May 1 - Off to Asia

One great perk to my job is getting to travel to the other side of the planet for business. You can't do that working at McDonald's! I'll also get to meet up with my mom in Kuala Lumpur. She wants to get away since my father passed away last month. I think we all need some time to get away right now...

Here's the plan.

May 1: Toronto to Hong Kong

May 2: Hong Kong to Singapore, Perak Hotel

May 8: Singapore to Bangkok, Shangri La Hotel

May 11: Bangkok to Singapore, Regent Hotel

May 14: Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Istana Hotel

May 20: Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong, Charterhouse Hotel

May 25: Hong Kong, Langham Place Hotel

June 2: Hong Kong to Toronto


May 2 - Melting in Singapore

I'm convinced that Singapore will be one of the first places to go with this global warming threat. I arrived at the airport and was lulled into a false sense of comfort by the air conditioning. But once I stepped outside, I felt like I had just been covered by a hot stifling blanket. It was enough to remind me that I am truly a Canadian in a foreign place.

The hotel I'm staying at is a restored historic building. It's smack dab in the middle of Little India--I can walk 5 minutes to the nearby Sri Veeramakaliamman temple. Shorter than the time it takes to type that out!

I met up with Sergio, a friend of a friend who just moved to Singapore for his work. He took me to a small house party. It was interesting seeing the mix of locals and foreigners. Everyone had a story about why they were in Singapore--"met a guy and moved with him", "more lax stem cell laws", "new job"'s a bit like Toronto in that everyone is from somewhere else, but it seems we would be less likely to ask someone why they're in Toronto. In Singapore you can spot the foreigners (or "ang mo" (red hair) as they called themselves) because they're not Asian. In Toronto, you are Torontonian just because of the fact that you live in Toronto. You quickly become a local and blend into the crowd.

Speaking of "ang mo", we were laughing over some of the Singlish oddities. I was told that Singaporeans have an interesting way to answer questions like "Can I ..." or "Is it possible to ...". They say "Can" or "Cannot" instead of "Yes" or "No". Actually, I guess that's similar to Chinese as well. I also like how they call strangers "Auntie" or "Uncle". Very fun.



May 6 - Eating in Singapore

It's so strange how everywhere you go in Singapore, you end up eating with a spoon and a fork. No chopsticks. No knife. Just a spoon and a fork.




May 11 - The Death of a Backpacker

I moved to another hotel on Friday. The Perak Hotel was a decent hotel, but I wanted a bit nicer. I'm afraid that the backpacker inside of me is dying. I used to look for the cheapest places to stay, where they would pack 10 people to a room. I would end up walking around all day long because of mid-day lockouts. And breakfast would be the same processed cheese slice, white toast, hard boiled egg, and a glass of tang.

Now that I think of it, I haven't stayed at a hostel for a few years now. They were fun times though. No worries other than where you're going to do your laundry the next day--the backpackers motto is that you either change clothes or you change cities. Very wise. I loved meeting people from all over the world who were traveling and learning about the world just like me. I think you get a better feeling about the country you're visiting when you try to live like a local. One of my favourite things to do still is to go grocery shopping in a new country.

But now I've seen a lot of places, I stayed at a lot of accomodations, and I must admit that there is some pleasure in traveling comfortably. I find I don't feel as connected with my traveling, but it allows me to get away. As I get older I'm starting to see traveling more as a chance to relax. So a nice hotel is good.