Malaysia & Singapore, February/March 2016


The trip was suggested by Mary and organized by Jane and Mary using Trailfinders (more...) taken at a time of year when 34C is much warmer than 34F.
Instructions are here. For a complete slideshow cick here and for where the photos were taken click here.


Sunday, 21 February - To Kuala Lumpur
Monday, 22 February - Arriving in Kuala Lumpur
Tuesday, 23 February - A City Tour of Kuala Lumpur
Wednesday, 24 February - The Royal Selangor Pewter Factory
Thursday, 25 February - Journey to Malacca
Friday, 26 February - Journey to the Cameron Highlands
Saturday, 27 February - Tour of the Cameron Highlands
Sunday, 28 February - Journey to Georgetown
  Monday, 29 February - Journey to Batu Ferringhi
Tuesday, 1 March - A Temple-Free Day at Batu Ferringhi
Wednesday, 2 March - The National Park
Thursday, 3 March - Journey to Singapore
Friday, 4 March - A Day of Grace
Saturday, 5 March - Changi Museum
Sunday, 6 March - Mothering Sunday
Monday, 7 March - Arriving Home

Previous DayContentsNext daySunday, 21 February - To Kuala Lumpur

We leave home at 1pm and to Bill and Mary's too early so we walk to Waitrose and buy sandwiches to eat at Bill and Mary's. Parkers Cars arrive at 3:20pm ten minutes early. But where are Mr Panicker and his wife who wanted to leave at 3:30pm. With 5 minutes to spare they arrive. We are dropped at Terminal 5 at 4pm. The bag drop has just opened. We make our way through security. Graham's hand luggage is not allowed through without being opened. It appears that the 12 containers of Sharwoods Mild Curry powder look like liquid to the scanners. We find somewhere to sit and read for several hours. Graham announces to the team that, according to Bill Bryson, more people are in the London Underground at any one time that there are people in Oslo. At 6:15pm a coach takes us to a Boeing 787 parked on the tarmac. We take off. 

Previous DayContentsNext dayMonday, 22 February - Arriving in Kuala Lumpur

We land in Kuala Lumpur at 4pm where we are met and driven to the Hotel Majestic where we will stay till Thursday. We meet at 6:30pm to have a beer. Mary has had a swim just before a heavy downpour. On our way to the bar we stop to admire a room full of orchids. We decide to eat the buffet in the hotel. It is magnificent with lots of seafood. We retire after some of us have a whisky imported from the UK in plastic bottles with cling film in between the cap and the bottle. Thank you Emma for the advice. It worked.

Previous DayContentsNext dayTuesday, 23 February - A City Tour of Kuala Lumpur

If only Graham would realize that if he sets an alarm for 7:30am on his iPhone he must turn the volume up. We are awakened at 8:20am by Bill. We wash, dress and rush down to join them all at the same table as we ate at last night. At 9:00am Thurai turns up to take us on a city tour in his minivan. First stop is the National Mosque of Malaysia. We find the entrance, take off shoes, get enrobed. We walk up the stairs to the entrance to the prayer room but only Muslims may enter it. Our next stop is alongside a cricket pitch with Tudor-style buildings lining one side of it. Locally this is called Independent Square. We make a beeline for St Mary's Cathedral where anyone with or without a religion may enter. It is simply decorated. The organ was shipped to England to be restored. The Queen has visited it some years earlier. We stop where the two rivers of Kuala Lumpur meet. Next stop is the observation platform of KL tower which is 400m above ground level but in this case the top of Pineapple Hill is already 100m above sea level. Graham is uneasy about going up. The views are magnificent and the place is not crowded. The next stop is a walk in a park to get a good view of the Petronas Twin Towers with their skyway walk joining the two. We call in at the Royal Palace but can only peer through the gates. Thurai drops us at the entrance to the Bird Park, the largest enclosed aviary in the world. We have lunch in the Hornbill restaurant and then enter the park. We watch Brahminy Kites (erroneously called 'eagles') being fed meat from a hand. Other birds have just been fed fish. The two Janes take a taxi home while the others walk in the mid afternoon heat - about 35C. Hugh and Graham fail to find beer and return to the hotel empty-handed. We nearly all convene in the hotel lobby at 6:30pm. Bill is missing. He has gone on a beer-hunt. But he is partially successful. We gather in Jane and Hugh's room where we discover that Bill has bought four cans of Tiger beer and four cans of Tiger Radler. In one of her guide books Mary selects a place to eat. We bundle ourselves into a large taxi and are taken to Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant. It is a delightful Chinese restaurant located on the first floor. Most of us opt for Set Menu A which is delicious. We have shark fin soup, a whole fish, a boiled chicken, vegetables, rice and waxed meat followed by a sweet pastry. This is washed down with Tiger beer brewed by Heineken. We return to the hotel and retire.

Previous DayContentsNext dayWednesday, 24 February - The Royal Selangor Pewter Factory

The alarm is not silent so Graham can make a cup of tea today. We have breakfast at 9:00am and at 9:50am we get a phone call from Caryll telling us they will be late. Caryll and her sister Louise arrive at 10:20am and take us in their two vehicles to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. We are greeted by a tall gawky young man called Lee who turns on his megaphone to distort his voice. He explains it is company policy to use it. It doesn't take much to dissuade him. We are grateful as we can now all understand him, well almost. He explains that pewter is now an alloy made from tin, of which there is a lot in Malaysia, antimony and copper. We misunderstand the antimony he points out to us. It is animal money made from pewter. Lee shows us around the museum and then takes us into the factory area where we can try to hammer a design into a cylinder of pewter. We meet up with the sisters in the shopping area. Team photos of us are taken in front of the largest pewter tankard in the world. We are driven back to the outskirts of KL to the Megamall via a long tunnel which acts as a drain during heavy rains. Fortunately it is dry today. We have lunch in Madam Kwan's and sample Beef Rendang, a pulled beef mild curry, which we ate with coconut rice, some dark noodles and some light green crunchy vegetable stalks. Inevitably we washed it down with Tiger beer. The sisters had used valet parking but we needed to get stuff out of the cars as we were to sample the train system. Hugh and Graham get in a car to be parked with the valet. We zoom along the street to the underground car park. Our tickets are swapped for keys and we retrieve the goods from the car and leave Louise 's husband's evening meal in a cool bag. We hop into another and are taken back close to store but not close enough for the owner to see us. We join the others and get on the commuter train for one stop. We get on an LRT train that takes us for one stop. We walk to the central market. We say goodbye to the sisters and leave the others to shop. We walk back to the hotel and have a siesta. Mary has a swim. At 6:30pm we meet up to drink cans of Tiger beer. Hugh selects the venue for tonight's meal. It takes time to get a taxi for six. We get one but we have to accept a surcharge of 10RM. We are taken to the Coliseum Cafe where we all eat steaks and drink Tiger beer. They are excellent. We return in two taxis. Graham has a medicinal scotch with Bill while Jane packs for tomorrow's journey.

Previous DayContentsNext dayThursday, 25 February - Journey to Malacca

We have breakfast and check out. At 9:00am we are met by a tall swarthy svelte 43-year old unmarried ex-dancer Hindu in cycling gear topped with a lime green shirt. Mahindrin is to be our guide for the next couple of days. We are driven south for a couple of hours on a motorway lined with palm oil plantations once owned by Syme Darby (more...) but now by the government. We stop outside a church built in 1710 and walk inside it. The "happy room" (a euphemism for a toilet) is around the side of the church. We stop to walk around part of the largest Chinese cemetery in Malaysia. We stop next by the side of a river and the old Dutch part of Malacca. We go for a short walk along the side of the river which looks like a canal. Our next stop is to visit the Baba and Nyonya museum. Emily is our guide for this and shows us around a Chinese immigrant's large home (more...). The original owners' line of descent stretches for seven generations now. Emily has a good sense of humour. We leave the house and walk down the street to a restaurant where we have local Malay food. We sit at a round table whilst our guide sits at a smaller table with two other guides from the same company. They are escorting passengers who are from a German cruise ship docked off the city in the Malacca Straits. The food is good. We walk around the town and visit a three-religion temple and a mosque. We return to the van. Our next major stop is a mosque at the seaside. Here we get enrobed and deshod. We walk through the mosque and admire the sea views. Our next stop is a disused church atop a hill. It is next to a funfair blaring out western pop music. We descend the hill and enter a museum giving details about the events leading up to the 1957 declaration of independence from the British Empire (more...). Nearby is the Equatorial Hotel where our guided tour ends. We are tired. At 6:30pm we meet up across the corridor in room 1309 for pre-prandial Tigers. At nightfall we wander down the street looking for a restaurant. We march into the Spice Cottage, sit down at a big round table but discover they don't sell beer. We apologise and leave. We cross the street and find that the Restoran Nyonya Makko sells beer. We order our food with some help from the waiter. Various dishes of calamari, prawns and boiled fish arrive. It is delicious. In Mary's guide book she has spotted a dessert she would like to try. Two portions of Cendol are ordered. It is brown sugar on ice crystals on coconut milk with red beans and green stalks. It is not too sweet but very tasty. Mary is not sure about serving it to the upper echelons of Hampton. Most of us return to the hotel while the others prefer to stroll around the streets of Malacca. At 10:00pm we retire.

Previous DayContentsNext dayFriday, 26 February - Journey to the Cameron Highlands

We have a good breakfast and check out. Mahindrin, now in a blue top, picks us up. We drive north for several hours and stop at a service station to use the happy room and for a drink. Those who choose coffee find it is warm, white and sweet. Back in the minibus we are taken to a basket factory where we watch bamboo baskets being made . To buy they cost 5 ringgits and have taken 10 minutes to make. We are shown how the bamboo is split. We start to climb up into the Cameron Highlands. We stop at a pretty waterfall and some of us puchase short stubby bananas. Nearby we stop alongside two huts occupied by Orang Asli people (aborigines). We have a go at using a blowpipe. Various tropical fruit trees are pointed out to us. Our next stop is the Lakehouse Hotel, a mock Tudor boutique hotel. We have potato and corn soup, a club sandwich and locally grown strawberries and ice cream. After a quick opportunity to photo a tree plantation we stop in Tanah Rata to buy some beer. We are staying two nights at the Strawberry Park Resort. Mahindrin drives us to the block where our rooms are and helps us unload. He has a 4 hour drive back to KL, the first part being down a very windy road. After meeting up to drink some of the beer we dine in the Thai restaurant in the dismal basement of the reception block. We have a set Thai meal at 38 RM per head. Jane W has a large plain omelette to help settle her tummy. It costs 14 RM. We end the meal with sliced fresh fruit. There are many Muslims sitting at the tables by us. Men and women sit at separate tables. Muslims do not like pork or dogs. They can keep a guard dog but must not touch it if it is wet. If a Hindu marries a Muslim they must convert to Islam. If they get divorced the Hindu cannot revert to being a Hindu. We must thank Henry VIII for a lot.

Previous DayContentsNext daySaturday, 27 February - Tour of the Cameron Highlands

We have breakfast at 8:00am and are ready at 8:50am for a four-wheel drive to the top of the mountain. At 9:10am we climb into a vehicle and set out. The windscreen wipers don't work and it is raining. We change vehicles and driver. He is a 30 year-old local man called Satir. We are taken to a butterfly farm around which we walk. There are a lot of display cabinets housing insects and snakes. We are taken up the mountain stopping once to take photos of a tea plantation. At the top of the 6666 ft mountain are radio masts and a toilet. There is also a wooden tower you can climb but today it is raining and misty so the views are not splendid. We walk back down the road and in parking area we take a board walk into the mossy forest. Jane L walks down the road. After the walk we climb into the Land Rover and are driven down the road. Eventually we pick up Jane and continue on to a tea factory. We are shown the five processes used to make tea and proceed to the shop where we can buy some which we do. We have a cup of tea in the cafe and return to the van. Our next stop is a "self-plucking" strawberry farm. As it's Saturday the roads are very busy. We wander around the suspended rows of strawberry plants and wander into the shops without buying anything. Next we visit the Sam Poh Temple and are welcomed by a large Happy Buddha. We return to the hotel for our packed lunch served in the Brasserie. It is cheese sandwiches, Kentucky Fried Chicken and chips and an apple with tea or coffee. We adjourn to our rooms. After pre-dinner drinks we elect to eat in the Brasserie where they serve a mixture of local and international dishes. The atmosphere of the place is more akin to a canteen than a chic French-style cafe. We eat our noodles and curry along with six other people in this soulless place. After a nightcap of whisky we retire.

Previous DayContentsNext daySunday, 28 February - Journey to Georgetown

We are met by Mahindrin at 8:30am. He drove up from KL yesterday evening and stayed in the Bird's Nest hotel in Tanah Rata last night. He drives us down from the Highlands north west to Penang. We stop at Kuala Sangsar, the Royal city, to see the Ubadiah Mosque. It is very beautiful. We learn that if Muslim lovers stay in a hotel before they are married they will each be fined 1000 ringgits or a week in jail as decided by a Sharia court. If a couple fall in love then the female is allowed to send a photo of herself not wearing a headscarf to her boyfriend. We see the Sultan's palace from his heliport. Next stop is a charcoal factory where the owner explains the process of turning 50 tons of mangrove wood into 10 tons of charcoal for sale to the Japanese. Bill and Mary purcahse some charcoal vinegar. After this we stroll for just under half an hour along a boardwalk in a mangrove forest. It is very hot and humid. We are driven to a Chinese fishing port on the Perak River at Kuala Sepetang where we have lunch of fried rice, calamari, vegetables, prawns and boiled Taboo fish. All very tasty and washed down with Tiger beer and jasmine tea. At about 4pm we drive over the old bridge that joins the mainland to Penang island. It is 8.4 km long whereas the new bridge is 24 km long and the longest bridge in Asia. In Georgetown we are taken to the Penaga hotel and some opulent rooms. There is a jacuzzi in the bathroom. We have a siesta and after some Tiger beer we wander down the streets to the Red Garden Food Paradise. Around an enclosed courtyard filled with numbered tables and chairs are lots of food stalls displaying their wares. We select a table. The table minder supplies the beer. We select our food from a stall. It is brought to your table. You pay for the food and eat it. You can then repeat the operation. But if you want the local dessert, Cendol, you get that from the table minder. It is a very cheap way of eating but it is noisy. Graham's Laksa and Cendol cost 8.25 ringgits. We leave before it will get even noisier as a karaoke session is about to start. Graham joins Bill and Mary for a nightcap. Bill has found some tonic to go with the Whitelocks' gin but they are asleep.

Previous DayContentsNext dayMonday, 29 February - Journey to Batu Ferringhi

We have a Western breakfast without omelettes. Mahindrin picks us up at 8:30 am. We are driven up a hill overlooking Georgetown to visit the magnificent Kek Lok Si temple with its tall female Buddha standing inside 99ft high pillars. Our next stop is the clan house of Khoo Kong Si. First we visit the temple and then the museum underneath. We all enjoy it. We clamber into rickshaws and are taken to the Cornwallis Fort. After this we are taken to the water village of the Clan Jetties. These are a series of stalls lining a boardwalk which stretches out to sea. We have lunch at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel. It provides the most expensive Tiger beer at 18.5 ringgits a half pint. The meal comes as five metal dishes in a stack. It is not the best meal we have had. We go outside and watch a workman try to lop coconuts off a palm. Instead of their coming down gently they all clatter to the ground. We are taken to the Blue Mansion which was once owned by a very wealthy Chinese business man, Cheong Fatt Tze. 34 families lived all together in it at one time. There is a large party in the tour and the guide is very vociferous. We visit only a couple rooms so the visit is a bit disappointing. We next visit two Buddhist temples, one with a tall standing Buddha, the other with a 33m long reclining Buddha. After this we are taken on the 40 minute journey to the Rasa Sayang Shangri La hotel in Batu Ferringhi. We say goodbye to Mahindrin. Most of the group go for a swim. Guess who doesn't? We convene at 6:30pm for G & Ts since Hugh has brought his bottle of gin all the way from Heathrow but hadn't been able to find any tonics. After nearly half a bottle we decide it's time to eat. The complimentary golf buggy takes us to the entrance of the sister hotel, the Golden Sands. We walk through the night market stalls to the Long Beach food court, similar to last night but less noisy and more expensive. We choose our food and eat it. Half of us take a buggy home while the others walk. Whisky as usual and then bed.

Previous DayContentsNext dayTuesday, 1 March - A Temple-Free Day at Batu Ferringhi

We have a lie-in. Breakfast is taken in the Spice Market Cafe at 9:00am. Today will be a temple-free day. Hugh and Jane have been for a swim. At 10:00am we assemble under some palm trees in the hotel's garden facing the Andaman Sea. Leaving Mrs Lawrence alone the rest of us march westward along the beach. Graham gets into conversation with a Quebecois. Hugh joins them and is congratulated on recognizing the accent. The family have rented an apartment for a month. We return to base and have a swim. For lunch we have a triple decker sandwich and a pina colada. We retire for a siesta. At 4:30pm Jane L wanders off for a massage. Graham and Mary take on the Whitelocks at the par 3 golf course ( 25 ringgits per person). We think the Whitelocks won on match play but lost on stroke play. Jane L returns to report a successful massage from a lady from Borneo. She has also had her ears candled and is much less deaf. During this time Bill achieved a technological breakthrough. He talked his phone into downloading Shazam onto his phone. Over drinks we learn of the Thick Bill(ed) Pigeon. It is difficult to see but easier to hear. We eat at the Long Beach again and take a buggy from the Golden Sands Hotel to ours. We finish the whisky. Shurely shome mishtake here.

Previous DayContentsNext dayWednesday, 2 March - The National Park

Breakfast at 9:00am. Bill and Mary have already set out for the National Park. Graham decides to join Hugh and Jane on a trip to the National Park.  Mrs Lawrence will have a massage. The three of us take the buggy to the entrance of the Golden Sands Hotel, cross the road and catch the 101 bus to the park. It costs 1.40 ringgits for the twenty minute ride. When we get there Bill and Mary are waiting for us. Mary has a plan which we follow. We pay 80 ringgits for a boat to take us to the far side of the Park. We need to register with one passport to enter the Park. To get to the boat we walk along a rickety wooden jetty. Down some steps we climb and on to the boat. The sea is very brown and dirty and a little choppy to start with. The boatman stops to point out rocks in the form of a crocodile, turtle and a rabbit. Above the forest fish eagles soar. Bill is happy. We are dropped off at a beach and cross it to visit a turtle nursery. Some baby turtles are just a week old. We walk along the beach and climb over a bridge to start the walk back to the entrance of the park. The walk is under the cover of trees but it is hot and humid. At some point Hugh announces that he has lost his TK-Maxx sunglasses. He had them hanging from his shirt trying to look cool. Will he ever learn? When we get back to the beach we spot a monitor lizard carrying a fish in its mouth. At the entrance we search for beer. The first cafe is filled with Muslims. The second cafe is run by a Hindu. Third time we are lucky and consume Tiger in cans and have a light lunch. We get on the 102 which is free but 500m down the road it drops us off and we transfer on to a 101 where we pay 1.40 ringgits to get back to the Golden Sands Hotel. A buggy takes us back to our hotel. Jane L has had a massage. We have pre-dinner drinks at the Whitelocks and then take the buggy to the Goldens Sands Hotel. After a short walk through the night stalls we arrive for the last time at the Long Beach food court. It seems Europeans spend up to six months in Batu Ferringhi and eat here as it so cheap. Graham has a large Fried Koay Teow costing 8 ringgits followed by a pancake with ice cream and fried banana costing 10 ringgits. Jane L has a chicken leg, fried octopus and fried oysters followed by a mango pancake and ice cream. The cost is not disclosed. We return to the hotel using the buggy service. No whisky tonight. We set the alarm for 4am.

Previous DayContentsNext dayThursday, 3 March - Journey to Singapore

Up at 4am, pick up boxes of breakfast and whisked down to Georgetown by Eric at 5am. The ferry doesn't start till 6:30am so we cross by the old bridge and are taken to the railway station at Butterworth. It is now 5:40am. The train leaves at 7am. Jane and Graham eat their breakfasts but the others want to have something to look forward to. We hope they will not be too disappointed. The train is prompt and very clean. We have allocated seats. Some sleep on the train and some read books. The train announces that the next stop will be KL Sentral. It is 11am. We alight with our luggage and discover we have not got off at KL Sentral. We have got off at the old station. We hunt around for Mahindrin's phone number. Hugh rings him and he is waiting by the KFC at KL Sentral but will pick us outside the old station. What a star! We are driven for an hour and have an opportunity to use the happy rooms and have a cup of coffee. Bill and Mary opt to buy fresh coconut milk shakes. The rest of us have coffees at the Dunkin Donuts over the bridge on the other side of the motorway. We drive to Johor Bahru (JB) and Mahindrin finds us a food court to eat in. We now have just 42 ringgits between the six of us. Mary finds a super Laksa stall so four of us order it. The ladies and Bill want the happy room so one of the men on the stall takes off to find happiness. Meanwhile Graham finds Hugh and Jane and hands over the kitty. We sit at a table in the open some consuming their fish and vegetables soup whilst the others devour their ham and cheese sandwiches. At 4:30pm we are picked up and taken to the rendezvous where we transfer to another driver who has a permit to cross regularly from Malaysia into Singapore. We say goodbye to Harry KL (Mahindrin's Facebook name) who calls Jane L "my big mamma". A few tears appear. We go to the Malaysian border and have our passports checked. We get back into the mini-bus and are driven across the river on a causeway to the Singapore border. Here we have our passports and luggage scanned. We clamber back into the van among the many blue coaches taking the night shift of Malaysian workers into Singapore. Our driver tells us that 500,000 people commute between JB and Singapore each day. We are also told that 50,000 motorbikes make a daily crossing. We witness the afternoon returnees. It looks horrendous and may take up to three hours to return home. Our driver drops us at the Park Regis Hotel. We check in (reception is on the 3rd floor) and our bags are delivered to our rooms. However the Whitelocks' room is occupied so they are now on a floor below us on the 5th floor. We convene on the ground floor at 6:45pm and find an ATM to get some Singapore dollars. We wander to Clarkes Quay and find the cheapest beer is S$10 a pint in the happy hour. We march off to find a restaurant Mary has found in the guide book. We ask some gentlemen where 248 South Bridge Road is and they use Mr Google's services to locate it for us. Unfortunately when we eventually get to it it is closed. Plan B is put into action. We eat Chinese food in a food street. We walk back to our hotel and are in our rooms by 10pm, just 18 hours after we got up.

Previous DayContentsNext dayFriday, 4 March - A Day of Grace

We wake at 7am and get a phone call from Grace saying she will be late. Grace used to work for Jane L at IBM many years ago in the UK. At 8:45 am Graces picks us up in her own car. The last time we came to Singapore she borrowed her father's car. We are driven towards the Botanical Gardens and stop at Mr Prata's where we have Indian pancakes and curry sauce. Graham has hot ginger tea as does Grace. Jane has sugar-free jasmine tea. We arrive at the Botanical Gardens where the entrance is free. We make our way to the Orchid Gardens. Entry costs 1 dollar for us senior citizens and S$5 for the adult. The orchids are wonderful. They have named one after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who came here in 2012. Grace drops us off at the Shangri-La hotel where we have expensive beer and bits while Grace tends to her mother. At 2:30pm Grace drives to a quiet roadside cafe where we have chicken and noodles. Grace drives us around the city, pointing out notable buildings including the Skypark. We stop at a cafe where Jane has an iced coffee and Graham and Grace have a coffee - black coffee and a spoonful of condensed milk. We are driven to Grace's son Clement's parking spot at the base of his apartment so that we can go to a nearby supermarket to buy some beer as we are to host the aperitifs tonight. Grace drives us back to the hotel. We thank her for driving us everywhere. Beer is served at 6:30pm in a somewhat smaller room than we have been used to. We walk to the food street and select a six seater table. The service last night was much better. We return to the hotel at 9:45pm.

Previous DayContentsNext daySaturday, 5 March - Changi Museum

We are all due to meet in reception at 8:30am but Mrs Lawrence has not had a good night and because of her back/bottom pain does not want to go out. Graham joins the others and we walk to the MRT ticket office at the base of Central Mall to discover the cheapest way to get to Changi Museum is by the Number 2 bus. We eat in a small snack bar. Graham has noodles with a fish cake, a spring roll and some cabbage. He drinks ginger tea. We get on the bus and pay $2.60 to go to Changi Village. We sit in the front seats on the top deck. When we get there we realize that we have passed the museum so we get on another bus, pay $1:20 and more attention. We get off at the museum and pay $12 per person to join a tour with a guide. The others in the group are students who live in Singapore but were born in Denmark. They all speak English. The museum keeps records of all inmates. Hugh sees the record for Harry Bowery, his maternal grandfather. After the tour we wander around the small museum again. We have a beer and get a bus back to near our hotel. Graham buys a sandwich and a coffee and returns to his room to find a chirpier Jane. It is now 3pm. The BBC shows a piece about the National Survey reaching 70 years. We watch Pete Lucas cut the birthday cake. At 5pm we gather to finish off the beer. At 5:45pm Grace and Clement pick up the Lawrences and take them to Jumbo Seafood at the East Coast Seafood Centre. The others have taken a taxi and are waiting for us. We are lucky. A table is free. We are ushered to a table for 8. We estimate the ground floor can hold 500 people. Shortly after we arrive it reaches its capacity. We have many dishes including the house speciallty, Chilli Crab. We settle up and Grace lets us use her 10% loyalty card. Outside we have a team photo. Grace drives us back to our hotel and we say goodbye to them. It's now 9:15pm and Clement would like to get back to his wife and their steamboat party.

Previous DayContentsNext daySunday, 6 March - Mothering Sunday

The two of us have breakfast in the hotel - nothing remarkable. We take the Sunday Times (Singapore version) to our room and read it and books as Jane's back has been giving her gyp so we declare a day of rest. It is Mothering Sunday after all. Just before noon we vacate our room and camp in the lobby. We entrust our suitcases with the concierge and continue to read. At about 1pm Hugh and Jane join us. We all wander off to the basement of Central Mall and have lunch in the food court. For us it's noodle soup, an iced coffee for Jane and a Singapore coffee for Graham. We return to the hotel lobby. Hugh and Jane go for a swim. Bill and Mary turn up and leave to do some last minute shopping. When they return at 6:20pm we order a six-seater taxi. In less than two minutes a taxi arrives and whisks us along the East Coast Parkway. It takes twenty minutes to arrive at Terminal 1 departures. Most of us are ready to have our baggage checked but one of us is not. They perform a wonderful piece of cabaret for us. We have our passports checked but there are no security checks for our hand luggage. We find a set of six chairs and set up base. At 10:15pm the gates at D45 open. We have our hand luggage checked. Our seats are on the upper deck of an A380. The plane takes off on time captained by Claire Brunton. 

Previous DayContentsNext dayMonday, 7 March - Arriving Home

We land at 5am. Parker Cars are waiting to take us back to Bill and Mary's. We have a cup of tea and copy Bill's photos. We leave at 9am and arrive home at 10:30am. One thing about Malaysia and Singapore that stands out compared with the UK is that they are clean, litter-free countries. What happened to Mrs Thatcher's campaign, led by Richard Branson, to clean up the UK? Well apparently it has been re-invented as the "Clean for the Queen" campaign (more...).
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