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Chinese New Year Part Two

February 23, 2010

Monday (02.15.10)

While Johor Bahru is visible from Singapore, it actually took us over 2 hours to get there because of customs and bus queues.  We stayed at the Thistle which seemed like the only half-decent hotel in the whole city.  Oddly, there was a Ladies only Floor and Ming and I were put on it (I’m sure there were other dudes on the floor….I think).  Jane and Lizzy were in the room next door and our new friend from Italy, Diego, was on a proper floor.  We decided to go get some beer for the room and the hotel directed us to the Zon (no ‘e’).  The prices were half that of Singapore so we were super excited and probably over-bought.  When we tried to leave the Zon, customs stopped us.  Apparently the area was a duty-free zone, but once you took the beer out of the area you had to pay a duty on it.  We were left with a choice of drinking 30 beers in a duty-free mall or pay the duty.  It sucked, but at least it was still cheaper than Singapore.

On our way back we decided to try the local cuisine and picked the most popular spot.  The meal was excellent until we came across a giant rat that casually walked across the floor as if he owned the place.  All the other customers just continued to eat while us Foreigners sat there with our mouths open and legs above our or seats.

At night, we went “clubbing” at a local haunt and got more bottle service.  At this point, my liver was about to explode from alcohol after months of inactivity in a strict Muslim country.  We didn’t get home until well past 3 AM.  Lizzy and I had wanted some food so we ordered some crème brûlée.  When the room service arrived, the guy was acting very weird until I realized he probably thought I was having a weird sex party with the Fajardo Sisters on the Ladies Floor.  Ming had already gone to sleep in the other room, so it was me and two ladies ordering dessert late at night.

Tuesday (02.16.10)

The next morning we went into town to do some shopping and eat some food.  The Fajardos bought some bootleg DVDs which worked surprisingly well and we headed back home to clean, safe Singapore (Earlier, Jane had read that once in Johor Bahru we had to be careful of purse snatchers and men with large knives who would take any opportunity to rob and rape us.  Let’s just say she was a bit paranoid while walking in Malaysia at night).  We didn’t do much else except watch the bootlegs.  The Blind Side….brought a tear to my eyes and Jane was bawling.

This is actually an inside joke. Not with any of these guys. They ARE the joke!

Wednesday (02.17.10)

My last full day in Singapore was pretty uneventful.  Lizzy decided she had one-day mono so she slept nearly the entire day.  I met up with Jane and Ming for Dim Sum in Chinatown and then Jane and I got foot reflexology done.  At night, I met up with a relative of mine who happened to live in the same building as Jane.  We went for some Korean food and then ended the night at a sake bar.

Thursday (02.18.10)

Final night.  For lunch, Lizzy and I met up with Fred, my relative from the night before, for some chili crab.  I’m still craving that stuff.  Afterwards, I did a little shopping and got a purely Asian haircut.  I, now, have a mullet.  We decided to meet up at the Swissotel for drink at a sky lounge called the Equinox.  A few bottles of champagne and I was ready for my long flight home to Cairo.

This was our view from the Equinox.

I’ll definitely be back again.

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