Its been six days since we started. Four nights in air conditioning and finally one without!
Just after we received the call that the bikes had turned up at Changi airfreight terminal six, I was almost running at 1000 miles an hour packing things up and getting ready to start riding. Little did we know about the fun we were about to get into with trying to even ride them in Singapore...
After packing all our gear up, we went down the street from Lloyds Inn (our hotel) to get some breakfast. With the sweet spot Clarissa had picked we had a handful of fantastically cheap little places to grab a feed. With a portion of 'power soup' and cans of milo we were off and racing towards the airport to grab our Carnets from the shippers. After heading out and retrieving thus mentioned paperwork, we were excited to find that we would have our bikes in under an hour.
So we raced back to the AAS (Automobile association of Singapore) to get our ICP (International circulation permit, $50SingaporeDollers). The ICP allows you to ride in Singapore but we didn't know what else was tacked on. First you need insurance ($300SDG for Clarissa, $360SDG for me). Ok, a bit steep for ONE DAYS RIDING. But then also an electronic tagging machine each ($170SDG we were told later). With the costs getting above $1000SDG my head was spinning at the craziness of it all.
I asked our wonderful lady at the AAS if she could call me a tow truck and we could cut all this rubbish out and just skip riding the 60kms to Malaysia and have the bikes trucked instead. She did and we committed. We soon met Daniel from Bikebulance and he did an amazing job of translating/customs mediating and having a good old yarn about our two very different countries.
$530SDG later and a trip to the airport for the bikes had me happy they were in good condition. Not on a special pallet that we had heard about, but instead both bikes strapped down on single aircraft pallet under plastic and netting. Not too happy about them being strapped down on the side stands but they didn't bend them (much).
Its now 7 o'clock in the evening. We've just had our farewell from singapore as the Bikebulance dropped us on top of the crazy western crossing bridge into Malaysia. Quickly packing the bikes from the now encumbering throwaway suitcase the thought of lobbing it off the bridge did certainly occur.
Ten minutes riding down the road and we were going through the truck immigration lane (as we were told too) to have our carnets completed. Somehow when we were told to leave I had to remind them that maybe stamping our passports too would be a good idea...
A short ride later and we were now at our first service station in Malaysia. 76 ringgit (aka, $24AUD) later and we had now 40l of fuel between us (wooohooo, cheap fuel, finally).
Now currently sitting in Melaka (about 200kms north of Gelang Patah, our first hotel) we have been relaxing and soaking in the old history and wonderful chow on offer. Using Melaka as a base for sorting the next few weeks of riding out, we are having a great time at Raymond's fantastic little River view guesthouse. Its costing us about $60AUD a day on average so far for food and accommodation as we get into the groove. The bikes are locked and wedged in out the front (we are the first overland bikers to stay here Raymond tells us!). We could be going significantly cheaper but we've decided to live it up a little for a while!
Beers quickly push the daily costs up but we are pretty good at finding silly cheap and great food. This meal here (two garlic Naans and Dhal, two big bits of tandoori bird, three lassi's and a coke) was only 30ringgit/$10AUD.
The view of Malaka from their crazy sky tower (80M high elevation viewing platform!)
Neil and his favourite past time. Making things go bang!
Well its time to do some yoga and probably fall into a food coma :)