A Travellerspoint blog

October 2004

Back to reality with a bump

The day we both dreaded had arrived, Saturday was here: the last day of our honeymoon. Our flight however wasn't until late in the evening so we did have a final day in Singapore. Just like our last full day in Santorini, we spent it wandering around looking at various local attractions. Once we had checked out a few shopping malls, we wandered around Fort Canning Park. This has the, erm, distinction of being the location of British Headquarters in 1942 from where the order to surrender to the Japanese was issued. Although there is a museum in honour of this, we didn't get a chance to check it out, as we were running a bit short of time. We headed back to the hotel, and relaxed in the reception lounge while we waited for our airport pickup.

On arriving at Singapore Airport, we psyched ourselves up to fly with the world's least favourite airlineTM and checked ourselves in. True to form, the airline that will remain nameless at first attempted to check us in to seats that were in separate parts of the aircraft. We explained that we were still on our honeymoon, and if they persisted in trying to do that, we would be forced to consider extreme measures, like checking them through to Siberia. Eventually, they relented and we were given two seats together (one window, one centre).

Once aboard the flight, we really may really have been better off in separate seats. The row that we were seated was not served probably by any flight attendant and when we were eventually given the in-flight meal, we had a choice of the vegetarian meal or going without. Not really much of a choice. Mistake number 2 was to go with the vegetarian option, not eating would probably have been preferable. No wonder most veggies don't have a sense of humour.

Anyway, the flight itself was relatively uneventful but with a combination of terrible food, terrible in-flight movies and my knees pressing against my chin, it was the longest 8 hours of my life.

Back in Sydney, we grabbed a cab home (double charged for crossing the Harbour Bridge naturally) and walked back in to our apartment as husband and wife (Heather was carried over of course :), crossing the threshold to the start of a new life together.

Posted by jefranklin 11:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Back to Singapore

View Our wedding and honeymoon on jefranklin's travel map.

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

View Our wedding and honeymoon on jefranklin's travel map.

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

View Our wedding and honeymoon on jefranklin's travel map.

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.
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)