Tuesday, October 28, 2014

River living Oct 2014

The Danga Bay Marina is gone!  They have started filling the area where we were docked just a couple of weeks earlier.  The barge moved in, banged up against one of the pilings and pushed it into a lean, got his anchor chain caught onthe wrong side of another piling and generally had a difficult time getting situated in the tight spaces between the little stationary tug barge and pilings.  Soon, though he began spewing sand off the end of the conveyor belt.  When they leave, there is always a lot of churning water as their props are partially out of the water as they've dumped their load and the entire boat has risen in the water by a few feet.  I'm finding it pretty interesting to watch this whole process.
 By the end of the day, you can see how much sand has already been dumped by a couple of big sand barges.  They rush in on the high tide and have to get out as soon as possible so another barge can come in and dump more while the water is deep enough for them to get in close enough to put the sand where it is wanted close to the shore.  Seems there is always one last barge that stays too long and has to struggle to get turned around and get out in the shallowing water.
Another view of the sand being unloaded.  I watched tourists and even a newlywed couple in their wedding finery come here to watch the spectacle and have their photos taken with the sand fountain in the background,

Jason in the "Yachtie Room" at Danga Bay Marina Club.  We spent our days in this air-conditioned room with free wifi. It's just too hot to sit on the boat during the day. Since there is nobody staying at the marina, we had good internet speed and got a lot done!  The marina manager is being paid to do nothing until the 'new marina' gets built.  They want to build a small marina for mega-yachts.  Nobody wants to deal with us little yachties.  We aren't really clear just where that new marina is to be.  If they keep piling sand on both sides of this river, there won't be room for a mega-yacht to get this far.
We noticed this monitor lizard on a ledge of a building walkway near downtown Johor Bahru ; he wasn't happy he was spotted and attacked his mirror image in a glass door before trying to escape away from out attention. We were coming back from submitting our applications for a visa to visit India.  We need visas before we leave for India and there are very few places for us to get them. They require that we fill out the forms online as they won't take hand written application forms any more. The system is designed to introduce you to the frustrating bureaucracy that requires infinite patience to deal with it.  I felt like banging my head on the door like the lizard had done.

They require biometric finger prints so we must submit the application in person.  They seemed almost unable to deal with my new passport as it didn't have a stamp showing I was even in Malaysia. Luckily, I had my old passport with the Immigration stamp date matching the issue date of the new passport, so they accepted our explanation and the submission of the application, but reminded us repeatedly that there were no refunds, even if the visas were denied.  And they don't give reasons for why they don't give you the visa requested.  Just throw lots of money out there and hope someone is feeling happy that day.
 We met up with a fellow Antares (the new company name after PDQ went bust) catamaran owner who happened to be in Singapore for a few months.  He wanted to talk about our experiences, so we headed across to Singapore for the day and he picked us up in his car and drove us around downtown Singapore showing us the sights we hadn't seen on our passport runs over here.  Christian's cat is in the States, but he hopes to begin cruising with is wife and 9-year-old son very soon.  The men talked boats all afternoon. This building below is the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, owned by the same Sands Hotel chain as the guys in Las Vegas.  It rained off and on so many other photos had water spots in them.  Singapore has some pretty amazing architecture and interesting buildings and statues and such, but it's waaayyy beyond our budget to shop the brand names here.  The cost of owning a vehicle in this city are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars!  No car can be more than 10 years old.  Perhaps some of the cheap used car imports we saw in New Zealand came from here, too.
 We just finished the Deepavali/Dipavali holiday and the streets of Little India area in Singapore were still decorated.  The high-end stores in downtown are already displaying Christmas trees and ornaments and such.  So early!  It's not even Halloween yet.
 A temple roof in Little India.  We've seen these colorful ornate temples elsewhere, but this one was all clean and shiny.  Very pretty.
 We found the wet market and the food stalls around it for lunch.  This stainless steel drum was used for baking naan (Indian flatbread).  The man in the next photo used two long metal rods to hook the bread and lift it out of this charcoal-fired 'oven'.  Talk about hot and fresh!  Oh so yummy, too.
 Christian and Jason at our lunch table.  The food stall with the man cooking naan is in the background.  We had tasty tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, and butter chicken with rice.  The couple at the table next door had 3 mini-buckets of sauces--dahl and some coconut and other sauce that we dipped our bread in while filling up.
 Christian and Jason at lunch in Sinapore's Little India food stalls.Christian said the government mandates that there must be food stalls within 7 minutes walk from anywhere in the area.  Everything in Singapore is 'planned'.
 Jason got a chuckle out of this sign as we walked back to the car after lunch.  Beer here is so expensive that Christian said he stopped drinking it.  We know the feeling and are meting out our beers to last us until we reach Langkawi again.

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