well it's day 5 in singapore and there's another full day tomorow. it's been pretty nice, the weather has gotten better the past 2 days, the sun came out. today i went to buy a new camera, mine is holding together with an elastic but of course i did my research after buying my camera so i payed about what i would pay at home, but at least i have a better camera for the rest of the trip.
i wandered aound a bit and after seeing a few temples both chinese and hindu, i ended up in the food court part of an appartment building, i was the only non-asian. it was really weird and cool at the same time. you get the impression that there are no other tourists around and that you stand out like a sore thumb. but as i realized later on when a bunch of korean tourists came by on something similar to rishaws, it's just that i can't spot the other tourists unless they are really evident, like the ones that walk by the hostel. it's funny to see the groups of school children walking along the street taking photos of ppl and places. they are elementary school children in uniform what are behaving like children would anywhere else, not particularily interested in the fact that there is an important mosque at the end of the street, but can't get over the little gadgets that they can buy in the shops that are all around.
in singapore, it pours and it's humid and it's really nice. i'm staying in the arab quarter and there is a mosque at the end of the block. so you hear the caller when the prayers are about to happen. it adds a really cool feel to the place. the hostel is on a pedestrian street and there are shops selling scarves and shalls and chopsticks and all sorts of colourful things. it's just so nice. b/c singapore may be in asia but you really feel like it's in the western world. very clean and modern and such and efficient transport system and everyone speaks english, it seems to be the main language for everything since all the signs are in english.
so far i've seen little india with ppl from the hostel, very cool and it makes you feel like you are no longer in singapore cause there were so many ppl and traffic. the food was really good and served on banana leaves. we also visited the mosque down the street and since one of the guys is muslim, he gave us a brief explanation of the various rituals that are done during prayer.
last night was a night on the town at the ministry of sound one of the newest clubs in town. it was alright but had a lack of ppl in there, the disco floor and rb floor were full yet the main dance floor was pretty empty. and the club is in an adult "disney world" section of town. there are so many bars and clubs in the same small area. it's a futuristic building with trees inside coverd with xmas lights and smoke coming out from here and there. that description proably doesn't do it justice, but it was really weird.
not sure what i'll be up to today, but it will probably be a little unusual.
well only one more night in australia! it's been really nice here, great weather and warm, which i've proably already mentioned. i hung out with mel and sara a bit more then saw emma, whom i'd met in auckland, and ran into sara while seeing one of the nicer beaches in the perth area. headed to the pinnacles on a day trip, they are limestone columns that rise out of the desert and there must be thousands of them from a foot high to about 8 feet. very cool. you get to go sand boarding on the same trip, you sit on the equivalent of a snow board and slide down dunes of perfectly white sand.a quick trip down south allowed me to enjoy the really nice beachs where you only have to watch out for the jelly fish and not really dangerous ones and i saw a comet, can't remember the name but it was nice ot see. the indian and south oceans meet at cape leeuwin, in the south so i biked out there, about 8 km on a really hilly road and enjoyed seeing the swell and water clashing at the spot. i hung out with a friend of a friend, karen, who is a puppeteer and got to see the rehearsal for the show that was coming up. very cool. and as no trip to australia would be complete without it, i saw the fremantle prison and the western australia cricket associatioon stadium, so i now have a basic idea of how cricket works (it's not such a boring sport, other than when they play 6 hours a day for 5 days as part of their all star games (called test matches)). the visa for vietnam also came through in less than a week, very impressive, onsidering i'd been warned that it takes about 3 wekks in canada! so tomorow it's off to singapore! a new continent, a new country and a new guide book :)
a beach down south
swell at leeuwin cape
i'm back in australia after almost 2 months away. perth is on the complete opposite side of wehre i had been before but has a lit in common with the rest of the country, like gum trees and heat and completely blue skies. a huge change from the 15 degrees and cloud i had in nz. so it's nice to be back in summer again.
i'm staying with my grandfather's godson and his family. it's really weird cause he and his wife are from edmonton and still have their canadian accent while their 3 kids having been in oz most of their lives have the oz accent. and the nephew and friend that are also visting right now are from sherwood park (outside edmonton) and they sound exactly like ppl from high school. so although i'm as far away from home as i can get, it sounds really canadian around here.
so in the 2 days i've been here, i've managed to apply for a visa for vietnam, should here about that eventually, see freo ( a suburb of perth, next ot the ocean with really cool markets), met up with melanie whom i last saw at the train station in lyon and her friend sara. and then yesterday when to the river and went wake boarding. you get pulled along by a boat and you are on a board similar to a snow board. you then do jumps by going over the wake of the boat. it looks really easy, but it's not. i managed to get up adnn out of the water a few times but would stay on my feet for about 5 seconds before falling into the jelly fish infested water. good thing they aren't stinging jelly fish and they ignore you completely. so today is another blue sky sunny warm day in australia, should be fun.
goodbye new zealand
only a few more hours left in new zealand. this country was absolutely great! and i definitely recommend to everyone to come here at some point. the place is gorgeous even with bad/rainy weather and the ppl are so friendly. you'll get some more photos soon as i'm heading to perth tomorow.
more of the south island
so one week left in new zealand. it's been really cool! while on the south part of the south island, i helped out at a sheep farm for a few days. they give farm tours (that's how i ended up there to begin with having gone on a tour a few days before). you see the dog rounding up the sheep and can have a chance at shearing a sheep yourself. there was a pet lamb called stray. very cute and had to be bottle fed a few times a day, so when there were no tours going on, i got to do it. i also helped heard sheep from one paddock to another one across the road. it feels silly waving your arms at a herd of sheep to get them to not run down the main road.
another cool thing that i've done was going to see a nesting albatross colony. it was really nice to see the huge birds sitting on their nests. there was a good wind so they also flew by a lot. very impressive as they don't seem to move a muscle when they soar by. on the same tour, i got a chance to see sealions, fur seals and yellow eyed penguings, a really rare penguin. since the zoom on my camera is useless, i used binoculars and the effect was pretty cool with much better results than i expected.
the albatross with a colony of cormorants (known as shags in nz) nesting below
sealions, a dominant male surrounded by younger males
yellow eyed penguin and sheep, very new zealand