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Well, after spending the last

Well, after spending the last month in the developing world, we crossed over the border into Singapore and I now find myself sitting in a lovely cafe with free internet access over a 3.5mbps connection. It feels good to be back in civilisation even though a coffee here costs more than a good meal did in Thailand. We haven't really had a chance to get online in the last couple of weeks so I'll fill you in on what we've been up to since I left off...

After hanging around bars for most of the night in Chumphon, we made our way to the railway station, which, though dead during the day, had burst into life now. Our train appeared at 0230, and we pushed our way through people asleep on the floor to find our beds. Sometimes my eyes are a bit too sharp - I wished I hadn't seen ants and fleas in the sheets I was about to sleep in, but I did. The train pulled out of the station and I fell fast asleep until Nina woke me up as we arrived in Trang and I began to count my bites. We spent a couple of days there, then took a minibus out to the island of Ko Lanta. We'd been told that it was low season and accomodation prices were cheap, and sure enough we soon found a nice hut on the beach for $US2 a night and we went for a swim. We did, however, spend much of the night awake watching a fist sized cockroach hanging happily from the ceiling above our bed.

The next day we rented a motorbike to see the island and took a trip to Kao Mai Cave. Unfortunately, the guide couldn't find any batteries for his torch and so we sat and waited for half an hour until he got his torch working. It was well worth the wait though as we would never have found the caves without him. We climbed a waterfall and descended through a small hole in the rock into a huge maze of caves beneath the hillside. It really felt like being Indiana Jones and we spent over an hour crawling through small passages and walking through enormous caverns, some of which were full of bats.

Our visas for Thailand were about to expire by now so we took a train south and crossed over the border into Malaysia. We arrived in Georgetown on the west coast, but unable to find a room that looked like it had been cleaned in the last five years we booked into one of the most expensive hotels in town and spent a couple of days relaxing by the pool. We then continued down to Kuala Lumpur, but really we weren't enjoying Malaysia to nearly the same extent as we had liked Thailand. The people didn't seem as friendly, many of the cheaper hotels were filthy and many things were on a par with European prices so we jumped onto another night train and ran for the border.

Singarpore has to be one of the most advanced places I've ever been. The GDP here is higher than in any European country and the city of 4 million people seems unbelievably efficient. It's a huge change from what we've been used to lately.

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