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Thursday 15 Aug 2013
Singapore, Singapore

There's no place like home...

I said farewell to Dani and Na.  I'm so glad I got that particular bus over to Semporna last week as it gave me a chance to get to know these great girls.  Perhaps I'll add South Korea to the list after all...

I shared at taxi to the airport with an Irishman living in KL, then flew the 45 minutes back over to Kota Kinabalu.  It was a quick flight that allowed me to stay the extra day at the lodge and saved me a 9-hour bus ride.  I had a long time before I could check in for my next flight, so I set up camp in McDonald’s and used their free wifi for a few hours.  When I checked again to see if my flight was on the board yet, I discovered it was listed as Terminal 2.  I didn’t know there was a Terminal 2!  I quickly found an information desk and discovered that it was 15 minutes away and I’d have to catch a taxi there – eeek!  I used the last of my ringgits to pay for the taxi and prayed there wouldn’t be much traffic.  It turned out I didn’t need to have worried.  There was a huge queue to check in as they’d only just opened the desk, so I wasn’t late after all.  I had just enough time to grab some food before boarding my flight down to Singapore.

I reached Matchbox hostel late afternoon and walked down to a little dim sum place in Chinatown.  I shared a table with a Japanese girl named Hakumi who was also travelling alone.  We ordered separately, but ended up trading a frog leg (mine) for a chicken foot (hers).  How my palate has changed in the last seven months!  The frog legs and ginger hot pot was delicious, but the fried chicken foot was a bit tasteless – lots of skin and tiny bones but not much actual meat.

On my last full day of the trip, I’d planned to go shopping at Orchard Road, the heart of Singapore’s gadget shopping district, to have a look at cameras.  After seven months of carrying my SLR, I’ve accepted it is too heavy and bulky for this kind of travel.  My trusty Canon Powershot, which has done me so well for the last 5 years, is also on its last legs, so I want to find a happy medium.  In the end, I opted for a relaxing day just wandering around Chinatown and enjoying lunch at Maxwell’s food court and an afternoon at the Afond Spa.  The Magic of Citrus package included a lemon lime scrub, a grapefruit wrap, a traditional herbal heat rub and a Swedish body massage.  Bliss…

For a break from the norm, I had a lunchtime flight instead of a ridiculously early one.  I checked in with plenty of time to spare and had a browse in Duty Free.  I spotted the Sony camera I’ve been looking at and allowed myself to be convinced by their special offer: it came with a 16GB memory card, a camera bag, a second battery and a full sized tripod.  As if I didn’t have enough to carry already!

I sat next to a Kiwi named Michael on the flight.  We had the back row of two seats where we could easily get out to stretch our legs, which was more important for him as he was over 6’ tall.  We got on well and kept each other going when the flight got too boring. 

In the past 30 weeks I have:

  • Been to 11 countries, 30 cities, numerous small towns, 14 islands and 4 remote village homestays
  • Discovered over 20 National Parks and Nature Reserves
  • Taken 21 flights, six train journeys, more buses than I dare think about, rented one car and survived crazy Asian traffic
  • Been on 10 organised tours, countless day trips and numerous attempts at just winging it
  • Stayed with friends, family, hostels, hotels, boats, trains and a cabin on the beach
  • Tried ziplines, go-carts, tubing, black water rafting, sailing, jumped in waterfalls and lakes and off boats
  • Visited Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, ancient monuments and brand new monasteries
  • Learned of tragic histories and inspiring futures
  • Ridden elephants, swum with (well, near) dolphins, watched whales, hunted for worms, seen orang-utans and fed bats
  • Learned to dive and discovered the incredible under water world and a new life-long passion
  • Made some excellent new friends and shared time with old friends

I wonder what is in store for Part II of the big adventure in a few weeks' time?

Coming through the gates at the airport to find Mum and Dad waiting for me with a big hug was the best part of the whole trip!  Going away is great, but sometimes coming home can be even better...

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Zobeedoo's Big World Adventure, Part I

Travel blog by zobeedoo

Marahau Bridges, Abel Tasman

Marahau Bridges, Abel Tasman

The first part of my trip will take in South East Asia, New Zealand and Australia. I'm looking forward to seeing new places, revisiting some old places as well as meeting friends and family along the way.

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