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July 2005
Sun June 12: John and Jamal arrived back from their two week holiday in Malaysia and Singapore. The boys were glad to be home after covering over 5731 km, 619 km by train, 938 km by bus and the balance by air. The highlight of the trip was traversing the famous 
"Jungle Railway". We flew with the Malaysian discount airline Air Asia, all the flights were late, varying from 1 hour, to 5 hours for our flight home. Apart from their consistant lateness, which I'm assured is not normal, the service was excellent, 
On board we feasted on Air Asia's pay as you go menu of biscuits, instant coffee, tea and noodles. Air Asia exclusively fly old Boeing 737-200 aircraft. They have just placed an order with Airbus for 50 new aircraft.
Air Asia In-flight treats
Now we can't really complain about Air Asia, they made our holiday possible with a great A$170 Denpasar - Kuala Lumpur return fare. Other airlines charge up to A$400 for the same flights.
On board Air Asia
KLIA Airport
Arrival - Kuala Lumpur
We landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at around 7pm. Took the A$3 public bus on the 79 km 1 hr ride to the city. Then the Light Rail (LRT) to China town where we booked into the A$30/night China Town Inn.
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KHO News
Deni at the KHO
Jamal's younger brother came down from Bandung to look after the KHO while John and Jamal went on holiday to Malaysia. 
While we were away he repainted the  roof of the KHO.
He returned with Jamal to Bandung days after our Malaysian return.
Jamal to Bandung
4 days after our return from Malaysia, Jamal returned home to Bandung, West Java, to visit his family. Jamal stayed in Bandung 
for two weeks. He reports that his mother, Ami is in good health and all are fine. He travelled
down with brother Deni on the 25 hour, $30 bus. Jamal chose to return by train, a little more expensive, 28 hrs, but "more comfortable" said Jamal.
Ines' Andi in Singapore
At the end of the month Ines and Andi headed off to Singapore. Andi will do a two year catering course 
there. Ines accompanied him a few days before the July1st school year began to help find him some affordable accommodation in the northern Woodlands area near the Singapore school.
Allan in Town
Well known American globetrotter Allan Zeroworkski who lives between California, Myanama, Thailand an Nepal, was in town for a few days to catch up with friends. Allan's visit coincided with Andi's farewell dinner at the very popular Warung Italy in Seminyak.
Ines in rubber boot mode, as Allan tells of his latest meeting with the King of Nepal. "Nice warm and wonderful guy", Allan assures us.
Singapore bound Andi with John
Andi in Spanish Jail
Another friend Andi, also at the Andi Singapore farewell, has just returned from holls in Europe
Andi & Andi
with friend Geoff, where he spent a night in a Spanish jail after illegally entering Switzerland. He didn't realize Indonesians need a visa.
KHO Kitchen Reno
While Jamal was in Bandung, John busied himself between dinners, renovating the KHO kitchen to a colonial version of the modern stainless steel look.  
Cutting Metal
The first job was to remove and cover over the passive air vent and install an electric exhaust extractor.
Before                After
The entire cement bench top area was covered with shiny metal.
Work in Progress
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Indonesian News
David J. Booth MBE
June 29: David Booth, the  founder of the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP), has recently returned to Bali after a trip back home to the U.K. where at Buckingham Palace where he was invested with the MBE Award.
David receives his MBE award from HRH Prince Charles
David is a MBE recipient in The Queens 2004 Birthday Honours List for "Services to sustain development in rural East Bali, Indonesia." 
Bali Power Crisis
Bali: The Java-Bali electrical power grid is suffering a sudden and severe shortfall in power generating capabilities estimated at between 77 328 megawatts. 
Officials say will persist until late June 2005. The power crisis has been brought on by repairs currently being carried out on gas supply pipes feeding the Muara Karang and Tanjung Priok Steam Generating Plants in Java. These repairs have put added strain on a power supply system already operating at near maximum levels. Most major hotels in Bali and Java and many places of business already have back-up emergency power generation systems in place to ensure uninterrupted power supplies to their customers. 
The KHO Power Battery Inverter Emergency Back-Up System
The Indonesian government has announced that 13 countries in Europe and the Middle East may obtain a visa-on-arrival (VOA) in an effort to attract tourists to the country amid terrorism fears. The new countries are, India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Egypt, Austria, Ireland, Qatar, Greece and Luxembourg. Still the Netherlands and Sweden were not included, though due to be for security reasons. This announcement has yet to become law, if in doubt check with your Indonesian Embassy before travel. 
Kuta Security Clean-up
Bali's Chief of Police, Made Mangku Pastika, is calling for the creation of "SATPAM Pariwisata" or special tourism 
security guards as a necessary step to improve security in Kuta and surrounding areas. After an incident involving gang violence at Fuel Bar on Jalan Legian, in the early hours of Sun, June 6, 2005,
Indonesian  Pirates
Microsoft, is to grant Indonesia an amnesty on pirated versions of its Windows program used on government computers in exchange for a token payment of US$50,000. In exchange, Indonesia would promise to purchase authorized MS merchandise and launch a major crackdown on a pirated software racket that is one of the world's worst.
'Buy local ships' - SBY
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) called for firms to buy ships manufactured locally to help save on foreign exchange, at a ceremony for the hand over of the 30,000 DWT, Fastron tanker from state shipbuilding company PT PAL to state oil and gas firm Pertamina in Surabaya, the tanker is the biggest ever built by PT PAL.
PT PAL docks in Surabaya
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Minor Injuries to 10 Pax
A Garuda Bali to Japan Flight encountered mid-Air turbulence on Wed, June 1, 2005. The Airbus A330 aircraft carrying 161 passengers and 14 crew encountered mid-air turbulence while on a long final approach to Kansai International Airport.  5 pax and 5 crew were injured.
Garuda A 330
Bali - War on Drugs
Bali's Chief of Police, Irjen. I Made Pastika, said "it's all out war" in the battle to rid narcotics from the popular resort island. The comments, from the man named "Asian Newsmaker of the Year" by Time Magazine and now an Order of Australia, for his Bali bomb work, follow closely on the recent sentencing of 28-year-old Australian, Shapelle Corby, to 20 years imprisonment. Bali's drug trade was in large part fuelled by demand by foreign tourists. Pledging to go after "the big bosses both local and foreigner" the 
police chief said that "we are not just blindly catching the small suspects and the petty offenders."
Only Dopes Bring Dope to Bali.
GA increase Aus Flights
Despite calls for Australians to boycott Bali, airline Garuda Indonesia on Wednesday announced an extra weekly flight between Australia and the popular tourist island to cope with increasing demand.
Indo Cricket
Australia's Northern Territory Cricket and the International Cricket Council have announced a cricket development partnership with the Indonesian Cricket Foundation (ICF). Indonesia will be assisted with, coach education courses, administration and strategic planning advice. The partnership will compliment the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) staff in Indonesia. Indonesia has made exciting progress in cricket development with playing numbers growing from 300 in 2000 to almost 11,000 in 2004. Indonesia will compete in the EAP Cricket Cup tournament in Vanuatu in late September.
Mandala to Spain
Indonesian domestic carrier, Mandala Airlines, owned by the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad), is planning to fly to Spain in line with the improving performance of the private airline. 
Mandala Airlines currently operates 15 Boeing 737-200 Advanced which require a relatively short runway  and are thus uniquely suitable for Indonesian conditions. The airline has 5 new aircraft on order.
Feb 12, 2005, Mandala Airlines B737 runs off the runway in Semarang, Java. The aircraft was carrying 30 passengers, none were injured. The aircraft is repairable, only suffering a broken nose wheel.
Flying in Rainy Season
Every year during rainy season Indonesia suffers many runway overrun accidents due to aircraft aquaplaning on flooded runways during heavy rain. Many airports in Indonesia have sub standard runways, originally designed to take a Folker Friendship aircraft. When an aircraft touches down it is only a few kilo's over weightless, if the runway has a layer of water the aircraft can aquaplane on the water extending it's landing run - not desirable when the runway length is critical.
Pilots of the new Low-Cost carriers are often put in a dangerous circumstances, forced to land in stormy conditions in order to maintain the extremely tight flight schedules demanded by the carriers. Aircraft utilization is one of the key factors in reducing cost.
Lion-Air 2 fatal overruns
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Kuala Lumpur
In KL we always stay right in the heart of China Town. China Town is the life of the City, runs non-stop 24 hours selling anything you may want or not want.
Street Market from our window
Everything from fake DVD's, fake Levi's, fake designer handbags and 
of course fake watches. John bought himself a fake Brietling Aviation watch. Just A$5.57.
Room at the China Town Inn
Ventilated Street Canopy
Since we were last in KL they have now built a turbine ventilated roof over the market street. Quite an impressive structure, some 400 meters long it runs the full length of Jalan Petling. The canopy protects all the street stalls from the daily afternoon tropical downpour. It took 2 years to construct and I'm sure cost a fortune. The sellers must have a good political lobby group.
Shop-house from our window
Selling fruit in the street
Nearby Chinese Temple
After a few cocktails we headed around the corner from our hotel for dinner a'l fresco at the Pavilion, one of the myriad of street eats that spill out to the closed street.
Next morning off to the Swiss Inn, 2 doors up from our hotel for their great buffet breakfast - all you can eat and drink for A$4.80.
The rest of the day was spent shopping. John went looking for bookshops and Jamal went to Little India and the Petronas Tower for yet another look.
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The Petronas Towers
Built  1992-1998
Floor Count 88
Elevator count 76
Height 452.0 meters
Jamal finds a cat in a pet shop
That night we went to the OLD CHINA CAFE for dinner.
The Old China Cafe is like a Shanghai Tea House set in the 1920's complete with 20's crooner music, The place is full of antiques and serves authentic straights Nyonya food and incredible coffee. They serve cocktails and a selection of good imported wines. I had the Nasi Rendang & Jamal Nasi Goring, both excellent. Price reasonable.
The Old China Cafe
Jamal at the Old China Cafe
Off to Kota Bahru
Next day after lunch we headed out to the Kuala Lumpur airport, for our AirAsia flight to Kota Bahru. The flight as usual was 1.5 hours late when we finally took off. 20 minutes into the flight we did a screaming left turn and the head flight attendant announced we were returning to Kuala Lumpur because the Boeing 737 aircraft had a technical problem.
Flight Emergency
We turn back to KL
Everybody on board was concerned - Air Asia doesn't exactly have the greatest safety record. I asked the Flight Attendant what was wrong, but she had no idea. However I knew once we sighted the runway at KL and there were no fire tenders, it could not be too serious. Jamal, who hates flying was terrified. Although he became very chirpy after the successful landing.
We waited a further 2 hours in KL, while the aircraft was taken away and had a new set of spark plugs fitted. Finally we took off and had an uneventful flight to Kota Bahru arriving at 10 pm. 
We took a taxi into town and stayed at the Temmengong Hotel .
The Temmengong Hotel
Although Kota Bahru is in the state of Kelantan where they observe Muslim Suria Law - although they stop at hand amputation for thieves and stoning for adulterers, it is a modern, friendly clean city.
Gambling, Billiard Parlours and alcohol is not allowed. Although we did manage, thanks to the Lonely 
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Planet guide book, to find the only bar in town, up some unmarked stairs on the first floor beside a Chinese restaurant. The Bar was able to obtain the licence to exclusively serve the Chinese community. A sign just up the stairs and another in the bar made it very clear that Muslims were not to enter and would not be served.
"Food and Drink not for Muslim"
The friendly Bar Girls
Kota Bahru has the distinction of being the first place attacked by the Japanese, who landed on a beach near the city two hours before the W.W.II. attack on Pearl Harbour.
The Japanese bought Kota Bahru under Thai control for the duration of the war. Subsequently there is an interesting war museum in Kota Bahru with many Japanese weapons,  uniforms. paraphernalia, photo's and displays.
Kota Bahru War Museum
War Equipment
By the 1820's Kota Bahru was the most populous and one of the most prosperous in the Malay peninsular. The city has many interesting historical buildings.
Colonial House
Main Street
Lunch at the Grand Hotel
The City Market
The Town gates
A Coffee Shop
City Mosque
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The famed "Jungle Railway" or East Coast Railway runs 640 km from Kota Bahru (trans: New City) in the north of Malaysia, near the Thai border, down the Malay peninsular to Singapore. To experience the scenic journey through the jungle we took the 3rd class day train
that stops at every station and village along the way - needless to say the train is very slow, but ideal to experience the jungle. As the trip is so long we decided to break it up into three segments and enjoy some of the towns on the way. The line commences at Wakaf Bahru a 
3 km taxi ride from Kota Bahru. There is a fast night express train to Singapore from Kota Bahru but unsuitable for sight seeing.
Our route from Kota Bahru 
to Singapore
Before leaving we studied the map and went to the train booking office the day before departure to get an update on the actual train schedules.
Planning essential
There are two day trains departing from Kota Bahru, the first at 0600 which goes through to Singapore and a local train at 1330 just to Gua Masang arriving at 1730. We decided to take this train as the 0600 departure would not have been practical. The train was late, which we were told was normal. We finally left at 1430 and arrived at 1900. 4.5 hours for a mere 170 km. The train ticket cost A$2.40.
Start of the line - Kota Bahru
The section to Gua Masang is flat at first, then enters mountain country. The area is dense jungle, the railway being the only communication for villages along the way. The train stops at each village unloading, goods, produce, chickens, pigs and people.
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Waiting in Wakaf Bahru
Motor Bike cargo
Signal Box at Wakaf Bahru
Kota Bahru > Gua Masang
Our train finally departs
Farmers cottage
A lonely house in the jungle
Lonely Outpost
Yet another stop
At last Gua Masang
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Gua Masang - Main Street - Railway Station far end
Finally we arrive in Gua Masang. The name of the town translates as Gua (Cave) Masang (Civet Cat). The town is surrounded by spectacular lime stone mountains which are full of caves, originally the Civet Cat lived in these caves. After finding a  hotel we relaxed with a couple of scotch's from our supply. This town is still in the state of Kelantan where under Muslim Law, alcohol is forbidden. 
We found the best restaurant in town De Maxim's of Gua Masang.
De' Maxim Restaurant
Our A$15 Hotel Evergreen in Gua Masang
One of the many Cave Entrances in the Gua Masang Mountains
Gua Masang > Kuala Lipis
The next morning we headed off on the next leg of our journey, 95 km, 3 hours to Kuala Lipis.
Yes it's a Railway Station
This section of line is through heavy jungle and mountain country and borders on the Taman Negara National Park a virgin jungle reserve full of mountains and bordering the north lakes
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A more substantial Station
Waiting for the train from the opposite direction
More Jungle
Even more jungle
Train-side catering
A Siding
The end of the Jungle Line - Kuala Lipis
Early in the afternoon we arrived at Kuala Lipis, a surprisingly modern town, after some we had seen on our journey. This was the end of the jungle travel and now we were in the state of Pahang which has slightly more liberal drinking laws, we even saw a bottle shop.
In Kuala Lipis the old British Resident's Hill Station Mansion has been turned into a hotel. We had planned to stay there. However 
they were fully booked out due to the Malaysian School Holidays.
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Instead we booked into the Jelai Hotel overlooking the Jelai River.
The Jelai river from our room
Kuala Lipis is a small town with a strong colonial past and was a gold mining centre long before the British arrived in 1887. Many grand colonial buildings date from this period. The railway came through the town in 1924. Recently many gold mines have been reopened using modern recovery techniques.
Jamal outside the Kuala Lipis Train Station
The Kuala Lipis Rail Station
A few doors up from our hotel we found "Flash Jack's Bar", Jack Teh the owner, was a very wealth man until he lost all his money in the Asian Financial Crisis - his answer was to open this bar, the only one in town. Licensing Laws are strict, he can only open from 6-12pm.
Jamal, John & Flash Jack
The Kuala Lipis Mosque
We stayed two days in Kuala Lipis, a nice town with friendly people.
Kuala Lipis > Singapore
From Kuala Lipis we took a fast express train through to Singapore, which departed at 0800 and arrived in Singapore at 1800.
Catching up
Comfortable Air-Con Train
A Smoking Stop
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Before leaving Malaysia at Jahore Bahru, the Malaysian Immigration Officers board the train and stamp travellers passports.
Crossing the Jahore Bahru - Singapore Causeway. Note the large water pipes - Singapore has no water of it's own and must import it from Malaysia.
On arriving in Singapore at Woodlands everyone must leave the train and go through Singapore Immigration. The operation is surprisingly efficient considering the thousands who cross daily. Although a new bridge has been built traffic is always chaotic on the Causeway especially during the rush hours.
The Singapore Station
With land prices at a premium hotels are very expensive in Singapore often 50% more than you would pay in another city even the YMCA is A$90 per night.
We spent two nights in Singapore and stayed at the very economical A$40  Hotel 81 Gold  in Geylang. The Hotel 81 chain have 
8 hotels in Singapore, they are all reasonably priced. The low price is achieved by the rooms being quite small - somewhat like a European Pension, however all the fittings are first class. Each room has a window, there is an ensuite, air-con, Tv, a hot water jug, water, coffee, tea and instant noodles.
Hotel 81 in Geylang is 4 stops (8 minutes) on the MRT rail system from the Central Business District and 15 minutes from the airport.
The Geylang area is a predominately Malay area with lots of interesting coffee shops.
Geylang Coffee Shop where we breakfasted
The first night we headed off to Bugis Street for dinner in an Italian Restaurant - we wre a bit over Chinese food by this time.
Jamal at Bugis
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Fortunately the Geylang area of Singapore was mostly spared from the demolition squads when the Singapore was modernized - the area features many interesting colonial shop houses and cafe's
After breakfast we headed off to Orchid road and later Bugis St for a day of shopping.
Orchard Road
Singapore Quay Dining
For our last night we headed to the Quay area on the Singapore river, where there are dozens open air restaurants along the quay.
Singapore > Kuala Lumpur
Next morning off to the Queen St. bus station and the $1 ride via the Causeway, Singapore and Malaysian Immigration, to Jahore Bahru where we caught a 4 hour express bus to Kuala Lumpur.
Jamal relaxes on the Sin-KL Bus
John at KL Bus Station
Jamal back in KL
KL from our hotel window, the Telkom tower in the back
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China Town Police Raid
One afternoon while we were staying in China Town KL, the Police raided the hundreds of stalls in the street market, selling counterfeit watches, handbags and jeans. The stall holders quickly packed up and left in seconds.
Counterfeit watches
Fake Rolex's sell for a little as A$4. 
Empty street after the raid.
A few hours after the Police left, all the stalls were open again, however many were being cautious to keep an eye out.
Nervous stall holder
Excursion to Ipoh
The next day we headed to Ipoh by bus, a 3 hr trip on the main northern  Highway.
On arrival we checked into the Majestic Hotel, which is part of the Ipoh train station, the building is known locally as the Taj Mahal. Ipoh was once called the City of Millionaires, made it's fortune from the tin mines in Kinta Valley. Ipoh is renowned for it's grand colonial architecture, much of which has remained to this day.
The Grand Old Majestic Hotel in Ipoh
The Majestic Hotel Chain
In the Grand Days of the British Empire there were many Majestic Hotels in Malaysia, most either in or adjacent to the city railway stations. 30 years ago I stayed at the KL Majestic Hotel, now sadly gone. The second last remaining Majestic in Malacca closed it's doors three years ago.
Our room at the Majestic
The upstairs restaurant
Our Bathroom
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Stateroom - Our room left
Majestic Entrance
Tropical downpour
The right wing
The Majestic at Night
Ipoh Station Classified
The Ipoh railway station including the Majestic Hotel has now been classified by the Malaysian Government, who are currently spending a fortune restoring the old railway station to it's former glory. The Station Master informed me that it is not a white elephant. Currently the Government is duplicating the track between 
Kuala  Lumpur and Butterworth and after completion they plan more train services to attract tourism to the area.
Station Renovation
Station Interior
The Irony is that there are only two trains a day, the KL train departing at 0150 and the Butterworth train departing at 0113. They plan to renovate the Majestic Hotel interiors when the station is completed, no doubt upping the price to international standards.
The Ipoh Town Hall
The Birch Memorial Clock Tower erected to the memory of JW Birch, Perak's first British Resident who was murdered. The tower tries to show more cultural sensitivity than Birch was reputed to have had.
Restored Shop houses
We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed Malaysia. We recommend, as a great destination.
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September 19, 1945 while on conducting a patient transfer from Biak (then Dutch New Guinea) to Townsville, Queensland, Australia, a Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) Douglas Dakota C-47. identification number  A65-61. with 29
Douglas Dakota C-47
passengers and crew crashed in the Carstenz Ranges in Irian Jaya, a month after Japan surrendered at the end of World War II. 
Aircraft Found 1970
The crash site was discovered by mining explorers in 1970. Last month the remains were recovered by a joint RAAF and Indonesian Air Force team which travelled to the region as part of Exercise Dakota Recovery.
Medical Kit found at the site
Personal possessions of the passengers and crew were also found. 
Memorial left at the site
"The successful recovery exercise demonstrates the importance of the close working relationship with our regional neighbours and serves to
forge even closer ties between our respective air forces," Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill said in a statement. A formal military funeral is planned for the crash victims at the Port Moresby War Cemetery in neighbouring Papua New Guinea later this year
Baik was already known to various Indonesian Empires. Indeed, the Ancient Indonesian Majapahit empire raided the West Coast - What is now called Biak and the Birds head - for slaves. Biak is on  the rim of Cendrawasih Bay, on an island of the same name. There are some good beaches, the most popular of which are Bosnik on the east coast which is good swimming and skydiving, and Korem on the north coast, where one can watch young men dive for pearls.  Garuda have a daily flight from Bali to Biak via Makassar, dep: 1015.
Douglas Dakota C-47
Was the military version of the civil Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Engine: 2 x 1100 HP Wright Cyclones or 2 x 1200 HP Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasps. Length:19.66 m. Span:28.96 m. Speed:170 knots (312 km/h). Range: 1500 NM (2500 km).
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