8/10 – Health update: remember the leech bites from Taman Negara? Well, mine healed up nicely, but Jim’s got infected (probably from wading in the river to buy our bus tickets), and really started to hurt. The bite area actually turned black and looked pretty awful, so before leaving Melaka, we decided to see a doctor and get some antibiotics. We tried buying antibiotics at the pharmacy, but unlike some countries we’ve been to, you need a prescription here. We found a clinic nearby, and the doctor saw Jim within 15 minutes. He cleaned the wound, dug out the necrotic skin, applied antibiotic ointment and a bandaid, then gave us 5 days of antibiotic pills, disinfectant, a tube of ointment and a half dozen band aids. We were on our way in 20 minutes, for about $25.00. Americans really appreciate foreign health care!
8/11 – Took a cab across town to get back to the bus station. We had been assured by a travel agent in Melaka that multiple bus companies ran buses to Singapore every hour, and there was no reason to purchase tickets in advance. Well, that turns out not to be true after a holiday weekend. We got to the station at 9am, but all the morning buses were booked, so we had to hang around the station until 1pm. Not so bad, and we had a nice lunch before we left.
There were signs at every seat on the bus that under no circumstances would the bus wait at Customs for more than 20 minutes. At the border, we hightailed it off the bus and jogged to the immigration line, then back outside to jump on the bus. We made it, but others didn’t, and the bus pulled away leaving people behind – Singapore doesn’t fool around!
The bus stopped on a busy street and let us out at the city center, just five minutes from our hotel. Singapore is a big, modern city, with the same cultures as Malaysia (it used to be part of Malaysia until it became independent in 1965). This time our hotel was in the Muslim area. There were so many shops with pretty headscarves, pins to keep the scarves in place, and colorful long dresses on display, I started looking at them longingly. I think I’ve been wearing my two tee shirts too long!
8/12 – We spent the day just walking around town. Lodging in Singapore is expensive, although the food is reasonable and delicious, and we will only be here a few days. Everything is very clean, and there are lots of rules here. This is the place where a person can get caned for spitting on the street. Don’t even think about stepping off the curb before the light turns green!
We walked through a busy market.
There was an employment agency on the corner near our hotel. Every time we walked by, we saw a row of identically dressed maids waiting for an assignment. We don’t know if the same women were there all day, or if there was a succession of them. Glad I’m not a maid…
Tomorrow we will visit the Botanic Gardens!