Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random Singapore Pictures

I loved Singapore. Friendly people, modern city, cleanest place I have ever been (puts Japan to shame), easy public transportation, and everyone speaks English. I will look forward to going back some day.

Map of Singapore

Map of Singapore

Wash and Blow, 3 bucks in Singapore

A tourist pass that might save you money if you're interested.

A bum by the Hawker Center in Chinatown. Housing is subsidized and certain quotas are maintained by the government of ethnic groups in neighborhoods (i think....). Housing is of course in high demand, and this guy rents his home and saves all the money in the bank by being a real vagabond. It's fairly shameful, but you can't stop him.

St Andrew's Cathedral.

Challenger - kinda like the Best Buy in Singapore. Singaporeans need to buy membership to get discounted prices, but they will give foreigners the discounted price without signing up. They generally don't accept returns, but I had to return something and was persistent about it. I think they finally honored it cuz I'm an foreigner.

No durians. I was not brave enough to try a durian.

Christmas time in Singapore.

Backpackers.... holy crap that's a lot of gear to lug around. Don't be them, travel light.

Funny Ikea Commercial

Old ladies selling stuff

Clean Sparkling Toilets!

Fake watches... Chinatown of course

Ok.... my last country on this trip will be next in my next post: On to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia via first class train.

Some More Singapore Food

This post just has some random food I got on my last night in Singapore... I mainly indulged myself with those pot stickers.

Man... I'm totally hungry for them right now! Without further adieu, proof I am a fatass...

Making my pot stickers.

pot stickers.... one of my many weaknesses

Some peanut snack.

Yeah man, I'm such a fatass, Pot stickers, two dishes of Xiao Long Bao, and a strawberry fruit smoothie. Do you see the two chopsticks? Yeah.... they thought this was for two people. Nope, just for me!

Another strawberry fruit smoothie.... jealous?

Fried seafood on a stick.

Ice Cream and Waffles at the Mall.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Singapore: Fort Canning Park

Yes yes, it's been over a year and I still haven't caught up on my blog? Shameful..... well I'm still trying.

On my last full day in Singapore I went to visit the Fort Canning Park. It is here where the British lost Singapore to the Japanese in World War 2 on Feb 15, 1942. The fort is a nice peaceful park area where you can escape the hustle, bustle, and noise of the rest of Singapore. You can visit the Battle Box, the British base of operations during WW2, take different walks which explore Singapore's history and archeology, or read about the vegetation on the signs posted along the paths.

The Battle Box Brochure.

Battle Box Map

Stairs up to the fort.

Fort Canning Park Map.

Raffles Terrace.

South Battery Cannon.

14th Century Walk - one of the informative walks at Fort Canning Park, I took this walk.

Map of the 14th Century Walk.

I think this was the Fort Gate... but I can't remember.

View of the city from the park.


A sally port at the Battle Box.. the command center for the British in Singapore.

Battle Box Entrance.

I walked in and was greeted with this sad looking manikin of a british solider.

Walk past that manikin down those stairs and you can tour it... only it was closed when I got there. Drat.

Tickets to the Battle Box can be bought here.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Haggling while Traveling 101

While I was abroad traveling in Asia I went to many open air markets like the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok. You're gonna have to do some haggling whether you like it or not, unless you don't mind getting ripped off. Prices are often marked much higher than the merchant is willing to sell it for. Here are some tips I learned. I don't remember where I learned them all from, probably from reading websites, books, talking to other travelers, and just being there to experience it all myself.

1. Do not haggle on prices for food. This is not acceptable.

2. Put your money in different pockets. Split it up, you'll see why later.

3. Scout the market out. I like to walk around the market first and check out the prices. If there's something I want I try to keep an eye out for it and note the price everywhere I see it. If you need to, find a safe place (nobody looking) and move the amount of money in your pockets so that 1 pocket has the amount you want to pay. Put some more in another pocket just in case.

4. After you have an idea for the price find a merchant you want to buy it from.

5. You don't have to be nice, but that doesn't mean you have to be a jerk. Start low, so if you wish to pay 50% of the listed price start at 25% or 30%.

6. Always smile while negotiating price. You can politely point out things that are wrong with it and say it's not worth that much -- WITH A SMILE. Most of what I've read from hippies say don't do that because the merchant will lose face. I say hogwash, I've never seen one care -- they just want your money and they know they'll never see you again.

7. Invariably you will probably lose this battle of haggling. They do this everyday, and you are used to going to the Mall and just buying at the window price.

8. Ok this is where the real trick starts. Remember the money you put in different pockets? This is where it comes in. If the merchant isn't going for your price put your hand in your pocket and pull out your money. Hold it tight and wave it in front of them and say the amount and "I buy". For example, "30 baht, I buy!". Often seeing the money makes their eyes open wide and they'll go for it. Congrats, you have successfully haggled for something. If they're still not going for it, then you have a stingy merchant or you are just too cheap. Move on to another merchant and try your luck again.