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Shavey’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 12 Jan 2008

Location: Kuching (Borneo), Malaysia

MapI currently feel a little bit guilty over my ignorance to where I am currently residing. Although part of Malaysia; a seperate stamp in my passport actually suggests Borneo/Sarawak! This may well be a similar situation to the UK/Great Britain sovereignty over Scotland, Wales and Norn Iron! Although I am currently leaning towards this conclusion, if somebody more knowledgeable (or someone with more patience to traipse through Wikipedia) than myself could please inform me that would be brilliant! This in fact is actually quite ignorant but at the moment the Lonely Planet is getting hammered trying to find somewhere cheap to eat that offers a more substantial menu other curry, curry or................................ curry! Again ignorance on my part but I really am craving a roast dinner or a simple cheese and pickle sarnie on white at the moment!

So after stupidly deleting my last quite frank entry on Taman Negarra and Cameron Highlands I will briefly summarise:

Taman Negarra - Nice to experience the jungle but sadly ruined by tourism and package tours! Where's the wildlife - after all isn't this supposed to be the jungle!?!

Cameron Highlands - Excellent trekking - stunning views from the mountains overlooking over the valleys and tea plantations that dominate the hills here!!

After the visiting the above we stopped back off in Kuala Lumpur (think my nostrils were spoilt for clean air in the Cameron Highlands - as stepping off the bus in Chinatown had me gagging at the smell of, well inner city smog and grot!) for a night before taking the morning bus to Singapore! After hearing a few stories about Singapore being the cleanest city in the world I was expecting to arrive in a city sparkling with chintz and gleaming like a Mr Sheen advert! Now most of you will now be expecting me to say this was not the case, well frankly it wasn't, I had just let my imagination run wild on a tedious bus journey but nonetheless it was clean!! Now compared to other cities this is by far the cleanest I had been too! Signs clearly stating huge fines dished out for littering, chewing chuddy and feeding pigeons (hallelujah!) could be seen frequently, thus indicating how the city obviously wanted to keep it's clean image a reality. The city is itself (from what I saw) excellent. Modern, clean, friendly, busy yet charming. Not as busy and built up as I thought it would be but I think in time this will change. Lots of development and construction is taking place and it is has it's own little areas of cultural diversity with it's own identities (we stayed in the busy and vibrant Little India (Chinatown already existing and other new modern apartments cropping up) - with Banghra blaring from shops and restaurants and stalls selling fruit and veg and flowers (and I'm not talking the size of Mark Fowlers poxy Eastenders stall outside the Queen Vic either.) Transport was easy to use and the people were so freindly to approach and ask for directions and they were more than happy to help. This was exemplified by the fact that a punk goth (not as depressed here as they are back home obviously) approaching an overwhelmed blind guy in the busy Orchard Road Metro Station (street with more shopping centres and designer shops than you could shake a stick at,) being bumped around by over zealous Prada & Chanel bag wielding Fashionistas and guiding him to the exact shop he wanted to go to, taking him through the hustle and bustle, chatting away with him!

The city has a very western feel to it but it is expensive! The only way not to spend too much money is to go to the cinema it seems, as we found out as we went twice in two days (mainly to avoid the torrential daily 2 hour tropical downpour and also to kill some time) all for 2 squid a time!

This morning we took an early flight from Johor Bahru in Malaysia over to Kuching (Malaysia/Borneo.) We walked round town earlier and we've been overwhelemed by the friendliness of everyone. Everywhere we have walked everybody has been smiling at us saying "Hi, how are you?" Whether they don't see many white people here, the fact they want to try and practice their English or they are just genuinely friedly remainds a mystery but it's so nice to walk about and not be scared to look at somebody without the customary English greeting of "What are you looking at!" Seems a very laid back place right on the River Sarawak (see not so ignorant after all!) Hopefully will go out tonight and sample the nightlife - hopefully it will be equally as chilled out!

Right am off on my elusive search of something Western to eat tonight! Doner Roll anyone?! (sh*t ignorance alert!! hahaha!!)

Tara xxx