Sunday, 6 July 2008

Plans For National Day

The weekend of August 9th provides a rare holiday opportunity given that it in encompasses Singapore's National Day.

As we are planning a trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia later in the year we thought a couple of days away might be all wished to do in August.

Given the spiralling costs of travel with everyone except Singapore's few remaining trishaws adding a fuel surcharge, the options are not that great.

Younger Singaporean colleagues love to travel to Bangkok but having been there before, it doesn't appeal all that much and my wife had a very unpleasant experience with food poisoning on her one and only trip into Thailand many years ago.

I recall also being laid low with the Thai equivalent of "Delhi Belly" as I was half way up the steps of one of the many Wats in the Thai capital - not an experience either of us are keen to repeat and the traffic congestion in Bangkok, once experienced is never forgotten.

With all of the above in mind we opted for a two day cruise aboard the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius. Some great deals are currently advertised in the papers so yesterday we went down to Star HQ in Singapore, Park Mall.

Alas, the dawning of the age of "Aquarius" is not to be. The two day cruise on the Friday and Saturday night was booked out. Why we asked do they not indicate this fact in their advertising? This would save a lot of time and bother for nothing. Naturally we got no straight answer.

So it was that we got back on a bus and headed to a travel agent in Chinatown that we had used before when we booked a previous journey to the Malaysian Highlands.

We have decided this time to travel on the overnight bus to the Genting Holidays and then stay another two days in the First World Hotel. The bracing zephyrs of highland air will be a welcome respite from the June/July hot season of Singapore.

One just has to hope that the deteriorating political situation in Malaysia doesn't put a dampener on proceedings or for that matter that the bus does not catch fire or run off the road as it descends from the resort - which seems to happen with increasing frequency if one believes the local press reports.

Meanwhile the National Day bunting has gone up at the front and back gates of our condo and Singaporean flags are reappearing on the HDB balconies.