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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

anywhere; when leaving a subway station, you were left to guess in which direction to head. On occasions I caught glimpses of signs, only on closer inspection to find that it was just another list of things you're not allowed to do...

I got my own hit of retail therapy when we discovered a huge bookshop on the top floor of Suria. I noted that people were squatting all over the place in the aisles and reading, and no-one was telling them to move here. This is a good place, I thought. I should support their liberal seating policy and make a purchase here.

And so to Noesha's protestations - "But you're on holiday!" - I bought a hefty book on computer programming ('Beginning PHP5, Apache, and MySQL Web Development' if you're interested), doubling both the weight of my backpack and my geek status in the process.

That evening we chipped out to Little India again and discovered a huge weekend market. Snacks of all sorts were up for grabs for tiny money, and we stuffed ourselves as we strolled through the carnival atmosphere, with Bollywood tunes blasting and spicy smells wafting temptingly from the stalls.

And not a restrictive sign in sight.