Bike-Ride to Australia Friday 17th-February-2012. Simpang Renggam, Malaysia to Singapore. 75 miles. I was trying to find an excuse to complain to the hotel management this morning! But I couldn’t fault the place. I don’t think the pretty manager from last night would have been working that early anyway! Breakfast was across the road from the hotel, in the same restaurant as last night. Duck, rice and coffee, that kept me going for a while.
There was no rush today. As I thought Singapore was only forty miles away. Obviously not! Well, it was, but it was still a few more miles to the heart of Singapore, where I needed to be.
Don’t Be Lazy Fix It
I got a slow puncture early on this morning, and because it was slow, I ignored it and kept pumping the tyre up. Eventually, the air came out too quickly, and the inevitable happened. I had to stop and repair it! I’d just finished the repair when a car pulled up alongside and out jumped a man. He introduced himself as Rahman and said that he, too, was into cycling. Although his cycling was off-road on a mountain bike.
We chatted for a while before inviting me to the café across the road, where he brought me lunch. Over lunch we talked about my trip, he was very interested in my bike and took loads of photos. A couple of his friends from his cycle club also came along to say hello. After nearly an hour, I thanked him for his hospitality and left to continue my ride.
The Malaysian/Singapore border wasn’t too much further once I’d left the café. Only another hour or two. I had a bit of trouble getting onto the bridge that connects Malaysia and Singapore, but a kind old man on a scooter led me the way. Getting out of Malaysia wasn’t a problem, but getting into Singapore was a little problematic. The over officious border guard kept asking me how I would leave and where was my flight ticket home! Not again! I could feel Bangladesh happening all over again! I explained that I was getting the ferry to Indonesia. So, where’s your visa for Indonesia? She asked. It’s visa on entry, I replied. This went backwards and forwards for a while until she finally gave in and allowed me in!
Country Number 16
Now in Singapore, my map was useless! Because of its large scale, the word Singapore covered nearly all of the country. There was only one road showing, a motorway, so I had to go for it! I don’t mind motorway cycling as a last resort, as I feel pretty safe on the hard shoulder in my own lane. But I sometimes wonder if I have a death wish when I try and cross four lanes of fast-moving motorway traffic when the motorway splits!
Halfway down the motorway, the heavens opened. Fearing for my safety, I took shelter under a bridge, along with a monkey! Others quickly joined us, also sheltering from the rain. As we all waited for the rain to pass, a police car came past. And I suddenly remembered that chewing gum was banned! And what was I doing, chewing gum! I quickly swallowed it just in case he stopped. He didn’t. But I must remember to keep my gum away.
I made it to Singapore city and found a hotel in Chinatown. The room is pretty small, made even smaller by having my bike with me. But I’m more than happy to have to climb over it to get in and out! The hotel is also surprisingly cheap, granted it’s a bit more expensive than what I’ve been paying. But a lot cheaper than I’d expected.
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