Last Thursday was our last day of lecture in Singapore! To celebrate, we went to the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo. It was really awesome because most of the animals are nocturnal so they were really active. They had a few exhibits that you could walk around, but for the most part we just road a train to see the animals. The Singapore Zoo also doesn't really believe in cages so most of the animals either came right up to the train or were separated from the people by a really deep moat. It was hard to take pictures because they only had a few lights on so the animals really felt like it was night time, and you weren't allowed to use your flash. Once on the train, someone took a picture and their flash went off, and the lady came on the microphone and said, "If those people who just took that picture don't know how to speak English, will someone around them kindly show them how to turn their flash off?" It was funny because she wasn't saying it insultingly, though that is some thing we would say in the States to be mean.
We got to see some really awesome Lions roaring, bats that we could reach out and touch, porcupines with needles as long as my arm, swamp buffalo and flamingos!
Hayley got in at midnight on Friday night, so I spent the day shopping with Roxy! I found some really good deals! It is the "Great Singapore Sale" right now, and that means that literally EVERYTHING in Singapore is on sale! I love it! On Saturday, Hayley and I took a 4.5 hour bus to Malacca
which is on the western coast of Malaysia. We saw really cool ruins of an old Catholic Church built by the Dutch in the 1800s. We also found a random ship (on land) that turned out to be a really neat museum.
This is harder to take a picture of than it looks!
Though there wasn't much in the city, it was a nice place to spend the afternoon and see some Malaysian culture. From there, we went to Kuala Lumpur
, which is the NYC of Malaysia and only 2 hours outside Malacca. When we first got to Kuala Lumpur, the bus just let us off on the side of the street! We ended up getting scammed on the Taxi ride to our hostel, but it was ok because 1 US dollar is about 4 RM (Malay money). After we checked into the hostel and booked a bus ride back to Singapore for the next day, we went to visit the Petronas Towers, which are now the two tallest twin towers and the 3rd tallest buildings in the world. They were so shinny! We didn't go up in them, because you could only go about half way, and you had to get there at 6am and wait in line for 3 hours.
This is inside the towers...it was just a huge mall with really expensive stores!
They were fun to look at though! We also got to walk around the city and ended up in "Times Square" which was a 10 story shopping mall complete with a huge indoor amusement park! It was really great getting to see two cities in Malaysia and compare them to Thailand. Both were way cleaner than Bangkok and Phuket, and didn't cater so much to tourists. There was still a huge American influence, however. When we first got to our hostel, we asked the lady where we could find an ATM. She actually said "walk down the street and turn right at the 7 11 and its right next to the KFC."!!! Hayley couldn't believe we were in another country! haha. Luckily, most people there spoke very good English, except for the few guys that tried to hit on us in Malay.
The towers at night!
I think that they liked Hayley because she is so pale! They actually sell whitening cream here...if you are tan, it means that you work outside which is looked down on. Its strange how some things seem so backward.
On Monday we took a 5 hour bus ride back to Singapore so I could study for my final in Quality Engineering, which I had today! It wasn't too difficult, which was sweet. This afternoon, the class took a tour of the Tiger brewery! It was pretty neat to get to see how it is all done and the packaging plant. I thought that Joe would really like it...a little more beer than I've ever seen him brew! They package 40,000 beers an hour! It was really funny because our tour guide wanted to "move quickly" though the packaging part, but considering that we are all IEs.
At the Brewery!
..that definitely didn't happy! We were all amazed by the process...where the buffers where, how the cans got into the boxes and folded, how the cans were cleaned...it was amazing! Our tour guide talked for a long time about how you should drink beer (2-4 degrees and in large gulps). We also got yelled at for putting lime in Corona (I thought of Auntie and Dad!)...he said that it killed the beer taste and wasted the brewer's time. He really liked his beer!
This evening, Hayley, Katie and I went to the Singapore Art Museum. Though it ended up mostly being copies of paintings, there was one abstract art exhibit that had the originals that I really liked. Then we went to dinner and visited Raffles Hotel. It is a very famous (and expensive) hotel.
Hayley and Me with our Singapore Slings!
Sir Samford Raffles basically founded Singapore and so this hotel has alot of history. It was also where the famous "Singapore Sling" was first invented in 1936. It has gin, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice, cointreau, dom benedictine, grenade, and angostura bitters...I don't know what most of that is, but it tasted really amazing! Hayley's Mom insisted on buying them for us because she had heard about this hotel and knew it would be awesome. We got to sit in the court yard with lights in the palm trees, a fountain, and a live band playing Nora Jones! It was so great! I already wrote her parents a Thank you card!
Sadly, we are leaving for China on Friday. We had an "info session" about it today before the tour...its going to be interesting. Everyone is getting pretty worried! I think we will survive.