No Camera Crew, No Ambassador, No Tears

Nothing at all like this. No little stage at Sentosa, with people bearing gifts and cakes. None of that for me. I am definitely sacking my PR outfit, and employing someone new.

Instead all I got was in trouble with the beach patrol at Sentosa, for taking my bike across the rope bridge leading to the southernmost point of the Asian continent. I had ignored the “no bicycles” sign, and the megaphone telling me to leave my bike behind. I got across, got the photo, and then meekly went back across with the lifeguard. He did say he could take me to their office, and give me a cup of tea while he explained all their safety rules to me, but we both agreed that might be a waste of time. So he let me go. Just as well. I could have gotten 10 lashes of the cane, or something like that.

Because I am now in Singapore! After 388 days, and 24988km, I have made it to Singapore. Yes, I know, you’re thinking “why didn’t he go for a victory lap around Singapore, to make it 25,000km?” I thought about it, but decided that the next few km can wait. I’ll do them soon enough – Australia should be at least another 4,000km.

So now I’ve got a little while off the bike. I’m going to head back to Thailand, do a dive course there, and muck about for a few days, before heading across to Darwin, to do the last leg down through Australia.

After KL, I headed down to Melaka with Jan. Melaka was nice, and could be worth staying a few days, but I was keen to get the riding out of the way. Special mention to the Discovery Cafe in Melaka, where we stopped a couple of nights. The Carlsberg reps were on site, and they insisted on giving me and Jan free beer, constantly topping up my glass. Made trying to study a touch difficult.

From there it was a couple of days further down to Johor Bahru, the border town. A bit of a suspect place. Lots of people were drinking at street restaurants, which made me wonder if it was a duty-free town. But not to be…it’s just even more expensive to drink in Singapore. I think I’ll have to boycott alcohol. That’ll teach ’em.

The elections were interesting in Malaysia – flags and bunting everywhere, and I was given “Barisan Nasional” flags to carry on the bike. They didn’t do as well as they would have liked, but luckily the streets were quiet the day after. People were just going about their business, cleaning up the old posters. No trouble. I’m sure the Foreign Office would have had me stay inside that day, barricading my hotel door, but I wasn’t having any of that.

Overall Malaysia wasn’t that great a place to ride in – a few interesting things, but far too much traffic around, and with the level of development, it’s getting a bit anonymous. Not quite the Asian place I expected. Perhaps it all comes down to the high price of beer? Maybe I need to go back to Langkawi where it’s duty-free, do some comparative analysis?