Category Archives: Malaysia

Harriet invades the blog

Singapore CeilingDear Diary,

I invaded Alan’s blog today. He insists a blog is not a diary although he writes his activities and thoughts in it almost every day. He’ll admit to “journaling” but just barely. When did one of the favorite activities of 10-year old girls and women in support groups get co-opted by techno dudes…?

Enough blog bashing…

Singapore SnacksAfter a couple days of shopping and snacking in Singapore (because that’s pretty much what one does in Singapore), we finally arrived in Malaysian Borneo. Lest you imagine a Heart of Darkness-like experience, let me just say, Kuching, the capital of Sarawak state, is a clean, modern city with paved roads and new cars and high-rise hotels. (Hilton, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, etc.)

Singapore ScaryWe’re easing — very, slowly — into our typical travel mode. (i.e. I am not my usual, stingey self) by staying on the 12th floor of one of those high rise hotels for about $32/night. The Harbour View is Holiday Inn caliber. To balance out those outrageous expenses, we’re eating in little food stalls and restaurants, averaging about $2 a meal for the two of us. And we’re stuffed. And we continue to snack. (4 skewers of satay with fabulous peanut sauce for less than 10 cents a skewer, fried noodles with chicken and vegetables for about 65 cents, gigantic Indian buffet meals with drinks for $3 for the two of us…) We’re thinking about springing for one of the “expensive” restaurants tonight. Maybe we can rack up an $8 tab if Alan orders a few Diet Pepsis and we tip heavily.

We’re looking forward to seeing some more sights just outside of town, and then the big Sunday market (more snacks, more shopping) and then, at last, we take the plunge into the jungle. We’ve booked a couple days at Bako National Park and hope to get our first glance of orangutans and other critters. From there, it’s on to points east, probably a long-house or two, some caves, some wild looking peaks, perhaps a quick spin through Brunei (where we’ll give our regards to the Sultan and to Michael Jackson), and on to Mt. Kinabalu.

Alan just figured out how to hook up my camera so future posts should contain a few more photos.

Salamat jalan,
Harriet (and Alan)

We Are In Singapore

We’re here. Unfortunately, Cox cable (or at least the Webmail access to Cox) has been unreliable. We can occasionally see our email, but it’s been hit or miss.

We arrived safe and sound, and yesterday we were exploring the sights in Little India and Chinatown. Harriet is a shopping demon. We both have been grazing like cattle. The food is fabulous and cheap.

Tonight we are flying on to Kuching on the island of Borneo. we’ll be there for a few days and we’ll see if the internet is any friendlier from there.

Drat! we just tried to upload some pictures, and that didn’t work, either. Some days I hate computers.



Travel Web Sites

my-area.gifAs we are preparing for our trip, I decided to note some web sites with useful travel tools. That way if anyone (nieces & nephews) ends up traveling outside of the country for the first time, they (nieces & nephews) will have a few references to get started. Whomever they (nieces & nephews) might be.

A time zone converter can be found at:

The Time Zone Converter:
The World Clock:

Singapore and Malaysia are 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time.
For currency exchange, we use Oanda to create a cheat sheet that we carry with us:

Oanda Cheat Sheet:

The Singapore Dollar (S$) converts as

  • S$1.00=US$0.64
  • US$1.00=S$1.56

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) converts as

  • US$1.00=MYR3.63
  • MYR1.00=US$0.27

Finally, the power adapter site we use is:

Electricity Around The World:

Singapore and Malaysia are both 230V, 50 Hz and use the English power plug (rectangular blade)

Our next entry will be from the road!

Preparations for Malaysia

Malay FoodMmmm, food. Looking good, yet?

Two days before we depart, and our final preparations are in full gear. Harriet’s about finished with her work, and I’ve probably got another 6 to 8 hours that I’ll put in over the weekend.

We’ve got our final to-do lists and we’re working through them. I’m in the process of getting reservations for our first couple of nights in Singapore. All indications are that we wouldn’t have any trouble landing at midnight and still finding a room, but I’d like to have something arranged. Plus, I can see the places on line pretty easily right now. It’s harder when we’re traveling.

I’ll be sending out a test mailing to those people on our travel we address list, and I’m referencing the blog, so I’m hoping this little post will greet all those first time visitors to the site.

Hello! Don’t be frightened. We’ll try to make your visits pleasant ones. See, I’ve even started off with a little selection of Malaysian foods. Who knew there would be a Malaysian Food site?
Okay, I’m off to check a few more things off our list.

Clothes for Malaysia

Magellan’s is a fabulous travel supply store that has its headquarters here in Santa Barbara. We generally hit the place a few times before a trip, and the good news is that they have a big sale about this time of year.

This year, thanks to my weight loss, I need new travel clothes, and so this convergence of events led me to a buying spree. I now have two new pairs of nifty travel pants, and a new travel shirt. All are lightweight and quick drying: perfect for light packing and on-the-road, in-the-sink laundry. And they have LOTS of pockets. I won’t argue that travellers need lots of pockets, but it’s the way I like to travel.

Also this year, both Harriet and I were intrigued by the new disposable underwear. Yes, as odd as it sounds, these thin cotton briefs take up much less space than regular underwear, don’t require cleaning, and disappear completely by the end of the trip. More room for souvenirs despite the questionable eco-friendliness. The manufacturer claims that since they are 100% cotton, they are biodegradable. We figure they are worth giving a try, so we bought a couple of packages. I’ll let you know.

We also picked up a new water bottle carrying doo-dad. It has a rubber washer that fits over the spout of a water bottle, and a clip that can attach to a belt buckle or the strap of a bag. Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of water bottle carrying devices, and have yet to find the ‘perfect’ one. It’s amazing how useful such a thing would be since bottled water is something we seem to always want to have around (and no, I do not carry my big, diet soda mug around with me while travelling).

We also picked up a new collapsable umbrella. Unfortunately it looks like we will be getting a lot of rain during our trip. So, we’ll be packing ponchos and umbrellas.