A Travellerspoint blog

April 2010

Singapore

SimSim, Ems and Mr Singapore!

sunny 30 °C

After a horrendous nights non sleeping at Bali airport we met up with Simon and Emily at Singapore airport, at the ready with our 'SimSim and Ems' sign (their nicknames for each other - public ones anyway). 4539124503_fca21f1d46.jpgWe found our hostel (28 bed dorm - our personal best so far), then met up with Simon and Emily for lunch at a hawker centre. In the evening we met up with Kim who we'd originally met in Malaysia and went to Raffles for a Singapore Sling, costing a whopping 15 pounds!! 4539157515_f12d077c40.jpgAfter blowing our budget on one Singapore Sling we decided to eat cheap that night but still managed to have a feast!
The next day Kim took us on a guided tour of Singapore, including a Buddhist pagoda, a Hindu temple, Chinatown and Little India. In the evening we met up with Adam and Simon's friends Kent and Richard who have both been living in Singapore for 9 months but had yet to meet up until we came over and brought them together!
The next day we planned to go to Universal Studios on Sentosa Island, however after discovering the main attraction was closed we decided to just head over to the island and see a few other attractions instead. We signed up for a package deal including a 4D Pirate Adventure, a rapids simulation ride and a cowboy laser shoot em up. Out of about 15 people on this ride Adam and I rather embarrassingly featured in the top 3, I think maybe we took it a little too seriously...4545731028_828bc6beb9.jpgWe then headed to the beach and the boys had a cool down in the sea. We were having a nice relaxing time when the lifeguard came over to warn us about the jellyfish in the sea which weren't 'particularly' lethal...needless to say we made a quick getaway! Adam and Simon then had a go on the zipwire which was 75 metres high. Our final stop was 'lugeing', (a combination of a go kart and a toboggan) where you get to race around a track at night. We all loved this, I somehow managed to lose everyone on the way round and came last! We liked it so much we had another go...where I came last again. There was some pretty stiff competition going on between Adam and Emily, both going on one wheel at one point...*Adam came out top in the end* - I was forced to add this by Adam.
The next day, Simon and Emily were heading back to Malaysia and Adam and I were off to Oz so we had a final stroll around Chinatown in the morning, enjoying watching Simon's growing haggling skills! Then Kim came to see us off at the airport, which was pretty emotional, he was an excellent host! It was great to see everyone and so nice of Simon and Emily to come all the way to Singapore to see us. Australia here we come!

Posted by palmer830 05:40 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

Bali

Surf's up.....but not in our pool!!!

sunny 32 °C

We left for Medan airport with hopes that our tight schedule (4 hours between a connecting flight in Asia is a risk) would work out. We got there really early as Anna doesn't like to rush, and found out that our flight had been delayed by 2 1/2 HOURS!!!!! Well I'm not much of a "Traveller" at the best of times, but i was panicking and getting in a right old hump. I calmed myself down by having a Dunkin Doughnuts (Anna's always telling me im too skinny) and when we left we found that it was now down to a 2 hour wait. We ended up landing with not a lot of time to spare, got something to eat and then went to check in. And for that we had another 2 and a half hour delay. Great. Now this Airport was tiny and was in the middle of nowhere so we had little choice but to sit on these uncomfortable chairs and wait. We ended up landing in Bali about 8pm, having left Medan at 6am, and was very tired. Anna had wanted to be a proper "Traveller" and look for local transport in the form of a Bemo bus. I on the other hand was more willing to hail a cab. Anna won and we set of looking for the bus. But alas, the buses had finished for the night and we got a cab. We found a room for the night, but paid more than we wanted so the next morning we went on the search of somewhere cheaper. Not only did we find somewhere cheaper, but we found a place which had a large outside swimming pool, 4520332572_41ca9a4f26.jpgfree breakfast and a nice room for about 8 quid a night. We checked in and basically spent the next few days relaxing by the pool. Whilst having lunch one of these days a girl handed us one of many fliers that we got for the many nightclubs that litter Kuta. One of the promotions was free drinks and free food for an hour between 10pm and 11pm. Too good to be true right.......well wrong. We turned up expecting there to be a catch, but walked in for free, ate and drank for an hour and left. Result!!!
It was more of the same for about 4 days as we soaked up the sun and ate like kings. We had a very big meal with starters, mains, drinks all for 5 quid. So far Bali was looking like a great place to relax, just what we needed after all the trekking we had done. However our next stop was Ubud, which is about an hour and a half inland. It was much colder than Kuta as it was in the hills and it rainned most nights. Anna had wanted to see the volcano's close by, which i presummed was a nice bus ride up there walk around and back down. But no, it was a wake up at 2am, catch a bus to the bottom, walk 2 1/2 hours uphill for the sunrise at the top. Up and down it was around 10Km, but very steep and at a ridiculous time of day. To be fair it was amazing up there and the views were some of the best we have seen. 4522385849_4be20e7f72.jpgUnfortunately on our way down we found out that at the spot we where 5 minutes before at the top of the volcano, a Swedish guy had just fallen in. We later found out he had died, so was a very scary feeling as we had just been standing where he slipped in.
The day after we went white water rafting, which is something i have always wanted to do. It was fantastic, albeit a little tame (will be doing a more advanced one in NZ). Anna seemed to love it too, although spent most of her time sitting in the bottom of the boat and not paddling. All good fun. After all the hard work of the past few days we wanted more relaxing sun, so headed back to Kuta and the same guest house to chill by the pool.
We also wanted to explore Bali a bit more so decided to hire a Scooter. It was all going very well and we got to see some temples (we had to carry sticks in case the monkeys attacked us!!!) and a nice beach with bigger waves than we had seen.....so far!!!. However on the second day it all went wrong when we got to some traffic lights. I basically had to move over to let a bike and taxi run through a red light. This in turn made my front tyre stop on the lines at the lights. Little did i know that there was a police officer watching and as the light turned green he summoned me over. Oh s**t, what did he want i thought. We had heard that they were notorious for fining tourists on bikes and thats exactly what he did. I got ushered over to his office and he explained what i had done wrong, pointed out i didnt have an internation driving licence and explained i owed him 400,000 rupiah (40 quid, 2 days budget money). I think not i thought, and explained i only had 100,000, which he was happy to accept (guess he was just hungry and wanted lunch). At least he was then kind enough to escort me back to the bike. Cheers.
With this we decided to give the bike back a day early and spend the remander of the week surfing and relaxing. 4522480509_c0799e0f47.jpgSurfing was good fun although neither of us managed to stand up very long. Plus the dirty water and the many Indonesian men who all seemed to want to have there picture taken with Anna and another other western woman made us head back to our pool. Off too Singapore next for a weekend with Simon and Emily.

Posted by palmer830 17:30 Archived in Indonesia Tagged luxury_travel Comments (2)

Sumatra

The final frontier...

rain 25 °C

We got to KL airport at about 11.30 at night and quickly set up a place to kip for the night. I was a little nervous about Sumatra after Kim had said it was 'due a tsunami'...(did he mean it had earned it?!) KL airports meant to be really nice but unfortunately for us we were flying with Air Asia so were stuck in the 'low cost carrier terminal' where they basically stick the scum. We spent a bit of time sorting our bags out to make sure they weren't overweight where I discovered a stash of dvds that Adam had stolen from our guesthouse in KL, (including 'new moon'). We met a nice Australian girl who was also spending the night there. She whipped out some banana cake and was forced to share it with Adam who was salivating at the sight of it due to severe food shortages in the Palmer/Hayward camp. We've decided to make it our mission to get Adam free food from now on in our 'feed the world/Adam' campaign. 4480919380_24bcc1a60e.jpg

We arrived in Medan and then needed to get a bus to Bukit Lawang - the village we were gonna stay to see the orang-utans. After being severely ripped off and touted up to our eyeballs we arrived in Bukit Lawang and picked a nice room overlooking the river. That night we booked our trek with some guy who calls himself 'Jungle Edie' (apparently he's on facebook). He's notorious for stripping off once he gets in the jungle and covering himself in war paint, we'll see how that goes...
The first day we went to the Orang-utan rehabilitation centre where we got to watch them getting fed, we were surprised how many we saw and it was amazing to see them so close. 4480987256_bb7b5800d6.jpgThe next day we started our trek with the infamous 'Jungle Eddie'. There were 4 of us in the group, we were all a little nervous cos we'd heard the stories about 'Jungle Eddie', and when he disappeared to go to the toilet in the jungle we were relieved when he came back fully clothed. The trek was pretty strenous, especially for poor Adam who had to carry 2 extra pairs of shoes I'd bought for the trek because I couldnt decide which ones to wear (a girl can never have too many shoes!). We got to see some wild orang-utans, and even saw 'Mena' a semi-wild orang-utan notorious for attacking tourists, so we stayed well clear of her! After a long hard trek we got to raft back down the river to our guest house, it was a great day!

That night we had dinner in our guest house and a guy who works there started telling us about some woman who claims to be able to 'talk' to orang-utans and calls herself an 'animal communicator' (or Dr Doolittle, whichever you prefer). She was pretty bizarre looking, quite short with bright orange hair...sound familiar?! Yes I'm pretty sure she'd started to deliberately look like an orang-utan. She was alright though, just a bit crazy, she very kindly gave us some photos of her posing with various monkeys which will take pride of place on our mantelpiece!

The next day we walked to a cave then decided to play a leisurely game of ping pong with some locals. Their idea of 'leisurely' was pretty different to ours however and i came away bruised and in pain...

After 3 great nights here we headed back to Medan to stay for a night before our flight to Bali to chill out on the beach for 2 weeks!

Posted by palmer830 19:32 Archived in Indonesia Tagged animal Comments (0)

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