Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Travel update from Singapore

Hi from Singapore!
Well, I left Malaysia yesterday after staying in Melaka for about 10 days. One of those traveller things y'know, I was planning to be there a couple or three days and wello, I just liked it and stayed. I was at a way FUNKY guest house in the old part/china town of the city called Sama Sama where the owners, a married couple of old hippies who just kind of grew on me.We beecame buddies. He- is a 50 year old Malay of Chinese desent called Soon and She- about the same age , a swiss woman called Gabriella. Soon basically hung out all day and night sipping Carlsberg beers and playing Reggae records and old Grateful Dead tapes and Gabriella keeps the place clean and tends to the three cats and the dog. She chuckles at the end of every sentence and sometimes just starts laughing for no apparent reason at all...just generally amused by the whole trippy world.
So Soon turned me on to a way cool buddhist Vegetarian restaurant that serves FREE VEGAN meals three times a day and it was like, oh my it just doesnt get any better than this!!
Just around the corner from Sama Sama is a little Jazz pub called Honky Tonk Haven, where Joe plays pino and Jill sings. they are the maried owners,He is a Kiwi and she is a Malay of Philipino descent. She has a sweet voice but Joe...Well Joe is from another planet. He is the best Gall Dang boogie-woogie piano player i have ever seen. they own the joint and sell Royal stout for 6 Ringets each and I wound up ther every night. drinking Stout and listening to him play piano. What a life I live. They took me out on a Tuesday (their half day off each week) and we went to the beach and to a restaurant they always go to and had drinks overlooking the sea and a lovely lunch. Then I went shopping for them and bought some peanut butter and some real cheese for me. Real cheesew. What a treat. aged Australian Cheddar. Oh how nice after 6 months of no cheese except for some feta in Jordan.
So before Malacca I was in Kuala Lumpur. This is the clean and shiny thourouhly modern capital of malaysia. It is kind of like la giant air conditioned shopping mall. Not really my cup of tea. I had fin in china town and met nice people but all in all I just was not that enamored with KL. no particular reason just so.
So now here I am in Singaopore. It is about 5 hours from here by bus from Melaka counting going out of Malay custums and into Singapore customes. I am staying at a backpackers hostel called Inn-Crowd. Lots of young people who watch cartoons all morning on the boob tube just in case they arent quite stupid enough yet. It is a decent place with freee internet and air con and a pool table and a kitchen i can use which is great for me since the last time I got to cook for myself was in Amman Jordan. I make stir fried noodles with veggies and fermented tofu last night. What fun!!
This morning i had the charming experience of going to the US Embassy here in Singapore. It is a big grey fortified building with lots of big imposing walls and guards and metal detectors. Everyonw was very nice to me and I was in and out quickly. I was there on a mission. I once again needed a suplement of Visa Pages for my passport. I have twice run out of room for visas and stamps. They do it for free and it only takes 20 minutes and you get to watch CNN and W and Ohlmert saying how much they just dig the shit outta Fatah and Abbas and the Hamas are ugly beasts who just want to start trouble. AAhhhh so that explains everything I reckon...
So I am gonna go now I have better things to do than sit at the computer and write. I will be here for 5 more days and then I go to Hong Kong for a week and return here on 1/7/007 and then go to Kuala Lumpur for a flight to Medan on Sumatra on 4/7/007.Here then are some interesting parting thoughts one I particularly like is a little Haiku poem about the importance of "being" rrather than "doing"
Peace and Love to all who read this

Sitting quietly
doing nothing, the spring comes
grass grows by itself----ZEN HAIKU

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Martin Luther King

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kuala Lumpur

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur. This is the capital and largest city in Malaysia. I am in a nice hostel called the Green Hut. I will probably stay for 5 days or a week. I am liking this clean modern city.
After leaving Daniels lodge in Tana Rhata Cameron Highlands, I went to Perhentian Islands and stayed on a little island called Pulau Kecil (pulau means island). I was there for 8 days and should have stayed for 10. Un-beknown to me, it was a Sunday that I chose to leave. I never seem to know what bloody day it is anymore! Yes I inadvertently violated the first rule of Avidan, which is never to travel on a Sunday. The rule is because the transit systems are always most crowded on this day. Well. They sure were! Not only was it Sunday but it was the culminating weekend of the week long celebration of the Kings 79th birthday (who knew???).
I arrive in Khota Baruh on the mainland at the main bus station to learn that all busses are sold out Sunday night, and Monday and Monday night as well. The "Jungle train" was also full up!! Shit. So the taxi driver took us to the "outer" bus depot but, alas, all busses there were full here too... except...at one ticket window there was an argument in progress between a Malay man and the ticket sellers.
It seems he had bought a ticket for Monday morning to Kuala Lumpur and changed his mind and now he didnt want to go and wanted his money back but they didnt want to refund him his money. So I bought his ticket and was able solve his problem and mine as well and leave the next morning. So here I am in K.L.
I was stuck for the night in Khota Bharu, which is a town that I would much rather have not stayed in and the Menorah Lodge was a very... oh how shall I put this, uhh un-inspiring place.
I stayed there because the Good Old Lonely planet said it had a nice roof garden and it is only a 15 minute walk from the outer bus depot. The roof garden was probably nice some time ago but it has been horribly neglected and Honest to Buddha my feet were dirtier after I took a shower than before!
The dirtiest bathrooms I have ever seen that werent in India. I got a private room for $US4.00(15 Malaysian Ringet) so I cant complain seeing as there were no bed bugs, no rats, no roaches, no windows, and no services for the guest what so ever!! Oh wait they had drinking water and an "automatic back scratcher". This is a matress where when you lie down the springs poke through and scratch your back!! Lovely.
Perenhentian islands were fabulous. I stayed at a little place called D'Lagoon on Pulau Kecil and had a wonderful relaxing 8 days in Paradise. D'Lagoon is the only thing on its end of the island. It is a 90 minute walk through the jungle to Long Beach which has about a dozen other hotels and some mini markets and the like, but where I was, was isolated. They had a restaurant but no store, no TV, no Internet and no liquor. Cool. Way Cool.
What they did have was a beautiful, calm, little inlet on the sea, with crystal clear waters and lots of coral and an unbelievable, below the surface world, of neon colored tropical fish. They also had a nice little pond with a bunch, maybe 20, baby sea turtles that they will release when they get bigger and super beautiful full moon rising and great lightning shows over the calm seas right before a night of tropical rain and great roaring rolling thunder. Nice sun rises too, I might add...
I rented snorkel gear from the staff and got a great view of some fine ocean life. Black tip sharks, rays of many sizes and too many fish to count including clown fish, parrot fish, tiger fish, giant clams, snappers, needle fish, sea anomelies and who knows what!!
I went out on the turtle boat with 4 nice french people and swam with 6 giant sea turtles in about 3 hours of snorkelling. These magestic and endangered creatures have no fear of man (partly why they are endangered!)and you can get right up to them and look them right in the eye. Each turtle has a little escorting fish which is orange with black stripes which I believe is called a tiger fish and if not, well, it should be!!! They also have a couple of other fish stuck to the under side of their shell sucking them clean(lucky little buggers). Perhaps my dear friend and sometimes travlling mate Kimmy (the Guacomole goddess)will take heart here and follow some turtles instead of dolphins on her next sojourn in the tropics. Shahh I recommend this to all of you in fact!!
Other than snorkelling I hung out in the hammock and walked through the jungle and read a couple of books. Saw lots of giant Monitor lizards. These guys are almost 6 feet long (1.8 meters) and weigh in at 70 pounds (32kilos)!! They scared the heck out of me the first time I came upon one in the jungle, but no wories mate, they are harmless.
So out of paradise and into the city. The traveler just keeps on keeping on. Now I will close here with two quotes from two friends of mine who are chefs and are named Greg

"Travel well, tread softly and love without fear." Greg Holt
"Even if you win the race you are still a rat for having run" Greg Riley

Peace and Love to al who read these words.