This week’s on this day post comes from the 17th-February-2012, and it’s my last day in Malaysia as I cross into Singapore, country number sixteen on my World tour.
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 to see the pretty manager from last night. But I couldn’t fault the place. And besides, I don’t know what I would have done had she even been there. Breakfast was across the road from the hotel, in the same restaurant I’d eaten in 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 this morning, and because it was slow, I just kept pumping it up every now and then. Eventually, though, the inevitable happened, and 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 he was also into cycling. Although his cycling was off-road on a mountain bike.
We chatted for a while before he invited 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 much further once I left the café. Only another hour or two. I had trouble getting onto the bridge connecting Malaysia and Singapore, but a kind old man on a scooter showed 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 my flight ticket home was! 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. And there was only one road showing, which was 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 passed. 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 small, made even smaller by having my bike with me. But I’m more than happy to climb over it to get in and out! The hotel is also surprisingly cheap. Granted, it’s a bit more expensive than I have been paying. But a lot cheaper than I’d expected.