Friday, April 29, 2011

Singapore :Universal Studios.

The next morning,we left for Universal Studios.This is a new attraction in Singapore, replicating the Universal Studios of Hollywood . We had been told to dress in light summer clothes as we will be walking under the scorching Sun .We had been told to carry water from our rooms.We had done that as we would need to hydrate ourselves.We reached the Universal Studios at around ten.We were instructed to meet near the entrance after we had finished visiting the numerous attractions .The time for going back to hotel was four in the evening.We were handed over our meal coupons .We were told that there were Indian meals available at Oasis ,a cafeteria in the Egyptian attraction.We were given our entry tickets & a map.The map explained graphically the various themes around the place.

We all dispersed with our families &  in groups to explore the Universal Studios.Some adventurous persons immediately headed for the thrilling rides.

The whole set up at the place is very surreal with various themes dotting the place.There is Shrek palace ,an Egyptian area with Egyptian statues,a Madagascar theme area,a dark mansion ride,etc.The roads are very wide & clean.There are toilets at every nook & corner.There are eateries at many places where one can buy cooldrinks,icecreams etc.Singapore is a place which is based on business. So outside eatables & drinks (except plain drinking water)  are not allowed in all the  tourist places.One has to necessarily eat at the tourist place at a restaurant there.

Our first stop was at a theatre where we were witness to an artificial  storm.The storm was all generated by various machines -all mechanically in an artificial manner !In a few minutes ,a calm sea side was transformed into a shattered area as all windows started banging ,the boats were dangerously capsizing ,the sea waves were rising & collapsing at stunning speeds,the noise was so much that we were unable to hear each other.This show is meant to show the public, how the storms or any natural disaster is artifically cooked up in films.It was really amazing !

We went to the Shrek Palace.We enjoyed a 4D show there.4D  means, that we can, actually feel, the bumpy rides the characters in the show  are having as they travel on seas & on roads.There was a donkey in the show & as it sneezed,the droplets of his sneeze were felt by us all

As we came out of the 4D show,we entered into the shopping area of the Shrek palace & got some tee shirts for my kid.They were very expensive but since we had already selected them ,we paid up.

Next, we took some snaps by donning various headgear which are available outside a theme area .We saw that many people were also doing the same.We then went ahead & reached the Madgascar theme area where we wanted to take some snaps .As we were getting ready to shoot,we were stopped & made to have our photos clicked by the staff of the Madagascar theme area for a price.At some places in the Studios,snaps can be clicked by tourists and at other places ,one has to necessarily pay for the snaps to be clicked by the staff.This is how business is generated for the studios.My kid was thrilled to be photographed with the animals from the Madagascar film & so it was paisa vasool !

By now,we were dehydrated though we had been sipping water .We headed for Oasis to have our lunch.We landed at oasis to discover that there was only one lunch option for vegetarians.It consisted of aloo matar,biryani,papad,bhindi fry & a jalfarezi .The jal farezi was as good as uncooked.The bhindi was raw - there was too much fibre for us to even ingest ,forget digesting !There was a kheer as a dessert.This confirmed that no hotel ,restauarant or eatery can exist without aloo matar or any form of aloo veggie.

After that ,we again started strolling around the studios.We then took a ride in a scary mansion where it was pitch dark with skeletons & scary faces staring at us where they had some lights.It was a short tram ride.After that ,we were exploring some more.My kid was overjoyed to see Kung Fu Panda .we waited to atke snapshots of all of us turn by turn.We strolled some more & then walked to the entrabce as it was time for us to depart.Some people from our travel group were already there.We exchanged notes about what we had all experienced.Skowly ,all had started returning .We made our way to the bus.We got back into our rooms for the evening tea.My brother called up to say that he would come to pick us up at seven.

The evening time was free for shopping till dinner. We had told our group that we will not be joining our group for dinner.My brother arrived & took us to Mustafa where we shopped for a school bag for my kid.Mustafa is a very confused shop.The same set ogf goods are available at different places in the whole complex.So,if you have got an object from a particular place & want to bill it another floor ,there is lot of red tape .Mustafa has things of all kinds -one has to just name it & it is there at Mustafa.The Indian salespersons & availablity of all Indian goods makes it the ideal shopping destination of all Indians.

We steeped out of Mustafa & headed to Murugun for a dinner of idlis,vadas,chutneys ,sambhar,sweet & khara pongal.The items were too tasty especially after days & nights of tandoor food.After a sumptous dinner ,we headed back to our room.My brother then left for his accomodation.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Singapore : Night safari

We left for Singapore by our air conditioned bus at around 9 am.We had breakfast at the hotel, where we stayed in Kaula Lampur .The breakfast was toast with

Monday, April 18, 2011

Malaysia -Kaula Lampur tour.

We left by luxury bus for touring Kuala Lumpur from Genting highlands after having a breakfast of bread toast with jam,spring rolls,fresh fruits like chunks of  yellow & red watermelon & papaya.Tea was too light for our taste.Moreover,there is a big crowd at breakfast time & all are in a hurry.The tour operator is also breathing down our necks & one has to wait for the toaster to warm up the bread.Some like it light brown,others almost burn it.Moreover,the toaster toasts bread on  one side at one instance & then one has to repeat the process again.This tires all & many opt for a light breakfast.This explains why breakfast is included in packages where one gets to stay.Breakfast is free  means  that the stay at the hotel is  free of breakfast !

En route,we saw clouds as we came down Genting Highlands to the plains.It was beautiful ! The sceneries with fog ,mist & clouds was too lovely.We stopped at Bantu caves to witness the largest statue of Karthikeyan ,son of Shiva & Parvati.Bantu caves are natural limestone caves on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.The magnificient  statue is painted with gold paint imported from Thailand.There are also temples dedicated to Lord Shiva & his consort Parvati as also Ganpati.The Karthikeyan temple is located at the top-after a flight of nearly two hundred fifty steps.The climb wears one down because the weather is quite sultry at the place.Monkeys roam about the Bantu carves & if they find a plastic bag being carried about,they pounce & steal it.Our guide informed us that monkeys are highly evolved & even drink coke by opening the cans.By evolution ,it was meant that anyone drinking coke is civilised.As time goes by,all evolution theories are being turned topsy turvy , but then, the guide alike  many others , has, still to learn about  them !

We also were taken to the biggest importer of Swiss watches .I brought a wrist watch but realised later that it carried no guarantee ! We also got perfumes -  we were lured by the numerous perfumes & we selected two, just randomly, as our noses had refused to distinguish the various smells ! There were sunglasses also on sale but as I am a myopic,I refrained from buying one- the only wise decision, I took on this trip.Then ,we left for a photo session -snaps were to be taken with the Petronas towers in the background.It was very hot & we all had our sunglasses on when professional photographers clicked a group photo of our travel group.

We had lunch at another Indian restaurant.Gulab jamuns  kept  for dessert disappeared in a moment & later for all guests,the waiter got a pair each in bowls.This was to prevent another set of the dessert from doing the disappearing act.All this just goes to show, that diabetic or not,Indians feel, that, unless, one has consumed all the sweets,we have not had our money's worth ! We take great pains to diet at home so that we can binge abroad ,  never mind ,the enormous risks to our health.

Kaula Lampur is a very modern city with many malls & a beautiful skyline.It is very green as well.Initially,more than half of Malaysia was covered by forests but now,it has reduced to less than half after industrialisation but the equatorial climate makes for  a lush green cover.After lunch,we visited the Chocolate factory wherein we brought chocolates. Malaysia is one of the largest producers of cocoa in the world.Some were filled with nuts.There were also chocolates mixed with chillies & other spices.We were told that these chocolates can be used in curries. The senior citizens in our group shopped more than the younger ones & took more time to shop .The chocolate factory & the watch buying only confirmed that the tourist guides earn hefty commissions whenever tourists buy from the said places.It is quid pro quo.

We had dinner in the night & went to sleep early as next day,we were to leave for Singapore by bus.We were given immigration forms to be filled in .We  completed a major part of the packing in the night to avoid last minute hassles.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Malaysia-Genting Highlands.

We had breakfast at eight  in the morning  & left in a luxury coach for the hill station.We alighted at the cable station to get into gondolas or cable cars which was to take us up the hill station.We enjoyed the cable ride as we got a panoramic view of the lush green equatorial forests below.

We were briefed about the outdoor theme park.We deposited the luggage in our hotel rooms.From there, were instructed, about finding our way through the Genting maze.All hotels are interconnected but it is all very confusing.There are many escalators before we can reach the hotel from the outdoor theme park.In fact,I had to climb up & down eight escalators when I wanted to return to my room to freshen up .In one instance,we saw a senior couple almost shaking near the escalators .Someone   from our group escorted them on the escalators.The pay commission rise in pensions can be seen in actuality - many senior citizens are busy touring India & abroad.As our tour guide advised,it is up to the person concerned, to make choices about the type of rides to take .But then escalators  are a necessity -stairs are not there at all places abroad.Maybe ,stairs are there but cannot be located easily.So ,Indian seniors should travel when they are fit .Abroad,seniors are used to escalators & other technological advances.This may be not true for a country like ours, though, now things are changing, but ,still, it is better to be cautious.

The things kept in hotel rooms are pretty & many guests just steal them ! After all,they argue that they are only stealing their money's worth ! Perhaps,this was the reason,the hotel room at Genting had listed the articles with the prices, on a list, in the room with a  a warning ,"Should you like any article,please pay & buy from the hotel ."

We entered the hill station after being  ticketed around our wrists.The tickets are the entry passes to the outdoor theme park.There were numerous thrilling rides,boating,tram rides,monorail, chocolate factory,etc. We indulged in  paddle boating ,tram rides,monorail,etal.Then ,we had lunch at an international cafe in the park itself.International cuisine is largely for non-vegetarians & so one gets too cautious .This holds true even for desserts as most desserts seem to use eggs,etc.Though vegetarianism is on the rise & many have turned vegans,hoards of people gulping down chicken,meat ,beef,pork etc does tend to turn vegetarians & vegans off food.Also,all Indian travel companies seem to take their groups to the same tourist spots as others & all breakfasts,lunches & dinners become noisy crowded affairs.The hosts continue to look amazed at the Indian tourists as Indians break queues to get ahead first & will ask information which is already displayed.One gets the feeling, that Indians are just being tolerated but this may end pretty soon, if we continue with our errant ways & misbehaviour.

After lunch,we went strolling around the indoor park at Genting.There was a boat ride akin to the romantic canal ride in Venice,Europe.There were numerous video game parlours & also other rides.We also rode in Pirates valley in absolute dark where every turn sprung skeletons & demonic figures ! As the night wore on,there was a festive atmosphere with all lights decking up the indoors.We spotted many tourist-Indians as also others from Gulf,China,Korea,Japan etal.After dinner we attended a show, which had a magician,a woman who draws on sand  & some dance & music.The woman was amazing as her drawings on sand were so life like & perfect.The tricks of the magician floored us all & we were mesmerised.Some of our group had visited the casino whilst we watched the show.Chinese are big gamblers & are known to gamble away all their life savings ! I am sure, some of our group did indulge in gambling .After all,life is the biggest gamble ,isn't it ?

We retired to our rooms & slept.Next day ,we were to depart for the city tour of Kaula Lampur .

Monday, April 11, 2011

Malaysia - first glimpses.

Malaysia is very near to Singapore.As we were to travel to Singapore,we were advised by friends to visit Malaysia which is next door.We went through a travel company.This was done to prevent stress arising from booking flight,hotel,etc. But during the trip,we realised, that conducted tours, are more stressful as we want our money's worth.To get that feeling ,we sacrifice our sleep,our digestion ,- to name only a few.

At the Mumbai airport,we were greeted by the travel company representative,who handed us our free gifts namely a trolley bag & two back packs filled with snacks & tea bags.He also handed over our passports,visas & air tickets.The flight was scheduled to leave just before midnight.We cleared immigration,security check & boarded the aircraft.It was full.We also met the other  family of three who were part of our travel company group.We tried to sleep but just as we were dosing off,we were roused awake to taste the dinner.Since we did not want to disappoint the crew,we made an attempt to eat what passed off as dinner.The dinner was absolutely worthless compared to precious sleep from which we were awakened.We tried again to sleep but very soon,it was time to alight.

As we alighted,we were surprised by the magnificience of the Kaula Lampur airport.It was bright & clean.There are numerous escalators & even horizontal moving tracks. There was a small metro train to take us to the other end of the airport from where we could step into the city.We made use of the toilets & the toilets were squeaky clean.The was always an attendent or two at the toilets to keep an eye on the tidiness.

We were met by the tour guide at the airport entrance .All six of us were bundled into a luxury coach & left for Kaula Lampur which is away from the international airport.En route,we stopped at Putrajaya for a sumptous breakfast of upma,idlis,dosa,sambhar,chutney,bhajiyas ,etal.We resumed our journey & reached Hotel Grand Season at around 11am.The checkout time being 3pm,there were no rooms available.We were curtly informed that for an additional fee of fifty ringtts (Malayisian currency) ,we could avail of  a room immediately.The other option was to wait in the lobby till 3pm.We paid & were led into our rooms.We freshened up & came down for lunch.We had lunch at an Indian restaurant - dal tadka,rice,tandoori rotis,aloo gobhi,papad ,achar.This menu was to be repeated ad nauseum throughout the trip with little or no changes.We left to vist the aqiuarium as my friend had advised us to visit it.We were awestruck by the aquarium interiors where fishes are on display in numerous ponds.Also,one can travel on a horizontal moving track which slowly moves & takes one around the place.Above the moving track & besides the track, is a glass enclosure, wherein, the numerous fishes,tortoises,sea horses,are swimming.We also witnessed the feeding of fish by two crew members .

There was cleanliness all around & the staff was courteous.Frankly,the tidiness at all places in Kaula Lampur stares at us,Indians, as we seem to believe, that litter is a natural phenomena which increases as days go by.The Malays are very courteous to all.They speak softly, unlike us, who are very loud & rude.The Malays  look like cousins of Chinese people with small eyes .They  are of small to medium build.Many Malays being  Muslims , the ladies wear head scarfs.But they seem to be  liberal, as  no woman could be seen practising purdah.The Malay ladies of other sects are very modern & stylish.Their clothes & accessories namely bags & footwear are very westernised.

We returned to the hotel & made tea with the tea bags provided in the room.There is an electric kettle in which water is boiled & then we added sugar,& the creamer & dipped the tea bags till we got the tea color we desired.This is a common feature at all hotels in Malaysia & also Singapore - an electric kettle with tea bags & coffee bags are provided in the hotel room to help ourselves.We switched on the idiot box & took turns to check our mailboxes on the net.Now,it was time for dinner.We were met in the lobby by our travel company 's Indian representative,Sachin who took us to another Indian restaurant.After dinner,we took some snaps with the Petronas towers in the background as the restaurant was nearby.The Petronas towers are  made  entirely of steel & can be clicked at varying angles in many shades & hues.We were told that unless one lies down on the road ,it is impossible to click the top of the Petronas towers but we managed to get some good shots.

We returned to hotel & slept as next day,we were to leave for Genting highlands,a popular hill station near Kaula Lampur.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...