I felt elated to be back on Dozer and riding down to Singapore. I decided to make the short 360km journey last 2 days and I wanted to stop in Melaka. I wanted to go visit mini Malaysia a world heritage site and was really looking forward to it. So after finding a hotel and having a much needed shower after my ride in the Malaysian heat I asked at reception what the best way was to get to Mini malaise a bus or taxi, only to be told that it is currently closed due to reservations NO WAY that is so not fair damn I was gutted. Well next best thing was to go exploring Melaka’s old town / china town and canals. The building in Melaka need a good lick of paint and a little tender loving care but looking beneath this one can see some stunning little places. Taking a canal ride at night was great because everything looks so pretty all lit up.
My favour thing in Melaka are the ‘pimp my rickshaw’ rickshaws. Well a picture paints a thousand words so say no more. The best thing about this rickshaw was that he was blaring out the most hard core death metal I have heard in a long time, so figure 🙂
The heat in Melaka is almost unbearable and unlike most cleaver Malaysians like Khairul family who wail until it cools down to go to at night there I was traipsing around the town with a handful of other tourists. Since it is school holidays the place should be very busy, but there are only a few people out in this heat which is the best thing about braving the daylight hours. At night the place teams like an overcrowded ant farm with hundreds of holiday goers but the atmosphere is quite electric.
I have become as addicted to Mango smoothies as I am with 3 in 1 creamy coffee. the main difference is that in this heat if I had a creamy coffee I would certainly spontaneously combust. SO mango smoothy after mango smoothy I managed to survive a couple of hours before heading back to the safety of my air conditioned room to wait until dark to take a canal cruise.
After Melaka I continued down to Johor Bahru which is just outside Singapore. Since Singapore is so expensive I was originally going to stay in JB and just go to sing for a daytrip. However I decided against that as I really wanted to stay in Singapore. It is however extremely complicated to take a bike into Singapore and one needs a Carnet. This is the only country in Asia what asks for one and I was sure as hell not going to get one just for Singapore as they cost loads and for a 2 day trip decided against it. So Dozer had to stay in JB while I went to sing.
However riding down on the motorway while trying to find a roadside that said Singapore to take a photo of I missed the turn off to JB. There is not a single road sign that says Singapore on the motorway, only signs for woodlands, whish the entry point. Next minute I was at the border crossing…damn I am so gutted that there is no Singapore sign I can put Dozer in front of for a picture. Well I went through the Malaysia border crossing and customs (since there was no way to turn around on the motorway, and I had missed the 2 exits) I didn’t stop at the drive through passport and customs controls as I had no intention of leaving Malaysia, and no one stopped me…crazy, all I wanted was a place to turn around and hopefully a sign that says Singapore, but no luck. Well I realised that I needed to do something as I was now in mans lands and I had had enough of mucking around with immigration officials and did not want to push my luck, like in Russia. SO I pulled over and told an office looking person that my GPS was not working (I had turned it off) and I was lost and missed my highway turnoff and had no intention of leaving Malaysia how do I go back. He freaked out, demanding my passport, I said I did not have it on me it was back in the hotel (it was safely tucked away in my pocket, but I knew if I produced it I would need to go through passport control as I was just not bothered to do all that right now) hmmm now he was a bit stuck and had no idea what to do with me, and kept asking why I was not stamped out of Malaysia. I told him no one stopped me and I do not want to leave Malaysia so do not want to get stamped out I just need to turn around and go back. He demanded my passport again and demanded I remove my helmet. I shrugged kept my helmet firmly on my head (I am now bored, tired, fed up that there is no Singapore sign and just want to turn around and go back and find my hotel in JB) and said I have no passport. I am genuinely shocked at how calm I stay at times like this. At work I am a TOTAL stress monkey, make me do a presentation and I almost have a meltdown, but while travelling, police , officials, customs, immigration etc just don’t bother me at all.
Well this poor little immigration guy was stumped I was as calm as a cucumber, making myself look as innocent and lost as I could, not getting upset raising my voice or giving in to his passport demand or demand to take of my helmet. He turns around and calls his superior officer on the radio. I explain the situation to this guy, smile sweetly. He says no problem you see that man in a blue uniform standing on the curb, you drive up to him and behind him there is a little alleyway you go down there and it will get you back on the road, good luck, THANKS sir goodbye. I like nice people in uniforms, so easy so simple no fuss.
Turning my GPS back on I find my hotel. Using the Agoda website online I had booked a myself into an inexpensive Boutique hotel for the first time . I thought Boutique hotel a pseudonym for funky very expensive guest house. Well it isn’t I now know (or maybe it was just this one) that it means cute funky little hotel and this one was really cheap and lovely. The only downside was the street side parking. However Khairul had a friend working at the Johor bahru specialist hospital and called him and arranged that I store Dozer in the staff car park while I am in Singapore.
So off I go to the hospital and at the reception they tell me that Ahmin is not in and will be back in an hour. No problem I go have some lunch. When I returned I am told that he is delayed and will be another hour. No problem I say I’ll wait. The receptionist asked me if it is important and must she call him. I explain about the parking and she does not quite understand so calls the hospital liaison officer. I explain the situation to the nice lady and she says oh no problem we can help you there is no need for you to wait around for Ahmin. WOW so nice. So she calls the head of security (for someone who hate sot put people out or cause a fuss, seriously if you ever met me you would know I hate more than anything imposing on people and like things simple, well on this trip I sure as hell have not done simple and once again caused quite a stir, but in a good way … I think ) anyway this lovely lady and the head of security come out and take a look at my bike in the parking lot and decide the safest place for it would be right in front of the hospital, where there are 20 signs saying no parking no parking. This is the drop of place where cars drive through. I try put Dozer as out of the way as possible, am assured by the head of security and hospital liaison officer that he will be fine and I must go off to Singapore and have a good time. WOW once again blown away by peoples generosity and kindness.
… tomorrow Singapore