A Travellerspoint blog

TP Calendar!

The Travellerspoint calendar arrived today! with hand-written envelope which I guessed was Peter's. Sam and Peter, thanks to you too. :-)
My TP friends, how are you guys? I haven't been on TP for a while...
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Sent from my mobile phone.
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Posted by zags 07:05 Comments (1)

Last days in Singapore

sunny

I didn't explore much in this visit. After the class I went mainly for dinner.

Friday, we just walked around the area, to Raffles Hotel. One place of interest in Singapore. A very expensive hotel with British colonial architecture.

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The hotel...

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...and the doorman

But on weekends I went to places like the Bird Park, and last weekend the zoo. It's an interesting place. They have polar bears and also penguins. I saw kangaroos and lemurs.

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I touched and stroke a lemur, it was cute, and its fur was soft.

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He's so beautiful I wanted to touch him...

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Poor thing...

We spent the day there walking. Had lunch there and continued the walk because there were still animals we hadn't seen.

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I was surprised to see penguins in Singapore - first at Jurong Bird Park, and then at the zoo. I thought only the Japanese who brought and keep penguins in Osaka Aquarium are the crazy ones...

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I wanted to go to WOMAD the evening, but we left the zoo tired and still had to move our bags to another hotel (yes, it was again on personal account). I might be crazy to be thinking of dragging our stuff and going by MRT. So maybe it was a good thing that the concierge who helped us with the bags just carried them outside to a taxi. He expected a tip, which I found unusual in Singapore.

So we checked in at Robertson Quay Hotel, a budget hotel just beside the Singapore River, not far from Clarke Quay. It was our second time staying there. The room is small and the shower room is too small but since the hotel rate is relatively cheap, that's what we got. (Sadly, if we convert the rate to our currency we could afford a 4- or 5-star hotel in Bandung.)

We ended up not going to WOMAD. Since the ticket was not cheap for us, it was not worth going when we had only a little energy left. I'm not likely to go to night events in Jakarta. Traffic and safety/security issues if going home very late at night, especially by public transportation. Too bad, because I like arts events. &*)#&*!&$ In Singapore I feel free to go almost anywhere anytime with convenient public transport and safety/security in most places. Now back to real life with many limitations.

We went back to Jakarta Sunday afternoon. And today I've been in a terrible traffic jam again, as if this city was saying "Welcome back!" to me. I don't smile nor swear - there's no use.

Posted by zags 21:24 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

An interesting first night, and days going by...

Our airplane arrived at Changi Airport at about 1am - so it was already Saturday, August 19. And as we had already booked in advance, which was really difficult to get a budget hotel for the 2 nights, we took a ride to the budget hotel in Geylang area. I know, it's a red light district. I wasn't so worried since I don't feel unsafe. I was excited when were entering the street: first I saw a lady-boy, then a few women, all of them with distracting makeup and clothes that obviously showed everybody who or what they were. I felt like taking my camera right then to take some shots of them, but I was tired and I wasn't sure if it was OK for them. So when the car had stopped we just got our bags, paid for the ride, and went to the hotel's reception counter.

It was Hotel 81 Geylang. We saw the no-smoking notification there saying that smoking was prohibited in the hotel premises. When we entered our room, it smelled smoke! I was too sleepy to complain and move to another room.

The weekend began. Went to Little India, ate at Tekka Center - we only had very little Singapore currency, and was surprised that we spent less than S$10 total for our meal for two. Out of curiosity I converted it with our currency and unfortunately it's still considered expensive IF we compare eating at the same kind of place/traditional market bldg in our city. We went to Mustafa Center to get something for my mom.

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We visited Jurong Birdpark and watched the falcon show (wow, those birds were so great). We also saw flamingos, pelicans,... We were so tired then, and we had an appointment for the dinner with D's boss (oh). So I didn't know until later that we missed the nocturnal birds area where they make the day dark as night so the birds are awake and we can see them flying, hunting for food, and hear them making sounds.

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Photo taken with mobile phone camera.

It was a relief that after 2 nights in the small hotel room in a red light district, and dragging our luggage to the MRT station, down and up the stairs, we finally arrived at a much better hotel. Spacious room with soft fragrance we smelled as we entered the room. Of course this is because starting Sunday I'm on company account so I'm staying at this hotel. What a relief. Our room window faces Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, and we can also see the Merlion statue further away. It's especially nice at night. We always leave the curtains open. It's very beautiful when the curtains are open and we turn off all lights in the room.

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View from my room window

Swissotel the Stamford. Direct access to Raffles City mall, and just above the City Hall MRT station - an interchange station so it's even a double convenience. The downside is, we have to pay extra S$20 per person per day to use the gym and spa. Silly. So we didn't use the gym/spa.

Monday
Had dinner at Bugis Junction, then saw a movie, The Breakup, starting 9.20pm. Back at the hotel around 11.30pm, met up with my cousin from KL who was here just to pick up his sister in law at the airport then would ride back to KL.

Tuesday
Dinner with D's ex-colleagues. They're now working in Singapore. There were 8 of us plus a 3-year-old boy. Had fun chit-chatting.

Wednesday (today)
Dinner with James & Elaine at Newton Circus/Food Centre. It's a place with many food counters with many seafood and some Malay, Indian, etc. It's an open place with many tables outside (not under the roof). Nice place, but so many people. Always difficult to find a place to sit at meal times in Singapore. Back from there we (me & D) just stopped by at Ben&Jerry's to enjoy a little ice cream while watching the water fountain...

Posted by zags 07:39 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

Lion City, I'm coming again...

sunny

Can't believe I'm going there again in only 3 months! My last visit was May. It's an assignment from the company. After leaving the office for a week working as a committee member for the international geosciences conference, I'm not going back yet to the office next weekdays. I don't think anyone is missing me, unless there's a problem that needs my help, ha! I'm leaving tonight, so hang on guys, I won't be back until the end of this month. (No one from the office is supposed to read this blog though.)

Posted by zags 21:03 Archived in Singapore Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Safari Park

Weekend at Taman Safari Indonesia, Bogor.

25 °C

After the typical busy Jakarta weekends, we finally spent a(nother busy) weekend in a nice place close to the nature, Taman Safari Indonesia. It's a large park located on the slope of Mount Gede in Bogor, West Java. It has a zoo, a baby zoo, recreation parks, hiking trails (Safari Trek), a camping ground, an outbound area, bungalows, caravans, lodges, hot-water swimming pool, jacuzzi, etc.

It was my sister's idea to spend a weekend there to take her mom-in-law who came from Japan. Unexpectedly, it became a big family weekend as we found out that my aunt was also taking my cousin and her kids who came from UK for a holiday here. They also invited my cousin's parents-in-law and sister-in-law and her kids. There are also my other cousin with her family (hubby & kids) and her sister-in-law with her hubby, another cousin with her kid and parents-in-law. So there were 3 bungalows with many families altogether (count for yourself). Maybe it's hard for you to imagine, but this is not so unusual for Indonesian families. By the way, each bungalow has 3 bedrooms. Only our bungalow has a kitchen, so in the evening we gathered there - had dinner and chats.

Saturday late morning we left Jakarta - 7 adults + one baby in one car: Didi, my parents, my sisters, my sister's baby, and my sister's mom-in-law. We went up to Puncak - the summit - and had lunch at the well-known restaurant there called Rindu Alam. The service was bad - the waiters didn't welcome you nor came to take your orders. It was difficult to get them and our orders came after a long wait and we were very hungry. After lunch we stopped for a while at a mosque with a nice view down to the tea plantation.

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There were many street vendors selling food, drinks and accessories at the parking lot. After then we went back down to Taman Safari, to our bungalow. The others were at the recreation park and went back to their bungalows late afternoon.

After dinner at our bungalow, some of us got out for the Night Safari. I didn't go because I didn't feel like it, but then I'd been there before. You must try if you haven't been there. After you finished the Night Safari you can have fun at the recreation park. Jet coaster and the like. You want to know how scary Indonesian ghosts are? Try the haunted cave!

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As planned, the next morning we went for the Safari Trek. The "Kancil Trail" is 3 kms and the "Macan Tutul (Cheetah) Trail" is another 3.5 kms. We went through a forest, met an elephant on our way, crossed a creek through a hanging bridge and so on. The end of Kancil Trail is the camping ground and the outbound area. You can play all the games there for only 25,000 rupiahs (about only US$0.25). I saw adults acting crazy there, playing games and water slide - it's such a healthy way to release stress.

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In the afternoon we went to see a new performance called "Wild Wild West". It's like a play performance about American Indians and cowboys. I don't know why it should be about Wild Wild West, but...nice effects. Maybe I'll put the photos later.

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For you who like shopping, there are many nice and cute merchandise in the shops at Taman Safari. I bought a baby blanket with giraffe-skin-like prints and a cute tiny T-shirt for my nephew. There are also dolls/stuffed animals, mugs, CDs, umbrellas, photo frames, and other animal-related stuff.

On our way back to Jakarta, we stopped to have a late lunch at a restaurant called Sinar Alam. The food was good! I am a person who don't really like eating, but I was so amazed by its Ayam Penyet and sambal.

A tiring but fun weekend.

Posted by zags 06:16 Archived in Indonesia Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

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