Saturday, April 21, 2007

An International Party Night @ Anne's

We started the evening off on an international note---2 Germans and Canadians sitting eating pizza in an Italian restaurant in Singapore, that was playing Spanish music, prepared to go to a Danish party with Vivomart bags containing Thai beer and a stash of Saigon water (Vietnamese whisky and vodka).

As you can imagine, only craziness followed...Anne's party was a blast, followed by the continuation at Attica in Clarke Quay. Thanks for the great party Anne. Ah, I'm going to miss the drunken fun we have mixing cultures in Singapore! (Thank the airlines for flexible flights...two weeks left but I'm back for another 2 in July)
Pics: Top Left: Anne & Mette. Bottom from left: Vivi wearing Sean's glasses, Kristin, Damien, Me, Eric and Jens...and two random dancers having fun!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hanging Out in East Coast Park

We spent Sunday afternoon hanging out in Singapore's East Coast park, a great place to rollerblade, and try out waterskiing and kneeboarding. Beautiful park in the city, and lucky for us, one of the best days of weather we've had for awhile!
The Volar festival was put on by SMU students, so for $8 we got to rollerblade, and try out half an hour of watersports. Needless to say, I definitely need lessons before I try that again, barely made it a few metres before falling, both times! Sore and bruised today, but it was worth it. Let's hope this is good training for the Aussie beaches! (Or that I actually take real lessons before attempting to throw myself on a cable-pulled water device wearing jean shorts and permanent contact lenses I can't lose!). Heard Wednesday night is Ladies Night at the park (like everywhere in Singapore), half price for waterskiing in the dark...might have to check this out!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

MRT Pub Crawl!!!

Crazy NTU exchange students organized the coolest pubcrawl of the year---64 wild students in pink t-shirts, stopping for a drink at every station from Changi Airport to City Hall, scribbling bizarre messages on each others' backs in permanent marker. Really, the pubcrawl, which started at 5:30 meant to cover entire East-West line, landing us safely back at NTU's Staff Club (that campus bar none of the local students know about)...but as you can imagine, we didn't quite make it, since the train shuts down at midnight. Ofcourse, the Scots wore their kilts and some Norwegian guys even got suits specially made in Bali--check out the hot pinkblazer! Thanks to Alison and Dave for organizing such a crazy event :-)!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Four Days in Saigon

Originally a part of Cambodia, annexed by the Vietnamese, conquered in the 1800's by the French, and later bombarded in the Vietnam War against the Americans, Saigon is an eclectic mix of culture and history. Not to mention tangled telephone wires, random street stalls and curiously smiling people that reminded me of the Thais. Definitely more Asian than any city I've visited yet, Ho Chi Minh City (known to most as Saigon) was a refreshing break from Singapore's spotless streets.

Entering the city's horrendous traffic becomes almost laughable after two days...weaving in and out of cars and motorbikes is routine. In fact, if you cross the street in a straight line, stop and wait for traffic, your chances of survival are minimal! Instead, walk straight into the motorbikes (not the cars) and let them weave their way around you. Yes, that's right...into the traffic, across the traffic circle, on the sidewalk--they will find their way around you. Becomes quite convenient actually---ah the randomness of Saigon; don't think, just go!

Breakfast the first day was amazing---real, cooked eggs, French baguettes, fresh fruit...that French influence definitely did not make its way into Singapore's soy sauce and runny egg hawker breakfasts! Vietnamese coffee as well...delicious, strong, exquisite taste and interesting change from Italian espresso (although I skip the condensed milk :). Shopping in the city consisted of random markets, tailors and a few stores; I've never seen better fake Diesel!

Outside the city, we took tours of the Cu Chi tunnels, crawled through 90 metres of a tiny war tunnel the Vietnamese people can squeeze into, (widened for us tourists!), and gawked at the brutal war weapons (and the war veteran's enthusiastic proclamation to a spear studded enemy trap "This one's my favorite!"). The War Remnants museum was a great collection of photographs of the effects and aftermath of the tragedy dubbed the "American War" by the Vietnamese.

Sunday we fell into the tourist trap; River tour down the Mekong River. While the river canoes and rowboats rowed by locals wearing Vietnamese hats were an interesting experience; the touristy island hopping to local candy shops every few minutes was a bit annoying. Spent our precious last night there enjoying ridiculously cheap drinks and dining at Underground Saigon bar and Highlander Cafe.

Check out the slide show below for pics and more comments on our Saigon Adventure! Note: Some non original pics may be a bit blurry...also there's a lot of pics so you may want to set the slideshow to fast! (top R.H. corner)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bintan Adventure--Random Indonesian Weekend!

Looking for some chill time after all that partying, we decided to head to a white sand beach resort, or something like it, for the weekend. Plans for Tioman Island in Malaysia soon turned to the much closer, more convenient island of Bintan, Indonesia (an hour and a half ferry ride away from Singapore's coast).
Ofcourse, being budget travellers, we decided to stick to the "east coast", the backpacker, not-so-resort like area. Little did we know that we would be spending the night in practically an Indonesian campsite, "Travellers Lodge".

Although it was the suggestion of our somewhat shady taxi/van driver (who charged us twice the rate they normally charge foreigners), I'll admit the hostel was not that bad. At first glance, it looked like we'd landed on a set of Little House on the Prairie: Asian version. Running water and toilets, however, did exist. In fact, the running water was used to flush the toilet...

The weekend turned out great though! A bit of swimming in very warm sea water,beer in the rain, and home-cooked, spicy, delicious (and vegetarian!) Indonesian dinner. The family that owned the hostel even cooked us breakfast and lunch the next morning, not to mention picked up beer for us from town when they sped away on their motorbikes. A weekend of nothing...and yet a great adventure!

Check out the slideshow...descriptions and links to my flickR are available by clicking the photos you want to see.