Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Singapore

From Mersing I caught a bus to Johor Bahru which has a causeway linking it to Singapore. The main bus station is a ways outside the city center and I found the bus station in Johor Bahru really confusing. I was planning on spending the night in Johor Bahru but instead hopped on a sort of city bus and headed to Singapore.

The bus drops you off at one side of the causeway and you clear Malaysian Immigration and then get back on a bus to go across the causeway. On the other side of the causeway you get off the bus again and go through Singapore Immigration. You then hop back on the bus and head into the city center. In these different hop on and off you are getting on different busses. I think the busses just drops people off and then keeps going and picks up people on the other side that have already clear immigration. This seems to make things sort of confusing using 3 busses. I forgot to take my ticket when getting on the bus in Johor Bahru even though I had read in the guidebook to not forget it. Because I did not have a ticket I had to pay again in Singapore. The cost of the bus for me was 2 Ringgits in Johor Bahru. When I was getting back on the bus in Singapore they wanted me to pay in Singapore Dollars, which I didn’t have, so they said 4 Ringgit. I find it sort of funny you take a bus a few miles and then the fare doubles for the same bus.

I found a hotel and checked in for 3 days. It was the most expensive place that I have stayed at on the trip so far at about 50 Euros a day. It was a nice place and had free wifi and I know Singapore was going to cost me more anyway.

After a little bit of a rest I took a walk through the Fort Canning Park and around the river for a while. I had expected Singapore to be just one huge city with every inch covered with a building of some type sort like the main Islands of Hong Kong. I was surprised to see how many green areas Singapore has and I think the island was a lot larger than I expected. It took a long time on the local bus to reach the city center when coming from the causeway to Malaysia.

The next day I spent most of my time just walking around. I went from temple to mosque to temple to church to building and then visited one museum in the afternoon. I visited a number of Hindu Temples and I find these sort of interesting right now since they are so much different then the Taoist or Buddhist temples that I have seen throughout Asia. This is the inside of the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. I would prefer if they had ladies walking around with only something wrapped around their waist but unfortunately it was only men doing this that I saw.



This is the entrance of the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.



I also visited the Sri Mariamman Temple in the evening and found all the plaster cows on the walls around the temple to be very unique and something I had not noticed in the other temples.

I visited the Asian Civilization Museum and found it rather interesting. It had sections that covered the culture and history of all the different parts of Asia. I found it to be one of the better Museums that I have visited lately.

I walked past a lot of the different churches and thought this had to do with Singapore’s legacy as a British colony but was surprise to read that one of the Churches was for the catholic Indian community. I did not know that many people from India are Catholics. Maybe this also comes from the British legacy in India. This is a picture of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was the church for the Indian community.



In the evening I stopped by one of what they call a Hawker centers. It is just a food court with all kinds of different food stands. I had some Shanghai dumplings. They were good but I was disappointed because there were not near as good as the ones I had eaten in Shanghai or Taiwan.

The following day I decided to head to the Botanic Gardens and the National Orchid Garden but once I got to the nearest subway stop to the gardens it was pouring down rain. I decided to just go to a movie rather than getting soaked. Once I had bought a movie ticket the rain stopped but I went ahead and saw the film Wall- E. After the movie I headed to the gardens and the map I was using was not the best so sort of walked the long way to get there and when I reached the Orchid Gardens only had 45 minutes to walk around before they closed. 45 minutes turned to be just prefect for me. I took my time and was at the exit at 2 minutes to closing. I thought the orchids in the mist house where the most impressive.



I ended the day at another Hawker center having some more Chinese food and a few very expensive for Southeast Asia Tiger beers.

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