February 23rd 1984

posted in: The way back | 1

In the morning we met Peter’s wife + 2 children – they had been asleep when we’d returned last night.  We were then treated to a quite magnificent breakfast, eggs + sausage, toast + marmalade, tea.  The only thing wrong was that we had to rush it, as Peter had to take his son to playschool + himself to work, + we didn’t want to miss the chance of a lift.  We were able to leave our bags in Peter’s office while we wandered around town – the flight to Johore Bahru didn’t leave till 7.20.  We shopped around, + discovered that the best discount we could get was 3%, so we got the cash, at a considerably better rate of exchange, + bought our tickets.  Business done, we could now afford to relax.

We enquired about the museum, but it seemed that was in the process of moving premises, + so was closed.  That being more or less the extent of KK entertainment, we went to the British Council, + the delights of The Observer, etc.  Discovered that West Ham had been dumped out of the Cup by Birmingham – ho hum.  Otherwise, as usual, little or nothing to report, but we still managed to while away some hours.  Like last time, we were kicked out during the lunch break, but returned afterwards.  And at about 3.30 we returned to collect our bags.  They clearly aren’t used to back-packers in that office, but Peter’s the boss, + to his credit, was not at all fazed by our presence.  As usual, we told him we’d send a postcard or 2, invited him to contact us next time he was in London, + said farewell.

It was strange to be back out at the airport, 24 hours on.  Once again we had bread + cheese, but must have been day-dreaming or something, because we were almost too late checking our bags on – the guy who’d sold me the tickets yesterday gave me a very dirty look.  Fortunately, they accepted our apologies, + all was well.

The flight was pleasant, + long enough to be interesting.  I always think the short flights aren’t worth all the fuss – if you’re going to go thro’ the harrowing experience of coping with an airport, you may as well have long enough in the air to relax before having to face another one.  Unfortunately, it was designated an internal flight, so there was no booze, but the food was very good, the best since the Qantas flight to Australia.

Johore Bahru was quite manageable, except that they mislaid one of our bags for a time.  The only real problem, however, was that there was no public transport from the airport into town, so we had to take the airport bus, costing $4 each.  We could have taken it all the way to Singapore, but that would have cost twice as much, + we reckoned we’d be able to manage a better deal with public transport, or, if necessary, stay at a hotel in JB.  When we were dropped off, Val went to enquire the whereabouts of the bus station from 2 Chinese guys filling up with petrol in a garage, + as she had hoped (the devious creature) we were offered a ride to Singapore.  It was almost a bit awkward when, as foreigners, we had to go to a separate immigration booth, but fortunately we were dealt with very quickly, + we certainly passed thro’ customs very easily – the car was waved thro’.

We did have the address of a cheapo stay in Singapore, but our drivers seemed pretty certain there was nothing on that street, so, to keep things simple, we let them drop us on Bencoolen St, the cheap accommodation centre.  By chance, they dropped us right outside one of the “crash pads”, a fact we only discovered when we saw a few young Europeans going in + out, but we thought it would do us, at least for a night.  Singapore’s crash pads are ordinary residential housing units converted – or sort of converted – to hostels, with a few small rooms, + a couple of larger dormitories.  $6 gets you a mattress on the floor, plus a pillow + sheet – it was all we required.

In the crash pad

Most of our day spent in KK, a most uninspiring place, but the major focus of the day was getting to the mainland – successfully achieved. As was, by a variety of means, our onward trip to Singapore. Which means we are on the Eurasian land-mass, and could, in theoy at any rate, walk home… or as far as Calais, at any rate.

  1. Pamela Blair

    You’re looking so thin in your photos that I doubt you could walk anywhere for very long. If I didn’t know you made it home, I’d be worried about you!

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