KL to give a good impression of this South East Asian capital (sorry to be repetitive about this, but I am not a city girl anyway!) I am just too nevous about the boat now that it is just best to get to Singapore asap. Through this journey I hope I will learn to worry less...but it is a family trait it seems! Hopefully The Land of 'no worries mate' OZ will cure me! Singapore seems to be fully booked up which surprises me but takes me to the Summer Tavern Hostel which is a real gem - really friendly, chilled (too cold with the air conditioning which we try to turn off as much as possible!), free internet and breakfast. At first I wasn't too enamoured by Singapore - except the kindness of Richard and his wife Evelyn, another friend of a friend of a friend etc who has looked out for me! and the weird and slightly un P.C/animal unfriendly Maya Puto (white eyed) bird singing competition where people bring their caged birds together to sing sweetly for hours whilst judges whittle them down to one sweet winner. Hot competition and serious stuff, I cheered for number 98 for a while but left and never discovered his fate! I found the place hot and too orderly and slow (how can I say that!!!) but for an Asian city. I guess I just got a bit frustrated with some of the systems which if you get used to are perfectly sensible but.... and the huge consumerism and Americanisation annoyed me. There also seemed to be too many chirpy happy people and hollow symbols of peace, harmony, community etc. but from speaking to a few locals it is maybe not that harmonious, but perhaps it is good to at least try to achieve them, even if it is only in words. They have some good things in their concrete jungle though, I found a lush organic, wholefood cafe and had hummous! After a delightful American lady kindly commented on my numerous mossie bites 'Gee they sure love you - you should get one of these' (Cue smiley sticker thing on her leg thrust into my face) I said thanks and departed speechless! I also arrived in the middle of the celebrations for Deepvali (I bought a beautiful and sweet scented flower garland as a treat), The Mooncake/Lantern Festival in Chinatown and also Ramadam. There were lots of decorations and extra exciting food and activites going on as well as beautiful night-time light displays. I also got a Singapore Sling in Raffles - nice enough and good to say I have done it but pretty un-exciting getting a cocktail in the middle of the day on your own and also surrounded by loud Americans (sorry but they keep cropping up!) I also ventured to Sentosa - Singapore's very own man-made island theme park. An interesting and potentially expensive experience. I opt out of some of the rubbish and see the Images of Singapore Museum which after the initial 'cheese' - peace, harmony etc. and being cattle herded in with all the other tourists it was quite an informative museum with lots of great waxworks! Next with ice-cream melting quickly in the 35 degrees heat and a 'have a nice day' from the seller I set off on the nature trail which takes me past fake dinosaur bones and what sounds like fake jungle sounds (but some informative stuff with even a few latin names of plants!) down to the beach. The sand is all imported and I sit on the most southerly point of continental Asia which is very symbolic for me as I gaze out at the many cargo ships in the mist on the horizon - is one of them mine? Also nice was the orchid garden but I have had enough and back to the city. The fabulous Rebecca manages to email me some more music to practice on the ship and the guys at the hostel help me to print it. It is starting to dawn on me how 2 weeks on a ship is a hell of a lot of hours to kill! Feeling a bit homesick, as much as I am having fun and am excited about the boat, Oz and beyond, I still love Mach, my home and my family and friends. (I know you may want to read about the boat and yes I am in Australia but I haven't worked out what to write yet!) xxxx


At 3:51 pm, October 15, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

I know I have already emailed you in aus, but it wouldn't be right for me not to put a comment up on our blog site.

It's great news the you made the boat and got to Aus, hope your accordion didn't get washed overboard b a freak wave, with just a little help from a member of the crew. Good job cargo ships are so large, though even from the bow I wonder if the could still hear your accordion??

Hope No. 98 did ok, don't they eat the losers??

You seem to be getting more and more frustrated the longer the trip goes on, hope the 2 weeks on the ship helps to get you back to your worry free, friendly self, Though to stay that wa don't bother watching England play football in the Euro Cup at the moment, that will make to pull all your hair out.

Sounds like ou plan the trip well, you keep getting into countries as they have major festivals going on, bet you have some fantastic photos.

Good to hear you found a beach in Singapore to seat on and look out over the sea to aus, though your bum was probable already there, I think some to the sand may have been imported from Aus, I read it years ago so may be wrong.

Look forward to hearing about the boat trip and all our high sea adventures fighting of pirates and being ship wrecked..... oh just reading, writing and playing your accordion.

Lots of Love and Luck and a Big British Hug from me for making it all the way down to Aus, just the easy bit to do now, getting to Brisbane oh and the wedding, Do you have to make a speech???

Steve XXX

At 5:27 pm, October 15, 2006, Blogger Spin Spotter said...

Dear Barbara,

Congratulations love Gran xx

At 10:59 pm, October 15, 2006, Blogger Robert van de Walle said...

I hope you work out how to write about your time aboard ship soon! I'm wiggling in anticipation. Thanks for the spoiler about making it to OZ, tho!

At 3:49 am, October 18, 2006, Blogger rckc said...


Hello Brabara,

Nice to read that u hv reached OZ even it is in Frementle. Hope u enjoyed the voyage n glad u made it out of Spore. My wife were glad that v met u n hope to meet up again either in Spore or Cardiff. Rgds Richard


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