I left Singapore with sadness in my heart. The week with Iunia had been amazing and to leave such a wonderful woman (and free rent) to pedal thousands of kilometres may seem like a fool’s decision. And it probably is. I couldn’t stay forever though and off I went.
Crossing the causeway joining Singapore and Johor Bahru in Malaysia turned out to be simple enough. I’ve read stories about the difficulty of riding a bicycle across, but it was a breeze and I only broke about four traffic laws.
As soon as I arrived in Johor Bahru I became aware that my memorized Google Map was not going to cut it. I stopped at a petrol station, bought a map, and had a very delicious ice cream. I was about to get some Malaysian cash from the ATM when I made another realisation; I didn’t have a clue what the Ringgit was worth. Would a 1000 ruin me or would it be worthless? I used my nine year old Lonely Planet and the prices at the store as a guide and decided that it would be a good enough amount of money, for now.
The map was about as good as my memory though and it took many wrong turns to get to the road I wanted. I also learned that you can not trust local people’s ability to give directions. Not trust at all. I got really frustrated and just wanted to get out of this congested city!
My initial plan was to stay a night in JB but had been strongly advised against it, so I had decided to continue riding to reach the west coast before it got dark. It felt a little awkward to ride on the left side of a five lane highway but I was smiling and waving to all the nice people that were honking for me! (Yes mom, I do wear a helmet).
Concentrating on the traffic and the shattered glass, which where absent in Singapore but existed in abundance on the Malaysian shoulders, I rode the highway for longer than I would have wished for when the lanes suddenly got fewer and the traffic got lighter.
After a rather pleasant ride I saw the ocean as I had reached Pontian. I quickly checked in to the first hotel that I found, hungry as I was. The room was probably overpriced, but as I didn’t know the value of their money I couldn’t really tell and didn’t really care.
The evening ended with a long overdue but delicious Goreng Cina right next door.
8 km from the bicycle store to Iunia, yesterday.
91 km from Boon Keng, Singapore to Pontian, Johor, Malaysia.
Crossing the causeway.