Travel Journal

Singapore

(Sunday 17 May 2009) by Dopps Family
Singapore, Albert Court Hotel (May 14-15), Johor Bahru, Zon Hotel (May 16-17)
If you are reading this journal entry then obviously we’ve made it to chapter 2, Singapore, in our book Around the World with 2 Kids (in 4 months). Anisa and Cianna are becoming real troopers with traveling and actually enjoy planes, trains and automobiles. This experience will pay huge dividends back home, prior to this trip the dreaded “Are we there yet?” from the back seat would take only 20 minutes into the drive, now they can go the whole day before any major melt-down. Although only staying 2 nights in Singapore (it’s not cheap compared to Africa) we were able to enjoy some site-seeing. Of course, the most noticeable difference when setting foot here is the hot and humid weather which is making our laundry frequency double, I’m just not ready to wear the same shirt 2 days in a row after a sweat soak all day. Anyways… when we arrived we began our phase of travel where we now rely completely on public transportation and lugging our backpacks and bags with us everywhere we go – thank God we brought the old baby stroller. After spending our first day sleeping and getting organized at our hotel in “Little India” we woke up late the next day and headed towards Sentosa Island. This Island is essentially a huge entertainment area with rides and attractions of all kinds. To avoid the heat, and also because of the write-ups, we headed to the Underwater World, an interactive aquarium. Kids love it here since you can feed fish, touch fish and starfish and also feed sting rays (no worries, their stingers have been removed). However we soon realized that we were also an attraction of sorts with our two children. Lots of folks no matter where we were would look at us, talk to the kids, stroke their hair, pick them up, play with them and several people actually took their pictures with themselves or their kids. Apparently it’s quite unusual for Western visitors to travel here with their children. Most who do are here on business only. Of course Anisa, our little celebrity, enjoys the attention more so than Cianna and never fails to disappoint in putting on a little show of “cuteness”.
I must also point out that Singapore has a very excellent mass transit system. It is very clean and comfortable and easy to maneuver with lifts for strollers and very kind staff who allow families with strollers to the front of the lines in bus queues. However, even with the nice staff and being at the front of the queues, once the doors to the bus open it becomes a “free-for-all” and the herd runs you over as they scramble onto the bus. I don’t quite understand this culture of very nice people who turn into stampeding cattle when in a queue, maybe it’s just the nature of a people who live in dense populations and the innate behavior to “secure your spot” when there’s too many people. Today we travelled to the border town of Johor Bahru in Malaysia. This required us to heft all our bags and buggy into the bus, a short bus ride to the border and customs, take everything back of the bus as fast as possible without losing bags or children, zip thru immigration, and get back on the bus all over again, just to drive another couple of kilometers to get back off again at the bus station in Malaysia. I prefer the open borders they have in Europe over this approach.
Once off the bus we decided to take a taxi (due to the downpour) and try our luck with a good night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (just for one night to spoil ourselves). After a misunderstanding with the driver we hired regarding the rate (he said RM30 and Carola insisted on RM20 (a difference of only $3) but you know Carola. Anyway, after getting her way, we drove to the Hyatt but it was closed due to renovation – bummer. So we ended up diving back into the city (and spending another RM20 in the process) and ended up at the Zon Regency Hotel. A nice 4 star hotel at RM270 per night (or $78) that’s located in the “free trade zone” and the need to walk back thru customs when leaving.

  • hugs from MV by Nanny Teresa
  • Hello by Sheryl
  • Beach stops by Steve Dopps
    • Beach Stops by Stan


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