Saturday, February 13, 2010

February 14, 2010 - We arrive in Singapore and bask in the glory that is drinking tap water!

We last posted in the Cameron Highlands and since then we have continued our bike down the Malaysian peninsula arriving yesterday into Singapore. The ride down the west coast of the country was really enjoyable and below are some pictures from the ride.

Leaving the highlands we knew we had to descend 2000m, so it was a good time to replace our brake pads which were on their last millimeter of wear.

The two hour descent was mostly through a rain forest. We quickly found out that it wasn't called a rain forest for nothing.

Palm plantations constantly lined both sides of the highway and we would regularly pass palm oil refineries (I have no idea if that is actually what they are called) which we could smell long before we could see. Mmmmmm, oil!

After a couple days biking we arrived into Klang, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur and took the next day to explore the capital. This picture is of me upon arriving at our hotel. The heat was really zapping my energy, so I was more than happy to take the next day off.

A fun group of buildings I saw that grabbed my eye: buildings of all color living in harmony.

An obligatory photo of the Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur, now the world's fourth tallest buildings. They were OK but seemed really bitter about not being the tallest any longer. In an attempt to still sound important they kept on saying they were still the world's tallest "twin towers", but that just made them sound desperate.

Jen eating what became our standard fare: a self serve plate of all you can eat Indian food with fresh squeezed orange juice (about $2.50 a meal). Lucky thing we bike a lot because it is anything but low calorie.

A local mosque in Klang. I think mosques are by far my favorite type of buildings on the trip. They just look so cool. I can't believe the Swiss banned minirets ( Might as well just ban awesomeness.

The next two photos take some explaining. I saw and heard this apartment above me while Jen was checking us into our hotel with dozens of birds flying into and out of it and had no idea why anyone would let a nice building go to hell like that. We later found out that it is what is called a "Bird Hotel" for Swiflets. This type of birds make their nests out of their own saliva which Chinese people eat for their supposed health benefits and are sold fo $2,000-$10,000 a kilogram ('s_nest_soup). So it turns out that if birds come a knocking, you evict your tenants and even go so far as making the building as "cave like as possible" with high tech humidity control.

Once we knew what sounds the birds make (they use echo location) we started finding these bird hotels everywhere. This one was a luxury type place, custom made and guarded with high fences and video surveillance. Apparently they cost a huge amount and sometimes the birds just don't come, but this one was full!!

Not all rides are beautiful! But ugly landscapes need love too right?

We stopped for lunch one day next to a car wash, so dropped off our bikes to be washed while we ate. They cleaned them by hand for 40 minutes and charged us 60 cents a bike. Today in Singapore I passed a sign advertising a car wash for a special price of $45 so I am glad we did it before crossing over!! The crew at the wash wanted to take our photo before we left, so we took the opportunity to grab one as well. They were really nice and we spent a while talking to them.

Our last real destination in Malaysia was Malacca and it was a really fun town. It had more museums than any city I have seen of that size, an awesome historical district, and as seen in the photo below Chinatown was all decorated for the holidays.

The tourist mode of transportation of choice in Malacca was the tri-shaw, and to attract tourists the drivers pimped their rides with flowers, stereos, fans, etc. This was one of the more elaborate that we saw.

Upon arriving in Singapore we moved into Barry and Laura's place (more on them later as they are out of town right now, stay tuned) and met up with Justin and Chelsea. It seems kind of crazy, but the four of us have been friends since we were about 6 years old!!

This photo is of Chelsea, Justin and Jen in the subway on the way to the New Years fireworks.

The crew at the Lunar New Years show. The fireworks were great, the crowds were orderly, there were more porta-potties than people, loads of free seating, and we didn't wait in a single line for food, the subway or the sidewalk. Only in Singapore. I don't exactly miss the chaos of the rest of Asia, but it does feel odd.

Well that's all I have for photos right now. Jen and I are hanging out in Singapore for the next week or so while we explore the city and take care of a few tasks: job applications, school prep stuff, bike packing, and planning out the next leg of the trip, etc.

Next week we fly to Bali for another long time friend's wedding (no biking there), and then we grab a flight to L.A. to begin the North American edition of our honeymoon ride!

Enjoy the Olympics. Go Canada!

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