A Travellerspoint blog

Back to Singapore


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Friday was the last day of our cruise but we didn't leave the ship until the afternoon, which gave us several hours to kill. After packing our suitcases and giving them to the porter, we headed to the pool and lazed by it for a little longer, as we had not quite done enough of that during the cruise. By this point, all the other passengers were rushing around like mad things trying to get their checking out done, but we were well ahead of them. At midday or so, the ship docked and people were given clearance to leave; Heather however stayed by the pool. Eventually after much persuasion by me, she agreed it was time to leave. By this time it was gone 1pm, and we were some of the only ones left on the boat other than staff.

We caught our ride back to the Raffles Plaza, and checked in again. Once back in our room (which had a nice view directly over to the Raffles hotel) we decided that as we had time to kill, in Singapore, we would do a tour to the Night Safari. So we phoned them up, and tickets were duly booked...

The Night Safari itself was an interesting contrast of extremes. On the tacky tourist side, there was the tour guide that we had who seemed intent on getting us through the entire tour by 10pm (the animals were pretty quiet at that point). Heather and I decided that we could get a cab back to the hotel, so we broke away from the group and wandered around the safari by ourselves. Our perspective of the safari changed completely when doing this: walking quietly as just a pair was a lot more effective than being part of a guided group. We were fortunate in that we mostly managed to avoid the large groups of tourists, so we got to see a lot of activity. I had the video camera recording everything with the night-vision on. I must get in to the habit of charging video cameras nightly rather than when the batteries are flat though. The damn batteries drained 3/4's of the way through the tour, so we missed out on recording a few animals unfortunately.

After the safari we returned via taxi to the hotel, arriving back there at around midnight. We capped off the evening in sophisticated fashion by drinking tea and listening to Mantovani on the radio. I couldn't find my cardigan, pipe and slippers though.

Posted by jefranklin 11:04 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur


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Having set off in the middle of the night, the Superstar Virgo arrived in Kuala Lumpur home to the some of the tallest buildings in the world and hundreds of temples. Heather and I however decided to stay on board and laze by the pool. Don't shake your head in disgust, we have to have something to do when we go backpacking in SE Asia.

That evening we headed to the casino, which is where we found the passengers that had been missing since we left Singapore. We tried our hand at Baccarat (should have worn the tux again), Poker and Blackjack - however as the stakes were between $5 and $10 minimums, we went to the "learn to play" tables. We also tried our hand at roulette ($2 stakes), I put chips on 17 and 12 (Heather and I, erm, got together on 17 December 1999) and the ball landed on 17. Off to a great start!!! Unfortunately, our luck did not hold though but we managed to finish the game with $48 more than we started.

Peace of cake this gambling lark...

Posted by jefranklin 11:02 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

####$$$@@@%%%******!!!!!!!

This morning we woke up with the mother of all hangovers, vaguely recollecting singing bad Beetles songs, drinking lots of cocktails, smoking cigars and various other things associated with a big night.

The day was highlighted by the ship returning to Singapore port, and if we wanted, we could have explored the city further. The best option for us though was to just lay by the pool and do nothing until the pneumatic drills in our heads stopped and we could face other people without a green tinge to our face. Later in the day, my brain decided to punish my body further and sent it (in auto pilot) to the gym, while Heather stayed by the comfort of the pool. Probably a better idea in the long run...

Towards the evening, my brain started to sort itself out, which was just as well because tonight was the second England qualifier. Unfortunately none of the onboard bars were screening it, so I was going to have to watch it in my room. Heather would have watched, but given that it was being screen at 2am Singapore time, she said "forget it". At 10 o'clock we retired to bed, Heather slept and I checked my alarm was set.

1.50am my alarm woke me up and I quietly turned on the tv, while perched on the end of the bed. What the f*ck is going on??? England and Azerbaijan were kicking the ball around, and game timer was 92 minutes... It's only then that I figured that I had not counted for the time zone difference that is warned about in tiny print at the bottom of the TV guide page. 2 minutes later, the ref blew the whistle, and England had won 1-0.

Not only had I not seen the game, I also knew the result so watching the replay for the first time wouldn't be particularly thrilling. Damn it!!

Posted by jefranklin 10:59 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

The name's Franklin, James and Heather Franklin

sunny
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Tuesday was our second off boat excursion and we went to Phuket. Actually, we went to a Pha Nga bay which had an array of beautifully idyllic islands. Phang Nga is famous for having be the location of the secret headquarters to Francisco Scaramanga, the former KGB assassin turned freelance. It was great to explore the location, although we couldn't find any used bullet cases we could keep as souvenirs.
IMG_0164.jpg
That evening it was the Captain's Dinner gala (for those not in steerage), so we dressed up in our finest (out with the tuxedo again) and started the evening drinking cocktails. Having just spent the day on James Bond Island and wearing a tux at that point in time, I naturally had a Vodka Martini. While we were drinking we were joined by a pair of um lady senior citizens. For some reason, I kept thinking of Hinge & Brackett.

After dinner, we made the mad decision to keep drinking and at 2am headed towards the karaoke bar. By this time, Heather and I were operating on autopilot, our brains having left the message "we regret to announce that this brain has stopped functioning, normal service will be resumed when this p!sshead comes to his senses". So with no sense of inhibition, we at various points grabbed the microphone and sang. Or at least Heather sang, I tortured two cats that I had found (at least that's what it sounded like to onlookers).

All this alcohol couldn't have been a good idea...

Posted by jefranklin 10:55 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

We're S - H - O - P - P - I - N - G


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Monday morning we sailed in to Penang, Malaysia. This was the first day of excursions that we had booked, so we headed down (after breakfast) to the on board theatre to await the transfer to the docks (the Superstar Virgo is too big to berth by the quay in Penang).

The excursion we had booked on was a mad shopping trip, and the first port of call was a large shopping mall with hundreds of small stores. It was here we stocked up with gifts for home, various DVDs and assorted junk. The next shopping centre could have been a Westfields, as it had a number of shops such as Esprit, etc. We decided at this point to leave the coach tour and walk back to the ship as it was only about 20 minutes away.

An hour and a half later, we arrived back at the docks cursing our ability to judge distances. We did however get to see more of Penang than we would have done travelling by bus though. We got the transfer boat back to the ship and wrapped up a successful day by lazing for the rest of the day on deck by the pool. That evening the ship laid on a barbeque, so we gorged on that (which also served as a reminder that we were getting closer to Australia).

Posted by jefranklin 10:53 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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