Saturday, 12 July 2008

Day 415 - Singapore, last day

Well a couple more days have slipped by and I am still here in Singapore. I replaced the chain whilst here and as I cycled out to the harbour the gears were jumping, I had left the other chain on for too long, it had become overstretch and consequently worn the cogs at the back, so now I had to get those replaced too. The cassette had been on since Delhi, so I can hardly complain. I found the bike shop but they didn't open until 11am, that's half day opening, though in fairness they do stay open until 19:30, so very useful hours if you live here. Thankfully you never have to go far to find somewhere to sit and have a drink. Back at the bike shop I found a pair of cleats so I snapped those up too, but I was amazed to find a rear light the same as the one that dropped off in India, the only type that fits onto the my bracket, so I felt like a kid at Christmas. Once I left I went for a pootle about. Whilst waiting at some traffic lights I was joined by another cyclist, a proper cyclist, a tourer, Wendy Chan, who lives here in Singapore and has the only custom built Roberts bike in Singapore. Chas Roberts is a high quality bike builder from London. We chatted a while then she lead me to another bike shop. As she lead the way she said "I am a bit concerned about my speed, I am a bit slow". Blimey! That's slow! Obviously over the last year I have become too accustomed to pootling about with all the time in the world, it felt pretty swift to me. Once at the next bike shop I felt I ought to do more than just window shopping, so I asked them to have a look at my rear brake which has become a little stiff. The cable had become rusty in the housing so the handlebar tape had to be removed and a new cable and housing were fitted whilst I stood around and chatted, all for less than the price of a cable at home. As things get slowly worse over a period of time you don't realise quite how bad they really are, I was amazed at the smooth operation and the fact that I could stop so quickly. I think I should now get the accelerator looked at now, though it going to be a much bigger job.

Today has been tying up a few loose ends, things that had to be done, such as sending various bits and bobs home while I still feel confident with the postal system, oh, and getting a ticket out of the place. After constantly changing my mind about the best ferry route across to Indonesia I have finally decided to cross to the Indonesian island of Batam from here and do my best to get a connection to Sumatra from there. The deciding factor was talking to Wendy, she seemed quite positive that a bike would be taken, even if it required a little bribe. I went back to the harbour front, decided on the ferry time I would take, then as I was booking it I told them I was taking a bike. "Oh, you can't take a bike on our ferries", I pointed out that if I had booked it two day ago I could have done but they were insistant, well done Pengiun Ferries. Penguin Ferries....more like Mickey bloody Mouse Ferries! As I was leaving they called out "Oh, you want to leave on the 14:10, you can take bikes on that one", so it seems that of all the big list on the timetable you could only takes bikes on the 14:10, how lucky am I? Soon I had a ticket in my sweaty mit.....for the 16:10, though they did soon change it. Back at the hotel I talked to the Welsh guys out side and after a while went in for a coffee, meaning to return, but it was another 2 hours before I got away from the kitchen, my ability to gas is certainly improving. In the evening I met up with Audrey again and she took me to the Harbour Front, though this time to the mall, it's massive, even by Singapore Mall standards. We had a bite to eat as I again worked on my new found skills of talking, or letting other people do a bit of talking.

After almost a week here the place is beginning to feel like home, I know my way around reasonably well and I have even been out to meet a friend. So tomorrow I will pack my bags and leave home, new horizons beckon. To be honest I have really enjoyed Singapore, the city is ok, but I haven't done alot, but the people I have met have been just fantastic, locals and travellers alike. The staff have been great, very friendy and helpful to all way above the cause of duty. I talked to Gerry this afternoon, I suspect she thought it was better than doing the cleaning. She had been to Australia recently and has put ideas into my head that could mean a complete change of route to the one in my head. Jackie has helped too. She has been there in recent week and by reading her blog about the dives she has been doing it seems a waste of time for a non swimmer to go to the barrier reef. Other guests at the hostel have all been great too, especially the Irish lads, Brian, Conor, Darren and David (photo). They have a wonderful thirst for life, especially when it comes in a can. They were good fun, but would have been even more fun if they had let me win at Monopoly. I was really mastering their stong Cork accents, apart from in the early hours when it became a bit slurred. Thanks to you all.

Thanks for your comments too. I should point out that as Clement starts off by say "Bloody hell" he is taking the piss out of me, but try imagining it in a lovely French accent, it's wonderful and still brings a smile to my face. He loved the useless little English words I taught him and used them at every opportunity, so I am glad to see that he has still remembered them and even slipped "pootle" into his comment. I am please you are enjoying the blog Frank. At a couple of kilos apiece I wont be able to bring too many Durian over, especially as I will already have to pay for excess baggage, but I will do my best.


Anonymous said...

Hi John,
safe journey!

Lorna said...

Oh dear! Your brain is well and truly addled and it can have nothing to do with old age!! I know you've been away from Combe for over a year, but if you think it resembles Dubai, or even Singapore you are crazy :-)

We had an open tower (at Combe) on Saturday and the views from the roof were certainly not even remotely like any of your photos.

Teri and Brian said... only requires a LITTLE bit of imagination!!!

aoiffe said...

hi there, I think I i'm in contact again