Day 1: 11 Sep. Kong Kong, 63 km
Polling day. Another watershed election (just like in 2011, where percentage votes to the ruling party was the lowest ever). This year, all seats are contested for the first time since independence. What will be the vote share in the Prime Minister's constituency? As I leave the country after voting, will I return to a different kind of government and so a different kind of country?
Polling day is a public holiday over here, but near the border, it is rush hour traffic as we cross in the afternoon (post meridiem). Over here, I'm almost hit by a car passenger who opens her door and crosses the road without looking even once at traffic. and a motorbike wing mirror wings me at immigration.
My bicycle feels funny. Or at least, I feel that it feels funny. It's as if the rear tyre is flat. Phobia? Turns out to be my bag swaying, creating a flat tyre feel.
Night stop: Kong Kong Taison Seafood Resort
Day 2: 12 Sep Kota Tinggi, 70 km (approx). We're temporarily misplaced. Google Map says there's a road here? Then I get lost, separated from the group in mere moments amidst the foilage.
I call out. Blow my whistle. Make ohone calls. No answer. I backtrack to the the tarred road and wait for a call. What a first...
More off-road. This is Matt Black's first fully-loaded off-road. Even my Little Red Tank hasn't experienced that. I wonder how the tourers, on their skinny three, handle so well: gravel, gullies, soft sand that decelerates tyres suddenly. I plunge downhill as my bike scrabbles downhill on the gravel at over 28 km/h.
At a fork in the road, we somehow split, some take the high road, others the low road. We meet and eat at Ulu Tiram. I've seen it on the map years ago. Now I know why we've not visited before: it's a dusty busy town.
Night stop: Mayres Hotel
Day 3: 13 Sep, Singapore, 64 km (approx). The air is bad, visibility is low. Sure, we can see the road, but not the blue sky. The clouds blend into the battleship grey of Made in Indonesia particulate matter. Around this time in the past few years, haze season would've ended. But the season seems to have shifted. Political mood has shifted too; landslide win for ruling party, with the "men in white" rolling back the "blue sky" party.