Monday, November 1, 2010
SINGAPORE AND PENANG
I am not certain which way the cultural shock happened here! After 3 weeks traveling in India, which can be your best friend and your worst nightmare in the same minute, it was actually a shock to the system to be in such a clean and modern city.
I took this photo out of the bus window. The building is to be a new casino. We spent three nights in Singapore going to Little India, China Town and looking around some of the colonial buildings. There was a brochure at our hostel about the Changi Museum, I some how could not bring myself to want to go. I knew several men who had been prisoners of war there. The underground train system is fantastic and I liked the way that you got a refund on your plastic ticket if you recycled it at the vending machine.
We caught the bus to a shopping center that just sells everything electrical. Talk about consumer overload! I took 11 kg’s of luggage with me for over five weeks away and I never missed not having anything. The thing that gets me is that more and more of this stuff is being manufactured and next time I go there it will all have been replaced with the latest gadgets!
One night walking back from the train station we came across these dancers. We booked a train from Singapore to Butterworth, the most boring train trip I think that we have ever had!!! After traveling on the trains in India where there is just so much going on all the time, it seemed to take forever. The one good thing was that I got to see a fair bit of Malaysia. Sadly though it brought home the effects of deforestation and the impact on the local environment. So much of the country is planted in palm oil plantations. You could see small villages along the way but you had to wonder what their agriculture entailed. It really made me think about how as a consumer I contribute to this? as it really was just row after row of palm oil plantations.
Georgetown is an interesting place, a mixture of many different cultures. The street food is fantastic! The streets are alive at night with Indian, Chinese, Indonesian and many more different cuisines. There are many different temples in Penang, some South Indian others more Chinese and an interesting Tibetan Buddhist temple that we spent some time at. We caught a bus across to what used to be a small fishing village, just to find it as built up as the rest of the island.
With the island so built up to the waters edge and positioned so close to Sumatra you wonder how they survive a tsunami?
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