- Flight – Oversized Boxes Nearly Got the Better of Us October 10, 2012Sam
So we and the bikes made it to Singapore- Hoorah! but not without a few hiccups on the way!
Tired on Saturday morning after some late night bike packing (which would have been even later if it hadn’t been for Sam’s dad’s help – thankyou) we then discover that Sam’s bike box wouldn’t fit in the car. Something we probably should have checked in advance!
After some hammer action from Sam’s mum (thank-you!) we managed to fit this into the car & on time. This was only after Jill from the Postoffice in Cirencester personally delivered our singapore & american dollars to the Gunner Household. Thankyou to Jill as well!
So our next fear was the airport – would they let us on with the bikes, would our luggage be too heavy? The answer being yes to both these questions. Luckily we had chosen a good Airline (Emirates), so when Sam’s bike was again too big to fit through the oversized luggage area, they allowed him to escort it through the the staff only security area. They also waivered a few extra killograms in luggage weight saving us £120 in extra charges! What legends!
Having boarded the first plane and being greated by a Rhianna look-a- like flight attendent, we found ourselves seated next to a delightful Zimbabwanean couple, who when we explain our trip to them, declare they are going to pray for us! Flights were long, but overall uneventful and broken up with a delightful trip to Oceans Basket in Dubai Airport!
On arrival at Singapore airport, Guns had the pleasure of digitally rating the toilet attendendent on an interactive toilet screen. Also our bikes not only arrived but beat us to the baggage area (that’s what i call efficiency at its finest).
It then occurred to us that we had not considered in any way how to get us+box+bike from the airport to the hotel. Guns thought we could cycle, I thought we could get the train. Both we were advised/told not to do by airport staff. Fortunately Singapore airport is full of helpful people and so after some confusion a minibus was ordered to transport us and bikes into town (abondoning the boxes outside the terminal, where we were told they would be swiftly removed). SORTED!
- Singapore – The Land of 1000 (Useless) Shopping Centres October 10, 2012Sam
Taxi ride into town from airport very efficient down tree lined streets & we got a good view of city. Arriving at the hotel, we reassembled the bikes with the help of the hotel porter (who appears to know more about our bikes than we do) who declared Jess’s chain would not last very long (updates to be provided).
We have seen lots of very interesting things, the new extremely futuristic Bayside Gardens (although unfinished) were very nice, we ate in communist style easting halls in China Town (where the waiter noticed Sam was struggling with his knife and fork so offered him a pair of chops sticks, which he continued to struggle with even more) and had a great curry in Little India.
On our final night we did the Night Safari, which was very good, although Jess wouldn’t recommend the (“stupid”) animal show, which she left early sighting reasons of animal cruelty.
We do have one burning question about Singapore. Why are there soooo many shopping centres everywhere?! All selling the same things, and none of it what we want??
On the first night we realised we have left the GPS devise & compass at home (silly us). Then in our jet lagged states manage to loose our only guide book within 4 hours of arriving! “No problem!” we thought, “We’re in Singapore so can pick up whatever we want!”. WELL THINK AGAIN!
Yes it’s true there are shops EVERYWHERE but not any useful shops, if you want shopping malls 7 stories high full of western clothing outlets then your in the right place, or entire sections of town dedicated to the selling of iPads and smartphones then look no further! If you want a bike shop your completely stymed, and when you type “Book Shops Singapore” you get one solitary hit, and it is on the other side of town.
But on the whole, a good city!
- Singapore to Johur Bahru (30km, although 5km due to getting lost). Should have been easy! October 11, 2012Sam
Our first cycling and what an interesting day it has been! We waived goodbye to our two favourite hotel porters & hit the Burkit Timah Road out of Singapore. Not a hard cycle but essentially the equivalent of a UK motorway with the odd friendly motorists inquiring about our journey!
Minus the intense heat (which we clearly aren’t used to yet) all went well until we approached the Causeway connecting Singapore to Malaysia. We had been told to look out for the motorcyclist lane but ended up in the car lane, with the motorcyclist lane on a flyover above us. (I think we missed the turning earlier.) Undeterred we hit the car lane-oops! Jess nearly got knocked off changing lanes, Jess’s kickstand fell off, Sam’s pedal nearly fell off then refused to go back on. After clambering over a few barriers we did manage to exit Singapore and enter Malaysia into Johur Bahru.
Visions of Johur Bahru as a small easily navigable town turned out to be false. We ended up doing a magical mystery tour of several bypasses & residential roads. At one point trying to hop across a 10 lane motorway, animals of farthing wood style, but decided against it. We did eventually give up trying to find the centre of town, stumbling across a random roadside motel, which we are looking forward to leaving tomorrow!
Learning from today – print maps before you go anywhere!