Good'ay mate! Well as you can guess we are now in Australia on the other side of the world (scary thought!) and thankfully we've brought the good weather with us (makes achange after Thailand!) as its been hot and sunny (30-32) since we arrived whereas the two previous weeks its been flooding and torrential rain!
I think the last entry said that we were getting a bus down to Singapore that evening.....yes, well, that turned into a bit of an adventure (and not really ina good way!) . It started by getting on a night ferry from KohPhangnan to the main land (surat Thani) which was fine(ish - we insisted on taking our bags up with us after being watched by a lot of rather too interested thai men!). That took about 6 hours I think. From getting off the boat, everything went a bit sketchy - after expecting a transfer to a bus depot of some sort we got walked through the city at 4 in the morning to a little travel place and got told to wait a couple of hours (during which time we all got conned into getting money out to transfer into malaysian ringett as we apparently needed to show it at the border 0- of course we didnt and we all lost about 50 pounds each on the exchange - 'learning curve' springs to mind!), then a little van took us to some place about 5 hours away (during whihc time we tried to determine where we were being driven too by asking the driver but he didnt seem to like this and got a bit angry so we just sat and got driven to whereever we were being taken!), next we meet a slightly larger minibus by the side of the road (not exactly the bus journey we'd been expecting so far!) which took us through malaysia to a place called Butterworth where we got off and were told we had 7 hours to wait for the next bus which would take us to Singapore! It turned out Ok becauyse we caught the ferry over to Penang ( a big city) and walked around the Little India area and had a curry (chicken tikka masala all around of course!). It was very bizarre thought as we were getting stared at by everyone around and were the only white people we saw practically all day! Thankfully the next bus we got on was 'luxury VIP' - i.e. reclining seats and air con! After all this we arrived in Singapore at about 10 in the morning (having successfully got through customs which included me surreptiously discarding my many packets of chewing gum as they are on the red list (along with drugs and firearms!)).
Tiredness and dirtyness determined our decesion to stay somewhere nice for our night in Singapore so we checked into the 4 star Holiday Inn just off Orchard Road (the Oxfiord Street of Singapore) and boy was it a welcome change - flushing toilets and hot water and massive beds!! After that we spent the day walking down the main street and looking in the shops (in which we could afford nothing - Id love to go back with money and space in my bag, rthe number of shopping malls is RIDICULOUS!!!). Its such a nice city, very tropical in the sense of all the trees and flowers and SO clean! Can easily see how nice it would be to work somewhere like that for a while (dont worry mum, it probably wont happen!). We then went back to use the hotel pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and bath - was so good! After sprucing up we headed to Raffles Hotel to sample THE authentic Singapore Sling (expensive though at $21 each!), not surprising seeing as Raffles only does suites ranging from $1000-7000 for 1 night! and then to the Clarke Quays area for dinner (altho it was pretty late by this time and most restaurants were closing), really lively area of bars including one where you sit in wheelchairs/hospital beds and the drinks are given to you in drips!
The next day we got an open bus ticket we could jump on and off and visited Sentosa Island (taking the cable car over), its a bit like a thme e park island, we did the nature trail and saw some massive spiders (not keen myself!). We then stayed on the bus to see the city, very interesting place with its different quarters (indian, malysian, chinese and lots of facts - like the government insists on statistical discrimination, all the flats must have equal proportions of the 3 ethnicities!)
My internet is running out now so have to speed up, Flew out of Singapore that evening (really liked the city) altho getting the flight was a close call ofr Laura and Edith who were shopping!. Got to Cairns (having crossed the equator - Woo woo!) and transferred to our hostel (very Australian, nice bar etc.. and dorm rooms rather than our thia bungalows). All slept most of the first day and just spent the time looking around Cairns. Then the next day Me (eleanor), Laura and Holly went on a tour to Cape Tribulation into the Daintree rainforest but Ill have to write about that next time as Im about to be cut off.
We're with Gemma now (realy good to see her again after all this time) and are opicking up our campervan today (exciting!)
Will write again soon, Love to all and hope all are well
P.S I've heard its snowing....- think its 30 today here!! xxxxx