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Kathryn and I have been having a wonderful time in Singapore. We've especailly enjoyed the area where we are staying. Little India is charming and eclectic.Yesterday, we met up with a friend of a friend from the Oregon coast. Ching was intent on making sure we had what we needed for our trip. She is fantastic and graciously met us at the hotel and, right away, talked us through our route out of Singapore into Malaysia. Then she took us for some terrific local foods. We had crispy Chinese rojak, spring rolls with shredded turnip and crab. One roll was mild and the other spicy. We had a noodle dish of Char Kwai Teow and chicken rice. Everything was delicious. We talked about many things in Singapore. Ching told us how driving a car is truly a luxury. The certificate, not a license, to drive a car for 10 years is $50,000. The cars are also extremely expensive. A Mini Cooper costs $190,000 including the certificate. The cost doesn't seem to be deterring anyone from driving as every street is congested with traffic. This town seems to have enormous wealth.
Ching highly recommended doing the night safari at the zoo but we read the animals tend to hibernate when it's raining. At $26 a ticket, we really didn't want to wander in the rain and not see any animals so , unfortuately, headed back to the hotel. We got off the train a few stops early to walk down Orchard Street with block after block after block of ultra high-end shopping centers. I'm not sure I've ever seen as much shopping as there is in Singapore. I found the idea that people are buying all this stuff overwhelming. As much fun as we have had, seeing this level of commercialism and concrete sent me over the top and I was ready to get going.
In the morning, Sunday, we packed up our stuff and loaded up the trikes. I had a bit of a problem when one of my pannier clips that connects to the rear rack wouldn't open. It took awhile to figure it out and somehow using a small flathead screwdriver wedged under the latch worked. We loved staying at the Perak Hotel and some of the staff saw us off taking pictures. It was super hot and humid as we found our way through the busy streets of Singapore and within minutes I was dripping with sweat. After just 4.5 miles we pulled over to take a break. We noticed a small organic grocery and decided to spend the last of our Singapore dollars there. A few miles later I pulled into a bike shop hoping for help getting my SE Asia map loaded on the Garmin GPS. Whenever I brought up the map feature the Garmin showed us in the ocean off the coast of Singapore. Not very helpful. Unfortunately, the bike shop people had no idea how to help and we returned to the trikes. At mile 9 we pulled over again to take a break under the shade of the large tree snacking on some nuts and dried mangos. That seemed to give us a burst of energy that helped us ride the last 10 miles through Singapore crossing into Malaysia. We met a young Japanese tourer but he didn't speak English and all we could do is smile at each other. The border crossing was uneventful and our passports got stamped quickly. Just as we came into Johor Bahru the skies became dark and menacing. We decided to call it a day and found a wonderful hotel that was just opening. The price was right and we checked into a very nice room for $35. We barely got the trikes secured when the skies let loose with a torrential downpour and powerful winds. The oppressive heat throughout the day took a lot out of us. I wanted to explore the area but decided to put if off until tomorrow. What I really needed was a shower and a good nights' sleep.
First Day of the Asia tour
Leaving Little India and the Perak Hotel.
Kathryn at Malaysia border crossing - it was hot!
Myrtling out of Singapore.
Johor Bahru from border crossing.
Lovely Ching is a wealth of information.