18.02.2015 - 25.02.2015
We’re sitting on a bus travelling from Mersing to Melaka, from the East coast to the West, through thousands of acres of palm trees (used for palm oil). It’s going to take about 4 hours so I thought I’d use the time to catch up on the blog!
We arrived in Johor Bharu after a 20 minute bus trip over a causeway from Singapore. It amazes me how close Singapore is to both Indonesia and Malaysia, you could literally row a boat between them. Of course, it was Chinese New Years Eve, so we found ourselves at a hotel on the outskirts of JB with practically everything closed for at least the next four days. Luckily some of the many restaurants that were around stayed open, and we found a great little restaurant that we ate breakfast at every day. Ash and I are now addicted to the “Kopi Panas” which is hot coffee and condensed milk (if you think that sounds like it would be really sweet, you’re right!) and “Roti Telur” which is roti bread with an egg inside. Cameron’s been eating rice and iced water for breakfast, which he seems perfectly happy with, and Lachie has been having rice with a curry sauce and hot milo!
Since there wasn’t much to do we took the opportunity to catch up on the school work. We hadn’t done too badly with getting some work done in Singapore but we were falling behind a bit. The boys have been really good with doing it, considering we have to do it wherever we can! In this case it was in the hotel lobby, the room and outside, which worked pretty well.
It hasn’t all been work though! We all had a great time at Legoland Malaysia, on the outskirts of JB. It cost a bit to get in but it was very, very good. We were there from 11am to 7pm (closing time) and went on almost every ride at least twice. What they’ve done with the Lego is fantastic, and of course all of the rides relate to Lego somehow (one of the roller coasters had Lego cars to sit in).
We ended up staying in JB for 5 days, and took a bus over to Mersing. I have to say that the bus driver we have right now is pretty good, but the driver on the way to Mersing was crazy! Cameron ended up throwing up after we got off, poor thing, we were going so fast around the bends. And I really don’t like it when the driver is chatting on his mobile and driving with one hand as he hoons around! Taxi drivers don’t seem to stick to traffic signals or speed limits either. Aaaaaanyhooooo, we got to Mersing safely and checked into our hotel. We’ve noticed since arriving in Malaysia that 1. booking over the internet is not the best way to make arrangements and 2. Malaysians don’t necessarily believe in maintenance! Both the hotels have had leaking showers, which is a problem when the shower is a small hot water system on the wall with a hand-held rose and the toilet is right next to it (nothing like getting a wet bum whenever you go!). Everywhere we look the buildings have been built and then left, with the exception of new shops on the ground floor sometimes (they’re all double storey with the top sometimes being living quarters). Even on the web reviews of accommodation, which we’ve been looking at for deciding where to go next, time and time again complaints come up about the standard of cleanliness and maintenance issues. There certainly is a difference between what you get for your money here and what you get in somewhere like Vietnam, it’s more expensive than what we thought (but not like Singapore though!). It's amazing how quickly you adjust to circumstances though, we found ourselves getting used to being there after a few days. Bathroom and room photos of JB hotel, courtesy of Cameron!
The river at Mersing is nice, and the boys have been fascinated by the cats that run freely everywhere. People eat lunch in the restaurants with a cat sitting next to them, of course Lachie wanted to take a kitten that we saw home and we had to explain why that wasn’t going to work out!
We came over to Mersing with the intention of catching a ferry over to Tioman Island, which is apparently a little tropical island with places to stay, snorkelling to do etc. After studying various reviews of the accommodation we weren’t too sure (and we don’t really trust the pretty pictures that people show us). We then spoke to a French couple and asked them about where they stayed. It sounded good so we tried to make a booking but it didn’t work out (long story). So we’ve booked a few nights at a hotel in Melaka (let’s see how this one turns out!) and we’d like to stay there for a while if we like it. By all accounts it sounds very good, and it would be nice to plonk in one place for a bit! We’re almost there, next post again soon!