City views of downtown Singapore (Singapore)

City views of downtown Singapore

I landed at Changi Airport in Singapore on time and was looking for a quick exit. With a little luck I’d make it into town to catch the second half of the AB’s v Aussie rugby match. If there was one airport in the world you would pick to be fast, it’s Changi Airport. I can say without doubt this is the best airport in the world.

Unfortunately the speed process gods were against me just when I needed them most. Suffice to say every where I went there was a queue. Immigration, baggage collection and scanning, the information help desk, the taxi stand, the train stand. Eventually I change terminals and finally found a taxi stand without a queue in Terminal 2 taxi. 1.40hr after landing I was finally on my away.

Metallica Rocks Singapore. The lads get a little excited (Singapore)

Metallica Rocks Singapore. The lads get a little excited

I missed the game but that was soon forgotten as I met up with a bunch of old friends that I hadn’t seen in a year or two. The rest of the evening flew by as the boys headed to Robertson Quay for pre-concert drinks and then it was off to see Metallica play in Singapore for the first time in 20 years. As a Metallica novice I have to say they were pretty impressive live. It was high-octane music!! The lads had a great time. We then headed to Club St to party the night away.

Metallica on stage (Singapore)

Metallica on stage

Action on Club St (Singapore)

Action on Club St

It was a brilliant release from the travelling world. Kind of like dipping my toes back into the real world. It was good to be back in Singapore.

The next day at the Hardwick hostel was pretty slow. As my boat wasn’t due to sail until the 28th the earliest I could return to Kuala Lumpur to pick up my shipping paperwork was going to be Friday 30th. I had some time to play.

Janice and I do lunch (Singapore)

Janice and I do lunch

My week entailed catching up with friends for lunch, friends for dinner and playing with Matt’s little girls Gabi (4) and Isla (2) who were my new house buddies. It was going to be a pretty chilled week without the truck.

Early in the week Abdul advised that the ship departure had been put back to the 31st so I was staying put for another weekend. By the end of the week the sailing date had changed from the 31st, too I don’t actually know, as the ship hasn’t arrived in port yet.

Ultimately it translated into another week of waiting for the ship to sail. I asked Abdul, why the delay? He pretty much said this is India we are dealing with, nothing goes to plan. It was to be an early insight of what India had install for me.

The second week allowed me to do more catching up with friends for lunch, friends for dinner and playing with Gabi and Isla. However I did take the opportunity to do some sightseeing around Singapore. Even as a regular visitor to Singapore the pace of change here is impressive. The waterfront marina where the Formula One race is held with pretty spectacular.

The Singapore Eye at the Marina (Singapore)

The Singapore Eye at the Marina

One silver lining in the delay was the fact I was able to catch up with a fellow adventurer who was also in town. James Ketchell is a current riding his bike around the world in the final part of his own little triathlon. The first part was to row across the Atlantic Ocean, then to climb Mount Everest, and now he was riding 18,000 miles around the world in just six months. Pretty impressive stuff considering I’m only driving around Asia and it’s taking me nine months.

Catching up with James Ketchell (Singapore)

Catching up with James Ketchell

By pure coincidence James had arrived in Singapore while I was there. I contacted him down via twitter and got a call from James later in the day. I tracked him down at his bike shop where had a chat and I brought him a drink to celebrate his efforts so far. You can follow James’ journey at Good luck with the rest of the trip mate!!

The Marina Business District (Singapore)

The Marina Business District

During the extra time in Singapore, I had some time to reflect on the journey so far. The contrast of constant travelling with corporate city life in Singapore was no more evident that the day I had lunch with Matt outside his offices downtown. It was strange waiting outside the corporate offices, seeing the suits hard at work. A place I was familiar with (having left my own suit job behind many months previous), but now I felt like the odd one out. Given my general traveller scruffiness and unkept beard, I was the person least likely to be working there. Several of the glances I received confirmed my thoughts. It emphasised to me just how far I had come since I had made the decision to take on this challenge.

I’d finally had the time to read a couple of books during my time in South East Asia. One of these books was call Janapar – Love on a Bike by Tom Allen. It chartered Tom’s four-year quest to ride around the world, which resulted in him meeting the girl of this dreams, marrying her and getting nowhere near riding around the world. His grand bike adventure had turned into a love story. A quote from Tom’s book had struck a chord with me during that second week in Singapore.

‘But many times recently have I been reminded that my journey is in need of a renewed purpose. I need to acknowledge this; that momentum alone may not be longer enough.’

I had been operating on adrenaline most of the way from London to Laos. My arrival in Laos and the release of not having to be anywhere, at any time, had allowed me to finally relax. I had been exhausted, both mentality and physically. While physically I was feeling sharper (though I had got a little fatter in the last 5 weeks), mentality I was still a long way off being prepared to negotiate the toughest leg of the journey. My momentum had gone and I needed to get it back. I needed to get to India to get back into a routine, and to get my mojo back.

I finally got word the boat had sailed on Friday the 6th September. Just the nine days after the original sailing date. Hoo-bloodly-ra!! I booked my flights to Kuala Lumpur, and onto Kolkata for Tuesday 10th of September 2013.

This gave me one last weekend in Singapore to let my hair down before the serious business of getting back on the road again started. To be frank I was getting itchy feet and I was keen to get to India as soon as possible.

Beers with my cousin Phil (Singapore)

Beers with my cousin Phil

That last weekend I was able to catch up with a number of friends, and even family which was unplanned. We got to celebrate another AB’s victory in the rugby. This time against Argentina. And have one last big night out on the town. It was super way to finish but it was definitely time to go.

Watching the rugby with the lads at Boomarang (Singapore)

Watching the rugby with the lads at Boomarang

Tuesday rolled around quick enough. Some last minute shenanigans with taxi failing to show up made the morning ride to the airport a little exciting than I’d planned. I was soon in the air and touching down in Kuala Lumpur. Abdul came out to the airport to deliver my shipping documents and I jumped straight back on the plane to Kolkata.

It was time to get Leg 4 from Kolkata to Istanbul underway!

If you’re interested you can find out more about Tom’s book Janapar – Love on a Bike here. I can recommended it as a great read and something a little different to try.

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