Singapore, Maraysia and the bus trek to Thailand

So we arrived in Singapore in one piece. And except for the mindless traipse down the completely wrong terminal minus luggage upon disembarking and confusing the shit out of customs at that end (and ourselves) we managed to talk our way back into the correct terminal and reclaim our effects. Which, incidentally, were the final few straggling packages lumped on the floor at the end of the rush. We instantly felt the heat. Dear God, do not bother wearing denim in Singapore. With moistened legs already sweating like a piece of steak in the sun we made out way to the cab rank and jumped in the first available. First impressions of Singpore were precisely on expectation – meticulously clean, tree lined highway boulevards leading into a fair metropolis of booming scrapers and a London-esque illuminated eye. Our cab driver was a jovial, rotund little bean who entertained us with his banter. I impressed him with my knowledge of his city’s well crafted Feng Shui, which I’d learned 45 minutes prior on the Qantas documentary channel. It was decided that we’d head into the area know as :Little India, a small nook north of the city that was true to its name. If the Indian Ocean yielded little Indians but our tally was adhered to in this instance. We fell into a cosy pub called the Price of Wales, a good vibe corner hostel run by an Aussie – a dead giveaway considering the hoard of local number plates punched into the back wall and the presence of Gippsland Grand Ridge beer on tap. Pete and I walked around like confused fish far from water and hit up a nearby hawker bar for hot pot noodles courtesy of the slowest chef on earth, before camping out for some hours in a park with a couple of mashive Tiger beers and a pack of smokes. It is illegal to spit or chew gum over in this neck of the woods, and though smoking is legal, the authorities have done their best to repel addiction with some of the most offensive oral disease graphics brandished on smoke packs that I’ve ever come across.

After some drunken conversation with two yanks from California, one a Korean-living Sandiegan named Ted and the other an emo, tatted nugget who ran the bar and whose name I didn’t recall, we hit the hay in our toasty bunk and looked forward to the next days festivities.

With little organization and a headache to boot, and no doubt an advance on our oral cancer from ingesting those offensive cigarettes, we lugged packs to the nearby bus station and hit the road north to a little place called Johor Bohru. Through immigration I fiercely avoided eye contact with the local authorities as they were brandishing some mammoth potentially life ending guns, and kept on walking rather than waiting for a lagging behind Pete after eyeing a ‘No Waiting’ sign out the other end. So we made it through to Malaysia with ne’er a cap in our arse, eventually hoping we had after getting hassled to buggery from the local transport touts at the bus station. After a frustrating few moments gathering our thoughts and getting pummelled by options to get further north, Pete and I threw down an embarassing meal at the Malaysian maccas and felt shite and culturally ignorant. This would be the first and last fast meal of the trip, mark my words.

Though Malaysia seemed to offer a fair bit it was decided unanimously by the brains trust Pete and myself that we should make our way up north as fast as possible. Destination Thailand, from all accounts we would be crazy not to make our esteemed presence felt drinking amphetamine-riddled Thai whiskey on an overrun Thai island under a great white full moon. Whether or not this plan would yield fruit is yet to be discovered.

In the lead up to yet another stint on a long haul bus we downded a fruity sugar drink at a bus station restaurant where they sold whole coconuts as well as sweet plastic bagged beverages, more akin to the bastard child of a colostomy bag and intravenous than a sellable, healthy beverage.

The bus was long, and bladders grew full. We ended up downing a whole coconut at another restaurant upstairs prior to the bus ride – a foolish brag to say the least, though it afforded a quality photo opportunity.


Right. The bus pulled in to a bustling Chinatown area of Kuala Lumpur at roughly 8pm and we marvelled at how we’d gone from one mental place to a new one, with the only difference being more insanity and the sensual odour of hot garbage and sweaty noodle.. From what I’ve heard this was nothing on Bangkok but the place was completely electrically insane, haphazard and sense intensifying. We were fortunate enough to come across a toothless old tout whose name we didn’t get, but who I would like to call Jerry for the sake of this blog. Jerry, a veteran of the local tourism scene did his utmost to secure a night bus in order for us to travel another 10 hours north to Hat Yai in Thailand; allegedly a bunch of would be full mooners were attempting the same route on this busy Friday night and we pretty much had buckleys chance of getting any further than a hotel room and a late meal. Despite following a maniacal Jerry a whopping distance on foot to the nearby train station there was no train for us on this night, subsequently returning to the hotel we arrived at with a concentration of back and pit sweat in direct correlation with the contours of my heaving pack. Hotel room over hostel, thugh mor expesive, allowed Pete and I to return to some semblance of sanity without our heads completely exploding.

We smashed a couple of plates of local Kwai Teow and Singapore Mee Hoon as well as a regime of sweaty Tiger beer locknecks at an intersection in the heart of the Chinatown cheap goods market. All who know me understand how deeply I am fond of the Kwai Teow meal; this one failed to disappoint, though the Mee Hoon could have done with less mee and more hoon. Weary, zonked, inebriated and full as a fat ladies brazziere we hooned back past jerry and his congaline of touts and chaotic food stalls to the Citin hotel for much needed rest.

To Hat Yai

For a change, today would be fecund with not one, but two long haul bus rides. The chase for the full moon was well and truly on and it was fast becoming our dire mission to reach that goddam tide swinging ball of space rock before it got as full as we were after a meal of Mee Hoon and Tiger. May 20 was the deadline, though from all accounts the body of partying and good times was prevalent in the days and weeks prior. We said farewell to KL at the crack of 9 and fanged it big time over 9 hours up to the Thai crossroad town Hat Yai. I cant say much about the bus ride because I snoozed almost the entire time and had some intensely weird dreams about flying and barelling uncontrollably backwards in a large moving vehicle. Considering the time this trip took my dream might have been forgiven for imitating a more truthful reality.
But we eventually made it. Through another arduous but more friendly border crossing.
Met some cute British chicks and one Brisbanite girl who we pretty much latched onto to quell our lack of planning and completely random trip structure to date.
It proved in our favour. The chicks, Kim, Sarah, Alex and Jess were all headed to KO Tao, an island not far from the fullmoon party island KO Pha Ghan. We might have to give that arrogant bloody moon the arse and opt for something far better.
Two Chang beers and a noodle meal in the heart of a busy hawker market and it was time to board a night bus further north. Tomorrow, god willing, the pace of the last few days would be lessened and we’d finally hit up an area of beach to last us at least a few nights.
Its only been two days and I’ve sweated more from walking than I’ve done in the last two months back home, and the beer gut is struggling to maintain order down south. I fear for it and my health in the coming weeks. But I always said the first few weeks over here with Pete were going to be some of the more wild.
Keep yourselves strapped in
I’d do the same but this runaway Thai bus with floral curtains has no belts.

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