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4
Dec 01
Tue

What’s in Store

Uni holidays have come, but I still have 3 weeks of work left with EDS before I begin mine. The tourist medium season ends this week, and with high season meaning increased airfares, a lot of people have left the Aussie shores already. Among them are my flatmate (for Malaysia) and my girl (for Taiwan & HK). It feels a bit lonelier now. I so need a holiday. Uni marks get released on Saturday. I’m sitting on an 84.5 average (w/o geneds), but this semester’s marks are no doubt going to drag that down a bit. Ah well. I have roughly three weeks of holidays before a six month placement at OneSteel, which is located in the nethersuburb of Chiswick. In two of those three weeks, however, I too am heading overseas, with family.

We fly off to Singapore on the 22nd, stay for a night, then the next day fly to Bangkok. We’ll stay in Thailand until the 29th, also visiting Chiang Mai and Pattaya while there. New Year’s will be spent in Singapore before we embark on a three-day cruise partway up the Straits of Malacca to Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). A couple more days in Singapore, and then it’s back to Australia.

The whole trip is supposedly a small family reunion on my dad’s side which my grandfather has organised. Dad’s side of the family is small for an Asian one: 12 aunts/uncles but only 8 cousins(!) But naturally there are other more distant relos that make the family tree a bit more intertwined than that. Now I don’t mind travelling with the family, but you really need someone around your age to enjoy travel – autonomy is important! My interests are obviously going to be different from my parents’, and likewise different to my aunts and uncles toting their 8 year old handfuls. Luckily, a cousin roughly my age is coming, so no doubt we’ll dump “the olds” whenever we get the chance and go off and get lost.

I have heard only a bit about Thailand. Most of it revolves around Patpong, “marriage proposals” and stories about seedy men standing in doorways ushering tourists into what are euphemistically referred to as “ping pong banana shows”. Sounds like another reason to ditch the olds. Is it that surprising though, when you have a capital city that is called Bangkok? Another place that warrants a visit is Panthip Plaza. Singapore has cracked down on piracy quite successfully, but the Thai police do not share the same conviction as the Singaporeans in clamping down on the illegal CD/VCD/DVD trade. There is also much shopping to be done. I was advised that Thailand was a good place to get a suit custom-made, although I should be wary about the quality of material used.

Apart from shopping Thailand has a rich history and there are many monuments and sites in evidence of this. Apparently my grandfather has arranged one of those package tours that will take us for a “fishbowl visit” to these historical sites (roaming around in a bus gazing out its windows, occasionally stepping down for a few happy snaps, before heading off again). Thailand holds the distinction of being the only Asian country never to be colonialised, testament to the deftness of the country’s much loved monarchy in handling the European colonialists.

Back in Singapore, we’ll be going on a brief cruise. We were originally going to go on the longer one that would go to Phuket, but it turns out that the cruise company had reserved the majority of tickets for foreigners (non-Singaporeans). As a result, while people like Dad and I could still get tickets, tickets for Singaporean citizens (as Mum still is) had already sold out. This policy of setting aside so many tickets to foreigners not surprisingly enraged many Singaporeans. A family reunion cruise to Phuket would not happen, so a berth on the shorter cruise was made. Then September 11 happened, and foreign bookings for the Phuket cruise were cancelled en masse. The cruise company frantically made the vacated places available to everyone. However, the Singaporean public was unsympathetic and snubbed the company by refusing to buy up the new tickets, our family included. The cruise is exactly the same as the one I went on two years ago. It’s extremely relaxing and potentially quite fattening.

I’ll be capitalising on the cheapness of computer hardware in Singapore as well. That’s what I’ve been saving most of my money for, actually. I have a wishlist I’ve putting together that I’ll possibly post later. Well… three weeks left. I wish they would go faster!

  10:37pm (GMT +11.00)  •  Life  •   •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment