Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Travelling With Children

My daughter Aimee and I took an 8-hour ride with Pauli's boyfriend Robert from Ipoh to Singapore. Along for the ride until Kuala Lumpur was his beautiful Indian manager Davie. Robert took us everywhere in Singapore, and we wound up staying at Clemenceau Rd in an apartment building which (on the third floor at least) was converted to a YMCA type setup. It was probably the cheapest room available in downtown Singapore for $10/night. The only problem was that there were four bunks to a room and you had to share, whether man, woman or beast. And pretty soon there would be too many beasts.

I gathered that Robert had tons of dough to throw around because he paid for everything. He was just a generous guy. We went to the Crocodile Farm,

the Bird Sanctuary, and the Singapore Zoo

While we were in our room on Clemenceau an American fellow from California showed up, Cameron. He was going to share our room. We were already sharing our room with Bill, a great guy from England that Aimee quickly adored.

It was strange sharing a room with men but that's just the way it went, there was a scarcity of space. Cameron was quite the character and evidently a liberal architect because he didn't realize that he had a stoogie in his bag at the airport. I couldn't believe it, with the drug laws being so harsh and all you'd have thought he'd have checked his bags before leaving home. But no. He was ecstatic about his find. 'What a piece of luck' and smoked it out the window. He was the most relaxed person, I guess he's never been to jail or been caned twenty times.

It was getting close to midnight on New Year's so Cameron and Aimee and I decided to go downtown together and check out the sights. The streets were jammed with people, but what was even more interesting is that just after twelve the crowds started to disperse immediately and within half an hour the streets were practically deserted and the powerful street sweepers were out in full force. I've never seen a crowd disappear so quickly.

Singapore is strange. When I was there couldn't chew gum; if you didn't flush a toilet in the public toilets you could be fined $200; spitting was totally verboten. Some of the laws were pretty harsh for minor infractions. Singapore was remarkably box-like too. Because it's a small city-state everybody is thrust together in highrises, there's just no room for sprawl of any kind. However, the park in the center of the city was beautiful.

Being Chinese, they also don't waste any parts when it comes to meat. I was amazed at how resourceful the Singaporeans were with their food menus.

That night back at the 'hotel' I had to kick Cameron out of the room because his snoring could keep a person with narcolepsy awake. The guy was a freight train coming through the walls. Even after we kicked him out of the room and shut the door the walls were still vibrating. We wound up flying to Jakarta with Cameron, and that's a whole other story. I'm sure that he's still single.