11 June 2012
RENGIT (MALAYSIA) – SINGAPORE (SINGAPORE)
START 7:00 FINISH 16:00 DISTANCE 131KM RIDE TIME 6H56
I didn’t have a good night’s sleep. The porch light and my sore knee kept me a wake. 6:30 a.m. I saw the owner as he left for work. I pretty much got up then and at 7 a.m. I was on my way. There was some loud thunder and lightning about. For 10 minutes my knee felt ok and I thought this is good. Then a very sharp pain arrived. This concerned me because continuing to cycle will just aggravate it. Though later in the day it did seem to sort itself out. I cycled 32 km and then stopped for breakfast. I went to fill my ice coffee glass with the table water. Only to get a scream of NO……………..The water in the jug was in fact water to wash your hands….oop’s. A local in the restaurant did kindly pay for my breakfast.
I took an early turn which took me along a narrow road passing through palm and coconut plantations before I rejoined the main road. Stopped for a fresh pineapple. Midday the rain came……………Normally I am pretty good at finding somewhere to shelter. This time I got drenched. I did stop at Mc Donald’s to spend my last Malay dollars before leaving. Following the signs for the border with Singapore I found myself cycling right up to the bridge and customs point. No time to stop and spend my very last Malay dollars as there were no shops and no time for some more lunch. Before I knew it I was leaving Malaysia. I found myself cycling over a bridge with 500 motor bikes and then I was in Singapore.
Straight out of customs and onto the motorway for about a 20 km cycle in the city. I ended up doing about 35 km after getting a bit lost. The traffic on the motorway was heavy. Making lane changes difficult. I am lucky as through contacts I have a place to stay in Singapore with some expats from New Zealand. All the roads were busy………..even when I left the motorway. When asking for directions, I was told that’s upmarket…………when I got there…………it was flash. Reflections at Keppel Bay is in front of the marina and overlooks Satosa island. This is the biggest upgrade I have had since I started this trip. To think that last night I was sleeping in a tent. I was a little embarrassed turning up to such a nice place a little rough looking but Hayley was very welcoming. Her husband Brett works in the film industry and they have two kids Ryan and Finlay who are 3 and 5. Very quickly I was clean again and on a tour of the complex. We finished off by going for a swim. On the way to the pool I was introduced to the vice-president of Oracle by the President of Oracle Singapore, who is one of my friend’s neighbours. It was only the next day I learnt who he was – he is Australian and asked me if I was planning to cycle Australia…………
DAY 438 and 439: SINGAPORE – REST DAYS
Day 438: Tuesday – With Singapore being so much more expensive than most of the other countries I have been to, though I am very lucky to have a place to stay because hostels here are about the same price of a hotel in Malaysia, the plan is not to stay too long – just grab a few things and get over to Indonesia. In the morning after dropping the kids off at preschool,
Hayley kindly showed me around. We had a look through Chinatown and went and ate some good cheap food in the Hawker market. I then went off to find a bike shop and bought up on supplies to get me through Indonesia and to the relative safety of Australia. I bought two brand new tyres for the bike, some new cycling gloves. The last ones were falling to bits, and a spare inner tube…………I now have 3. I don’t want to get caught short again like I did in Cambodia and some wet lube for the bike. It was a successful shop and afterwards I visited a few temples on the way home. I have been very well looked after by Hayley with some very nice home-cooked meals. Last night I was treated to New Zealand lamb sausages………….so nice. My clothes are all clean again and ready to go.
Day 439: Wednesday – 10 days in Melaka I couldn’t find a boat from Singapore to mainland Sumatra. One day in Singapore I got a result which now means I won’t have to back-track to Malaysia after all. After asking around at the ferry terminal I was told I could get a ferry to Batam Indonesia and from there I could get another boat to Jambi mainland Indonesia.
I was told it went once a week. But no-one knew which day or what the name of the ferry company was. But one of the girls in one of the booking offices was a star. She said she would find out and email the info and by late afternoon she had. I had taken her email address and told her I would hound her if I didn’t hear from her. Good news. One ferry company goes on odd days and one company goes on evens, once a day in the morning. Now after some further research I have found the boat goes up river and drops me at a tiny little town about 100 km from the big town and in the middle of a swamp. I think I am going to be in for some interesting days ahead. This morning we did a little more sightseeing getting the very modern and clean MRT rail over to the Marina sands – very flash hotel and shopping mall. In the basement is a canal with little boats to sail in. The mall was full of very expensive shops……….all the designer labels are here.
To get to the Marina Sands we walked over a bridge which gave a wonderful view back to the city centre. For my last night in Singapore I made the most of the swimming pool by having one last swim…………..what a view looking into the Marina and all the very nice boats. Was thinking it would be nice if one of them could give me a lift to Australia
DAY 440: SINGAPORE – SEKUPANG BATAM ISLAND, INDONESIA
DISTANCE 12 KM BY BOAT
To get to mainland Sumatra I need to take two boats over two days.. The first is a short 45min boat to Batam Island. I was very lucky that it was only a 10 min cycle from the apartment to the ferry termnial.
I took the scenic route past the Marina and along the water’s edge. I left my bike outside the shopping mall while I bought my ticket and then went and spent all my remaining dollars on razors and toothpaste……………….only to discover when I got to Indonesia they do have supermarkets and it’s a lot cheaper.
Check-in for the boat was just like at the airport. I had to take everything off the bike to get it on the conveyor belt. I then had too wheel the bike round to the back room to load it up again. On reaching Batam I had to put everything through the x-ray machine for the Indonesians.
I then went straight to the domestic ferry terminal which was a real step down from the modern international. Domestic was a free for all. I did manage to buy a ticket for tomorrow for the one and only ferry of the day. It was midday and I didn’t fancy sitting at the port for just under 24 hours. Town was 20 km away. So the plan was to leave my bike with the ticket office go into town for the day then come back tonight and then collect my bike and camp at the port before catching the ferry tomorrow. That was the plan………..It started well. I left my bike in the ferry office and the boss even offered to give me a ride to town. When I asked him what time I needed to be back to collect my bike. He said 9am tomorrow. That changed plans somewhat. The office was only open between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Batam is a very modern island with lots of resorts. The town was full of big shopping mall.
I went and sat in the mall wondering what I was going to do for the rest of the day. People only come to Batam for massage and the seafood. Its not that small as a island. I ran into Katy, a girl I met on the ferry. Her friends had seen me and she came out and invited me to join them for lunch. They live in Singapore and 8 of them had come over for the night. After lunch they were going for amassage……………….so I tagged along. Ended up getting a 2-hour massage. Started off with a 1-hour foot massage for $6. Hadn’t had a foot massage since China and it was great……..I even fell asleep. I can easily justify this massage because it should be part of some sort of 6-monthly maintenance program. After all it is my feet that are driving me around the world. For the next hour I got an aroma massage with oil…………..and a cup of ginger tea at the end. I should now be ready to pedal some miles. The group kindly asked me to join them for dinner as well. We got a taxi over to some famous seafood restaurant on the water. For 9 people it was only $58……………………….so cheap. A birthday cake arrived………………..It was Katy’s Birthday. Like New Zealand…………in Singapore when it’s your birthday you shout your friends. So I was very lucky to be invited.
Early I had decided I would just go back to their resort and get a room for the night because it was only 10 mins from the ferry terminal. So we got back there at 11 p.m. at night. They had all come on a package for about $45 for boat and room and transfers. Shame I wasn’t on that package because my room was $50…………………………that is twice as much as I have ever paid……………..I am going to have to spend a lot of time in my tent to make up for it.