Thursday, May 03, 2007


I'm in Singapore, for a week of vacation. Armed with many pleasant memories of taking the train in China, I decided to go by sleeper train to Malaysia for three days.

On the train, you can sleep in a real bed, with sheets, instead of a narrow airplane seat. The sway of the train lulls you gently to sleep.

I booked the deluxe sleeper cabin. The web sites says this comes with its own private bathroom, towels, complimentary dinner and breakfast. What a delightful description!

Our train was scheduled to depart at 10:15pm. It was delayed for FIVE HOURS. I sat until 3am in the humid Singaporean train station, where the heat was abated only slightly by the small ceiling fans.

Finally, the train arrived. I got settled into the compartment. The bed was quite comfortable.

30 minutes later, loud knocking on the door. I tried to ignore it, which generated another bout of even louder knocking. I opened the door. It was the attendant, handing out towels.

Another 15 minutes later, he knocked to pass out fried noodles.

I finally drifted to sleep, then was suddenly awakened and forced to walk through an immigration line.

Afterwards, the passengers were finally permitted to get a few hours' sleep, before loud knocking to collect the towels.

Shortly before Singapore, there was a final call, to pass out dry coconut rolls for breakfast.

The service did meet the letter of the description. But something got lost in translation, I think.


minya said...

Sorry to hear about the train... I always thought Singapore should be much better than this, from what I heard from others... Anyway, have a nice vacation~ You sure deserve it!

Thomas said...

same with minya, sorry to hear about train ride and the lack of sleep. I thought you were going to tell us...

"knock, knock"
"who's there?"
"I'm sharing the cabin with you!"

Prolific Programmer said...

@minya, The train was not in Singapore, it was in Malaysia

Have you tried the Swiss trains? Punctual, fast, cheap, quiet -- just like Switzerland itself.

Natalia said...

Sounds a lot like an airplane flight. Just when you fall asleep they shove a tray on your lap.

But I love trains! We need more in the US. You can optimize your travel time by reading or working rather then driving.