ON FROM DARWIN
DARWIN TO BRUNEI - 1/6/04
Well after 5099k's, 54 hrs & 16 mins. in the saddle and a max. speed of 140km/hr, with a moving average of 94km/hr. (Isn't technology wonderful!). I can finally put the GARMIN 60C GPS away until Singapore.
At Darwin airport I happen to start a conversation with a couple who are on the same flight with me to Brunei, he happens to be the brother of David Lang, who I had met previously at the first Australian meeting of H.U. at Ulmarra in NSW. David and his wife Cheryl were an insperation to a lot of people at the meeting. Check out there story on H.U.
Mal runs an Aboriginal Settlement in the Kimberley region of West Australia, called OOMBULGURRI, I asked them could I visit them sometime on my travels, they said no problems, just give them 2 weeks notice, so they can get permission from the local ondiginous owners!
BRUNEI THE DRY PLACE (No booze in Brunei) - 2/6/04
Well, If you got duty free your ok, the smallest and one of the cleanest Asian countries (outside of Singapore). There is not many tourists around, they seem to use the place as stopover to Europe or Borneo, were it much cheaper.
The locals don't pay taxes and don't seem to work too hard, the local Prince appears to own most of the buildings, he has so much money, he just builds mosques and hotels layered with gold for the hell of it.
Since I was in Brunei for a couple of days, I decided to do a couple of tourest things, so equipped with binoculars,water bottle, raincoat and hat, off we go by boat into the deep jungles of Brunei looking for the elusive Probosis monkey, after about half an hour motoring along the might Brunei river, we slop at a clearing to cat a glimse of the wolds largest monkey, with those big noses. Apparently the male is the only one with the snoz, and the longer it is the more girlfriends he has! The locals call these guys Fat Dutchmen, because of their fat bellies and big snouts, so much for colonial supremacy.
Anyway we finally got a look at a whole bunch of them swinging in the trees, they sleep in the branches overhanging the river, because they have a tendacy to fall out of bed and waters softer. Well, as we were observing our distant cousins we motored around a bend and bloody housed appeared, we hadn't left the city! The guides threw us a bullshit story about how reclusive the monkeys are, and here they are living new to a subdivision.
I wasn't impressed with Brunei, perhaps if I had more time in Borneo, it would have been different.
ON TO SINGAPORE - 4/6/04
Well, just an over crowded Asian city, over priced, over regulated and I couldn't wait to get out of there. Oh, its clean!
I got accommodation at the YMCA Metropolitan, which was clean and handy to the business area, at $70 a night, around middle of the road for Singapore. As I had 3 days before Doris arrived, I just walked around doing more touristy things, the Zoo is ok, so is the War memorial.
Finally monday 7/6/04 arrives, so its off to shipping agent to arrange to get Doris out of the container.
BE WARNED! Singapore is notorious for paperwork in volumes. They have inherited the worst of the British Empire. I t has been well documented in H.U. but you have to experience it to believe it.
9.00am sharp at shipping agent, fork out $10 for a taxi, then $45 for the shipping agent, off to the Port Authority by taxi, another $10, pay the Port Authority $2 for a pass, then go and find the bike.
Doris was released from her container, and we were reunited and on our way, only as far as the customs gate, were I was informed I need insurance from the AA. Another $10 taxi, and another $170 from my wallet, then back to the Wharf, yep another $10 taxi. get the Carnet stamped, and I am on my way to get Doris serviced at Performance BMW. These guys are very professional, and did a good job.
However I lost another day because of beaurocracy gone mad.
PREPARING TO LEAVE SINGAPORE FOR MALAYSIA - 9/6/04
I finally got away from the hotel at 9.00am, fist destination the Jahor border crossing,into Malaysia.
The roads in Singapore a quite confusing to a visitor, and of course I got lost, around in circles I went, until a friendly biker on a Honda Gold Wing helped me out and went out of way to show me the way to the border, he actually went there so I could follow him.
This is the second biker who went out of their way to help me, make sure you ask guys on big bikes, their usually older, not the young idiots that run around on 125cc 2 strokes, they have just no idea, suffer from NFI desease, NO F---G IDEA.
Getting out of Singapore was a lot easier than coming in, took about an hour total a both borders, remember what your mother taught you, always be pleasant to the Police and smile and shake their hands when leaving. On to Johor, and guess what, my luck had run out with the weather, because of a dirty big typhoon over the Phillipines, I got utterly pissed on and lashed with gale force winds, it wasn't cold so I persavered and rode the 180k to MALAKA, managed 120k/h on the expressway with a few cars passing at about 160k/h.
Posted by Tom Forde at June 10, 2004 07:48 PM GMT
I booked into a backpackers lodge, reccommended by 2 bikers I met at the BMW shop in Singapore.
It's called KANCIL GUEST HOUSE (Mouse Deer in Malay). Give the owner Daud a ring on 06 281 4044 or check his web site out on www.machinta.com.sg/kancil/
He is a biker and has security around the back for your bike. Single room rm18.00, breakfast rm8.00. Bloody good value.
MALAKA is an historical town going back 400 years with the first Portugese Traders, it's worth a couple of days stop over, and the owner of the guest house can really spin a yarn about travel, keeping the young back packers intregued for hours, I'd better not say to much, I may corrupt their innocent minds!