Sayonara? To Singapore

Singapore is a Communist country. A huge city state at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula, about 30 miles north of Indonesia across the Singapore Strait. A communist country with benevolent but authorian leaders. Drug trafficking is a mandatory death sentence by hanging. No questions asked. Everything is uber organized and squeaky clean and beautiful.Think Disneyland. All taxis are new and spotless. Our metered taxi from airport taxi stand to our Airbnb was a Mercedes with leather interior and a lit up taxi sign on top.

70% of Singaporeans are ethnic Chinese with the remaining 30% being Indian, Malaysian and Arab. Singapore has the highest per capita income in SE Asia. All manual labor is done by dark skined Malaysians. Even they are on their Iphones on their breaks and always have a broad smile when eye contact is made.

Singapore is a model for China. One party but a benevolent party. Are we reading this Putin and your oligarchs?

Gotta go to bed. Up at 4:30 AM tomorrow, out by 6:30 for our 16 hour flight home at 9:30. Yawn!

Bangkok Really Has Become A Second Home

This has to be over our 20th stay in Bangkok. We started in hotels the first three times then moved over to serviced apartments which are huge in numbers in Asia but not in the USA. This trip was our first Airbnb stay. Price was great, 60% of a serviced apt.but the daily room service is missing. You have the same towels but no washer or dryer for 4 days. At home that is OK but in Bangkok one takes 2-3 showers a day.

The BTS Skytrains are jammed like never before. The attached photo is at 9PM mid week. When we first started coming to Bangkok the BTS was under construction. When is opened it was empty. The Thais were shocked at the price. Fast forward 15 years, the length of the routes and stations have doubled, and ridership is up 20 times?? Ten more stations are under construction as lines are extended.

The BTS is an elevated train system. They also have an underground subway system called the MRT. This opened 10 years ago.

We have been amazed at the construction that goes on not only in Bangkok but all large cities in Southeast Asia. The residential highrises follow the BTS stations. Some developments encompass an entire city block. We are talking 40-50-60 story highrises. Bangkok has hundreds of these highrises spread out over the city and there must be 50 under construction. The construction cranes are visible everywhere.Has always been like that over the years.

Tomorrow we are off to Singapore. We haven’t been there over 15 years. Like Bangkok, the changes will be immense.

Rachamankha Chiang Mai Keeps Getting Better

This was our fourth stay at Rachamankha. An amazingly quiet and serene stay in the heart of Chiang Mai’s walled old quarter. Beautiful rooms filled with antique furniture and covered outside corridors with framed antique prints, sculptures and document chests.

We did a day trip to a Karen village and saw the longnecked women.

Ate all four dinners at Rachamankha. No reason to leave campus. Their breakfasts are served by waiters off menues. The breakfast bone china is pretty special.