2017-05-13 1 103
Jalan Palas 14, Taman Teratai, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
I was a little apprehensive as it would be my first solo trip to Malaysia. I was thinking of maybes, of back-up plans just in case I chickened out, but eventually I realised worrying too much about the what-ifs wasn't going to do me any good. If I was going to go on this trip at all, I had to be firm about it.
Before leaving the house, I downloaded an offline map of the area. I wasn't going to have mobile service in Malaysia so I'd have to make do with GPS and the offline map. I also checked the traffic cams - estimated travel time across the Causeway was two hours (which was normal for a weekend). I reached Kranji MRT Station around noon. As expected, the 170 bus queue was long so I decided to wait at the other bus stop across the road where I would have more options in getting to the checkpoint. The queue there for 170/160 was also starting to grow and the bus was nowhere in sight, so in the end I took bus 178 to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint. While on the way there we ran into the reason for the jam at the Causeway - a long line of cargo trucks returning to Malaysia combined with the weekend crowd basically meant madness... which, once again, was completely expected for a weekend.
I passed through Singaporean immigration at 1240 and finally managed to board the bus crossing the Causeway after a half-hour wait. Now was the point of no-return - I had spent all this time getting into Malaysia and it would be incredibly stupid of me to fail at any point after this. The lines at the Malaysian immigration were also long but luckily for me, my queue moved extremely quickly. I made some small talk with the lady in front of me. She would've been here earlier, she said, but she had accidentally taken her son's passport instead of her own, realising her mistake only when she arrived at Kranji.
I cleared Malaysian immigration at 1350. Bus 606, whose route would take me right to the hashpoint, was conveniently already waiting at the JB Sentral domestic bus terminal. The bus fare was RM4.10 - I didn't have exact change on me, but since we were at the terminal the driver handily had change. It seemed his son had followed him to work, with the young boy hanging around the driver's seat watching every passenger board. The 45-minute bus ride was uneventful. I would've gone to sleep, but I feared missing the stop.
The driver dropped me off just after the hashpoint. I crossed the road and voila! The coordinates were reached!
Nearby, an old man was sitting in the shade, watching me - phone in hand, clearly not local - walk to the road corner.
"What's the address?" he said. My mind tried and failed to come up with a good response.
"I'm doing an activity," I replied. "I have to go... here." I waved my hand vaguely behind me at the hash. Thankfully, he simply nodded and left me alone to take the requisite photos. When I was done, I turned to bid him farewell.
"Have you seen my wind turbine?" he asked. I looked up, and sure enough, there was a set of fan blades perched atop a pole, spinning in the wind. I couldn't see any wires, so I asked him if it was generating electricity. "No, it's not done yet," he replied, "I haven't had time to put in an alternator."
The bus stop was close by but I wasn't quite ready to return to JB. I was also thirsty, so I bought myself bubble tea and decided to have a little look around the area. Being a small neighbourhood and largely residential, there wasn't much, just low shophouses occupied by small family businesses. Surprisingly quite a few laundromats (do they not have washers at home?) but I was thankful for those as they had free WiFi I piggybacked to update both the expedition page as well as my parents on my whereabouts.
I had to wait quite a while for the return bus as I had just missed the previous one. At 1615 the bus arrived and I wasn't surprised to see that it was the exact same bus I had boarded to get here. Just as before, I had to request the driver for change. He looked up and realised it was me.
"Not again," he said.
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