Asia | South East Asia | Singapore – The Prologue
This is it, my turn for that big trip. After over 10 years of doing the 9 to 5 Ive got the chance to take more than a 2-week vacation.
Many things have changed since my Texas to Chile bike trip; Email, the Internet, Shimano index shifting, me. Its going to be interesting to see how these new dynamics alter the traveling experience.
The Plan. Starting in Singapore I aim to cycle north through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. The objective is to rather than cycle every inch use the bike as a way of visiting areas of the region not easily accessible by public transport and visit local towns and villages not traditionally on the tourist route. Of course it is a holiday so there will be an equal amount of diving, lying on beaches and locally produced alcoholic beverages.
For those that know me, irreverent commentary on daily life has never been a problem but actually posting a diary on the website is a little intimidating, especially when Im being seen next to such excellent writers as LT, MattS and LittleWing.
I was trying to decide what style to start my journal in and after only a few hours being in Singapore I think the slightly bumbling, useless Englishmen fits the bill. I realize however this may be more driven around the current book I am reading rather than anything else. Its a very humorous book about a Bill Bryson-esque Englishmen who attempts to cycle the route of the Tour de France. It will therefore be interesting to watch how my writing style changes as I progress though my reading material. After this tome you may well receive a more socio-economic commentary as I commence When Corporations rule the world’ (thanks for this one Peter!), then moving on to unromantic factual reporting (Lonely Planet on a Shoe String) followed by pure out and out fantasy as I embark on the Lord of the Rings trilogy!!
This trip has been pulled together fairly quickly and my frantic preparation has seen me constantly buying stuff that I probably dont need. I have found it impossible to pass by a camping, hiking or biking shop without procuring some ultra-lightweight piece of equipment that will conceptually make my trip all that easier. Some of my good friends did question the merit of spending an extra $150 dollars on a tent just to save 6 ounces when I am carrying Tolkiens complete works, but I believe psychology counts for a lot whilst cycling and if carrying a titanium spork (or is it a foon?) helps me up the mountain passes then so be it.
Anyway I arrived in Singapore late last night and checked myself into the Marriott. Maybe not the initial travelers choice and it wasnt in my Lonely Planet guidebook but they do have a great rate if you are a travel agent (trust me!). I unpacked to find that despite my meticulously efficient organization I had managed to lose one pedal and an MP3 player between Manhattan and the 20th floor of my pagoda styled skyscraper. This caused me a little concern first thing this morning as although the haunting melodies of Bjorks new album are not an essential element of a 3-month cycling trip a left hand pedal most certainly is!! This initial panic has recently subsided, as Singaporean bike shops can equal any other in the world with their array of components. I pleased to say a pair of pedals where speedily procured along with some self adhesive patches (super lightweight of course!)
I am now almost ready to cross over the bridge into mainland Malaysia and leave the comforts of this English speaking colonial gem behind me. First however I need to finish my Starbucks coffee and purchase what I feel will be the most important item in my equipment arsenal, an umbrella!!!!