Thursday, November 29, 2012

South East Asia Travel Prep

It's going to be 38 in Melbourne today. Which has got me thinking: there's not going to be a lot of weather once Tim and I get to Phnom Penh. By that I mean it's going to be the same forecast, every day, all year. Phnom Penh is quite close to the equator which means daily temps have a lower and upper of about 22 to 34 degrees Celsius. All year. The only difference seems to be the amount of rain that falls and whether there are mangos in the markets.

I've got just three weeks of work left, then it's Christmas in Melbourne, New Year's in Tasmania with Tim's family and friends (first time meeting everyone--I hope they like me, I'm taking their baby/buddy overseas and away from them) then back to Melbourne briefly to collect Tim's car and our suitcases. Then we're driving to Sydney via Benalla, and stopping overnight there to visit my dad who's in town for a gliding competition. We have two nights in Sydney seeing more family and friends, then we fly out to Singapore on January 8.

Every time I say Singapore to myself I get a little excited. I don't know much about the city, but what I've read and seen sounds a) delicious (Singaporeans love their food. Hey, I love food, too!) and b) beautiful. It would be nice if we had the money to stay at the Marina Bay Sands with their infinity pool on the elebenty-eighth floor, but it's the cheap and cheerful Geylang district for us, with its claypot dishes and Happy Smile Hotels. For more on Singapore, particularly the food, I recommend Anthony Bourdain's 'Singapore: The Layover' episode of No Reservations.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where Tim and I will be staying in Singapore.
 HAHAHAHA. Kidding. But dammit I am going up to the rooftop for a cocktail. 

Travel preparations are going ... along. It feels like we're barely doing much to prepare for living in another country, me for the first time ever. Tim's lived in LA and Indonesia, owns two t-shirts and five computers, so his pre-packing is non-existent. I've taken bags and bags of clothes and boxes of books to the op-shop. I'm being ruthless, keeping only a few winter essentials to store in Melbourne, and just two bookcases of books. My brother and his girlfriend, whom I live with, are going to mind my things, which is so very wonderful of them as now I don't have to find storage for my bits and bobs and furniture.

We've had our first round of shots. I wholly recommend The Travel Doctor on Little Bourke Street. Dr Sonny Lau was lovely, and the nurse Jo gave me three of the least painful shots I've ever had. Only two more rounds to go! (Ack.) My mother has been sending me articles about dengue fever, which I'm dutifully ignoring. I know what you have to do to try and avoid getting it, but there's no sure-fire prevention and if you get it you just get it. I don't need to read about stage-four haemorrhaging. Worry isn't prophylactic.

On the bookish side of things, my publisher Zoe has set up a meeting in Singapore for me and my distributor there to meet up and also visit some booksellers. I'm looking forward to going to Kinokuniya for starters.

And what I'm looking forward to the most? Putting 'Writer' on my immigration forms for the first time. Oy vey. Five weeks to go.


  1. If you get a chance in Singapore you should go to the Battle Box in Fort Canning. It's where the Allies surrended to the Japanese in WW2. The day I was there the Australians, Germans, Malaysians and Brits on my tour all left with tears in their eyes. I'd say it would be a good place for a writer to find inspiration. Enjoy living overseas it's something everyone should do at least once.

  2. You have family history in Singapore - I lived there for three years as a kid! If you get a chance, go and visit the National University of Singapore - which is on Kent Ridge and looks down on where we used to live. I think what was the RAMC officer's mess (further along on Kent Ridge) is now part of the university.

    I loved Singapore as a kid and didn't go there for nearly 30 years (I was there in 1970 for two weeks with the RAFVR and then visited again in 1998 from the USA). On my return I was quite excited - but quickly disappointed. "My" Singapore was no more - it had become too clean, smelled too nice and had lost its fizz and buzz. During one of my many visits there around the turn of the century, I caught a faint whiff of the old Singapore (smelly drains in tropical heat) and explored a side street that lead me to some of the old housing I remember from my childhood...

  3. I've never been out of Singapore airport but you can probably do a whole holiday just at the Airport alone. It's got hotels and oh so many designer shops!!! Enjoy xoxo

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