Two young boys were playing nicely. Sinbad and Malvyn were, in fact, brothers. In the midst of their brotherly play and without realising it, Sinbad’s left shoulder accidentally brushed against Malvyn’s right cheek.. The cheek, comprising mainly of soft tissue, hurt badly for Malvyn. Out of youthful spite, Malvyn raised his right hand and smacked on Sinbad’s left arm. Sinbad was caught surprised. He didn’t understand why Malvyn would deliberately hurt him. So, after a couple of seconds, Sinbad regained his composure and hit Malvyn on his right arm as revenge.
By this time, Malvyn felt really wronged.
“Why was Sinbad hitting me again?”, Malvyn thought to himself. The sense of injustice was building up within Malvyn, and he retaliated with an even stronger blow to Sinbad’s right arm.
Before long, a fight escalated, and Mum had to step in to intervene.
Does the scenario above sound familiar? Yes, that’s exactly what is happening between Singapore and Malaysia regarding the toll and vehicle entry permit charges that both sides have been increasing in retaliatory responses.
Yes! I’m on the road again! And yes! It’s with the Pulsar 200NS!
I had some business to perform in Kuala Lumpur and since I’d be travelling alone, I decided to take the bike instead of the car. And after the eventful low battery situation, getting stranded by stalling my engine and the good samaritan who saved my day, I’m on the Malaysian North-South Highway (NSHW), again.
And I’m glad I did. Because, at approximately 230km from KL, there was a really bad accident. A container truck from the opposite direction had lodged itself onto the middle divider and turned on its side. The cabin looked quite smashed up. And traffic from the opposite direction were directed onto this side of the road – I suspect to facilitate emergency vehicles to access the accident site quicker. But all these mean one thing – massive jam. I suspect that it’ll take at least an hour or two to clear the jam. And thankfully, the bike was nimble enough to squeeze through the traffic, and I still managed to travel at somewhat freeway speeds on the shoulder.
08 Aug 2016, Monday. I didn’t want to wake up this morning. No, it wasn’t because of the “end of holiday” syndrome, but my entire body was aching. For the first time in a very long while (and the first time on this trip), I lay in bed until 9am. The hotel’s breakfast was from 7am to 10am. So I knew I was gonna miss breakfast if I didn’t pull myself out of bed. So reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed, washed up, got changed, and headed downstairs to fill my stomach.
While at breakfast, a mild, throbbing headache started developing. “Oh, oh. Not good.” I said to myself. I recognised the signs. I think I’m falling ill soon. Being only 240km away from home, it wasn’t difficult to decide my destination for today.
07 Aug 2016, Sunday. I woke up this morning freezing under my sheets. And there was no air-conditioning! What happened was that I had turned the fan on last evening, and since the oscillation wasn’t working, it was pointed directly at me. The temperatures up here in Cameron Highlands dip to the low 20’s deg celcius at night, and can get quite cold.
I had initially planned to head towards Bukit Tinggi today – somewhere near Genting Highlands. I’m not sure if it was the cumulative toil of the journey or the descent, but when I got to the foot of Cameron Highlands, I felt really, really exhausted. Travelling on a fully luggage-loaded small cc motorcycle on a winding mountain pass is not fun. Also, my tires are reaching their end of life and I didn’t dare lean into the curve as much as I would have liked.
In this condition, I was certain that I wasn’t in the condition to make the climb up to Bukit Tinggi. So, I decided to head to Malacca instead.
06 Aug 2016, Saturday. I got a room in the same hotel as Michel and Pim. And after breakfast, we got ready to leave Georgetown, Penang. Michel and Pim will be heading north into Thailand via Sadao. And for me, southbound. And to think about it, when we last met, they were southbound while I was heading north.
05 Aug 2016, Friday. Border crossing day. Will be heading into Malaysia this morning. I didn’t like Hat Yai very much. Not that there was anything wrong with the town. It was just that after visiting the other places in Thailand (and Laos, and Cambodia,) Hat Yai just wasn’t too exciting. Many Singaporeans making their way into Thailand or beyond typically make Hat Yai their first night stop before punching further up north.
I slept really early last night. By 10pm, I was already in bed. I set my phone alarm to 0400h. I’m generally a morning person, so getting up early was not an issue. In fact, I wanted to beat the possible morning Causeway jam and also anticipated some delays as Malaysia was supposed to start implementing the VEP system today.
It was with mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation that I begun the trip. Is this trip even possible? What if the bike breaks down? Can I really reach Chiang Mai? I woke up before the alarm went off. 3:40am. And since most of my stuff were already packed, I left home at approximately 4:00am. The plan is to reach Penang by noon, and that will give me some time to roam the island and also to get withdraw some cash from the ATM machine there.