Friday, June 28, 2013

Kuala Lumpur ~ Malaysia

Arrived last evening by train from Singapore.  Did some running around at the border...suitcases & all....we stepped off the bus and walked through customs & border control and then found out the train was on the other side and we should not off passed through passport control...well...there was no signs direct us to the trains... we just followed the crowd (who were all continuing on which we thought was the train...but it was the bus over the border into Malaysia.  Anyway...we did get back again...they voided out the visa and we waited on the Singapore side at the train waiting room...and then when it was time to leave...well we had to go through the process again.  Interesting experience to say the least! We did get our excercise though (with our stuff!)

Ellen went over to the market place across the street and bought some banana's & raisen buns to hold us over - and Boy - did they ever!

The train ride


was about 7 hours - and we saw a lot of the countryside in Malaysia.  My oh my such density of trees and ferns and plant life. Miles & miles of palm trees and Nick asked about it...they use it for oil...and saw much very different from Singapore where everything is very very tidy...even in the apartment district areas...everything was clean and well maintained.  Nick says this is more what Asia is like Ellen...better get use to it.  Well it is hard to people can live in such sad conditions.  Seeing it from the train...while passing through villages & towns.  Garbage just stacked and burned in yards. 

We American's are spoiled - and European's too ~ We don't even realize how good we have it until we travel outside our country. Oh we must be more thankful for our lives...and daily needs! VERY GRATEFUL indeed!

Well we had a unique experience upon late arrival  - in Kuala Lumpur...we did not have a place to stay...and had received some suggestions on the train & train station...but ended up in a hotel that we wished we hadn't arrived say the least! We were dead tired...and all we could do was crash...which we did!   Trying to see it in a positive light, this will surely happen at times...but I  pulled out the  "enclosed" mummy sheet so' fast out of that would of been proud of me...ha! 
A sign on the door told us enough! :(

When we woke up from a much needed rest - well Nick went on the hunt and did find something more suitable. Which we are staying at - and had a really nice continental breakfast which revived us.  Took a little nap this afternoon and went out into the town. 

So many people from so many places: Germany, Sweden, Finland, Holland, a man from Alabama with his son traveling for 2 months - son granduated from high school.  Many stories - fun to hear!

Well dear ones...keeping you posted the best we can~

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last Day in Singapore~

Today we decided to go to the Changi POW Museum
Changi Prison Museum Singapore 
Changi Prison  where Nick's father had been imprisoned and died.

  As a Dutch military Sargent serving in the Dutch military in Indonesia (under the Dutch colony flag) and with World War II breaking out was taken captive and sent to Burma (now called Mayamar) Burma Railway Dutch & British POW - to work in the jungles to build the train tracks through the jungle!  A horrific job as a prisoner of war, (my father and grandfather had also captured and sent there- my father made it through but my grandfather died as well!) 

It was also the plan today to get two one-way tickets to Malaysia at the Singapore border.  We spent most of the time in buses and underground MRT trains! We will take the bus to the border by way of Victoria Bus Terminal and depart on train to Malaysia - a 6-7 hr ride..departing at 2:00 pm.  We had planned to take a rest somewhere on the coast but it turns out the train to Kuala Lumpur was a direct line into KL.  Hmm..have to decide what to do in the morning...our check-out time is at 12 noon. 

Oh yes - we did have dinner at a Indonesia restaurant we found on Orchard Road in a shopping mall there that served Indonesian food....oh yum!  After ordering our meal we sat down and across from us was a very friendly couple who were visiting Singapore from Jakarta!  We had a lovely visit with them.  They were very kind and they noticed this Dutch girl (half Indo) eating the 'hot pepper paste' (sambal badjak) and smiled! 

Another Day here in much to See & Do!

We woke up bright & early and excited to enjoy the day - getting more rested!
We went to Orchard Road to find a bite to eat..and went to good ole' Starbucks' for coffee & croissant.  

As we strolled through the Mall we saw this store....lookie here ALL Flipflops! 

Pretty neat how they did that huh? I sure thought so!
Yes the whole store was all about flipflops!  

Personally - I thought it was a great idea for a shop! 
I tell you these shopping Mall's  are something else...

We had been told to be sure to go to Gardens by the Bay...and so we did...took the MRT underground train & a taxi to a most beautiful park!
Plant life from all over the world...and Super trees and thermal gardens...amazing!!!

Inside this dome was this perfect tropical area with everything growing so was cool and moist.

There in the distance was that building again with that big ship on it??? 

...and then we went down this pathway and saw this King Size...we wondered ...huh? a floating baby...what could that be...and so' very BIG!

 The baby was having a good washing that day...ha! 

We so' enjoyed the layout of the gardens and thank our  creative Lord - for creating such beauty for us to enjoy! ...and He created with so much diversity.....just amazing what we had seen...even in that perfect contained garden - truly a overwhelming enclosed & perfectly temperature controlled.  

Nick & I did a whole lot of walking that day...we continued across the river to "the hotel with the ship"
oh my goodness - it had just been built and it was BIG!

The Marina Bay Sands is what it is called!

Nick & I had a good full day and enjoyed the all the sights!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Our First Day ~ Singapore

Gosh that felt so' good....we slept through to 6 am this morning! That was great! 

Nick & I were talking about our mother & father met for the first time here in Singapore! Yes Pop was serving & stationed in the Dutch army here in Singapore...the year was about 1946..Mom who lived in Holland had decided to sign up and go to Indonesia (still serving under the Dutch flag & government) to do some volunteer work to assist the Dutch military. 
Well the ship departed from Rotterdam and made a stop in Singapore before heading to Jakarta.  My father stationed in Singapore hard that a ship had just docked in the harbor from off he went in the military jeep down to the harbor to check things out! his sharp white military uniform.. Yes..Poppa came to check it the story goes! He approached the ship and saw many young ladies up on the railing!  He called out to ask if they were allowed to disembark for a while and if so would they want to go for a ride into town with him to the nearby hotel for a cold drink and a tour through Singapore?  Yes!  they all He invited the young ladies and took them in the jeep to the Raffles Hotel!

He offered to give them a ride in the jeep....and guess what? Yes he had "eyes" for Mom and she was invited to sit up front with him! How cute is that!!! These stories I heard as a kid...and he was so proud to share that! Mom's destination would be Jakarta (Batavia) and from there she would take the train to Bandung and Pop said..."that is where my family is our address and be sure to go by and say Hello!" Well that is how it all began...the "Baidenmann"...story that is! Mom & Pop later that year got married...such a romantic story huh?

Nick too had a story to share: Nick's mother who had become a widow after her husband past away unexpectedly - had decided to move from Java to Singapore with her 12 year old daughter -Maud...and begin a boarding house business here in Singapore! She seems to have been quite a woman...with so much entrepreneurship & guts...really! (remember she also went to America with Nick & Cecile when they were in their teens and she was in her mid-fifties starting a boarding house again in San amazing woman) ...anyway here in Singapore she did open a boarding house on Orchard Road and enjoyed the English & Dutch influences and of course and the activities & adventure of this English colony!  

Pretty interesting that Nick & I decided to fly into Singapore first...and this is also the City where Nick's father died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1945 as a Dutch soldier. 

Departure & Arrival ~

Orinda - SFO

Saturday we took the B.A.R.T. Bay Area Rapid Transit from Orinda to SFO...and Mar tagged' nice! The Bart dropped us right into the international departure area...China Eastern Airlines. We quickly checked in and sat a waited with Mar for a little while!

Nick & I departed out of SFO on time ~12 noon and flew 13 hrs to Shanghai arriving local time 4 pm the next day ~ Sunday!
Hey lookie there..KLM "Royal Dutch Airlines is also flying to Singapore....go Dutchies!

We had an 8 hr layover in Shanghai. It was raining quite a downpour in Shanghai with thunderstorms and lightening.  But after 13 hrs of flying we were glad to walk around a bit and stretch out.  We both took a nap there stretching out on the airport benches!

At 12 midnight we flew onward to Singapore -
Oh look here how funny....from the movie list on board..."interesting" title option huh?
chuckle! chuckle! Yep! Yep! Yep!

 ...another 5 hrs flight and arrived in Singapore, Monday morning right on time! Gosh such a large airport and very nicely done!  BIG! People were friendly & helpful.  Nick & I found the ground transport area and got a shuttle to our hotel ~ Por-ce-lain Hotel pretty close to downtown.  So glad we booked that before (Thanks Jim & Mar for the encouragement!) the evening before departing from SFO.  
By this time we had been up 33 hrs already! We were excited to get to our destination ...Wow Singapore! The traffic drives English style    ...on the left.  Sure takes getting use to - when you step off the curb!!
We we took a shower & a 2 hr nap this morning and got up so we would not have that jet-lag...! "Let's go see what this beautiful & interesting City is all about! 

Do you see what I see??? Does that look like a ship on top of those buildings? Crazy big!

Lots of tall buildings and you also see the English influences that had been here from the past still very much present.

Oh my goodness...Ellen was excited...ladies...there is miles & miles of shopping here on Orchard Road....not 1 mall but miles of malls....where are my girlfriends????!!!!
Come quick!

Does this not make you think of Dobbie Gillis???  OK you ole' timers! ha!
Maynard...where are you?

Well it was around 5 pm today and we thought...hmmm we think we are tired....dah! Lets get back to the hotel and rest a bit!  By the way it is 90 today and yes dear friends & family....high humidity! HOT & sticky!
So those air conditioned stores & malls are a good place to be! old building from the past surrounded by many skyscrapers!

We did fall asleep - and slept till around 8:30 - just a few hours and then got dressed again to have a bite to eat...and enjoy the coolness & evening atmosphere....

Time to have a bite to eat in Chinatown!
9:30 ~ dinner in Singapore...and lots of people were out and about too! 
By this time we were ready to has been a delightful 1st day in this interesting City! 
Still hard to believe we are here!
Oh yes...we meant a gal who was vacationing with her boyfriend from Holland "Sandra" was full of information and shared her 5 week vacation with us  ~ she loves Indonesia the most she said...also had done a 1.5 yr trip through eastern Asia a few years back.  Nice to hear ~ Fun to speak Dutch so very far away...and hear her excitement on this very first day! Sandra was heading back to Holland that evening!