Balkans 2016 – Day 1 : The wild swing of the Emotionometer

Sometimes you do not need to arrive to have an adventure. It’s starts the moment you leave your house. The drama started when checking in for my flight. I was almost to be denied boarding because I had booked a one way ticket and needed a proof of onward ticket. I had earlier been warned that this could happen by fellow tourers. I also researched that it also depends on the location and the carrier. Most carrier do this to protect themselves in the event the traveller gets denied entry and sent back. The carrier not only needs to send you back , they will also get a fine. The Airlines  are very strict about this. So they wanted me to buy a onward return ticket on the spot which I refused. Luckily I had a solution with a legitimate booked onward ticket with me as backup that I paid very little for ( less than 10USD ) and that got me off the hook and the finally allowed me to check in. If some of you want more details of this tai chi method just message me personally. 

Finally I am on my way now but still concerned if I would have problems at Istanbul immigration. I left Malaysia with mixed emotions. In  terms of my Emotionometer I was at 80% Anxious 10% Fearful and 10% Anticipation. 

Upon leaving Abu Dhabi for Istanbul the drama continues to unfold. The KL flight leaving for Abu Dhabi was delayed more that 1 and half hours due to some engine technical issues. They didn’t say exactly what the problem was but engine and technical and issue doesn’t sound all that assuring. Anyway as I sat in the window side of plane bound for Istanbul I was elated when the Captain announce that we would be able to see baggage being loaded. Great let me whip out my phone and take an Instagram moment while they load my bike box. Not a chance. To my horror, I saw the trolley with my box and bag along with other bags form the KL flight pull up the plane side and immediately was instructed to pull away and drove off ! At the moment there really nothing much I could do and watch my stuff carted off and already knew my bike and bag would not arrive with me at Istanbul. I Complained immediately to the crew but they say that’s not possible and told me  in any case they will  inform the ground crew and they would take care of it and that was that. Emotionometer just got dialed up twice!

Feeling helpless I decided to relax and dial down Emotionometer and just accept what comes when it comes. The flight was marginally bearable as I still have the the issue of getting pass immigration in my head. 

Turns out the process of clearing immigration at Istanbul was a joy and a breeze. I literally sail through the process.  So happiness and joy and Emotionometer swung go a different direction of 70% Joy 20% Anxoius 10% Excited. 

My flight landed 15 mins shy of 1pm local Istanbul time and after filling up the forms for the non arrival of my baggage and buying a prepaid data plan local SIM card , I got on a local a metro MRT was on my way to my warmshower host place at 330pm. The cost of the train ticket is 4 Turkish Lira. It was commical at the station as I was clueless how to get the tickets. Thankfully there are always nice local people to help. 

The bonus if you can call it a bonus is I now don’t have to unpack my bike set up and ride off from the airport. I now expect my bike and bag to be sent to where I am staying. 

I finally arrived at Mustafa’s home at Fatih around 430 pm  and settled in for the day. What a journey it was today. Tired but happy. Hoping for another swing to the Emotionometer when my bike and bag arrives tomorrow or not ?

Approaching Istanbul anc appreciating the vastness of the great city. Wow !
So looks like no bikes on the Metro. I am told foldies are allowed.
Do like the locals and take the Metro
Ok a gentle reminder that you are in Turkey
Main street leading up to Musatfas home. I am told national flags is being displayed all ovef thd city as a show of solidarity and patriotism after this years attempted coup
For bread lovers.
Dinner time and try something local. Turns out is more Syrian food as there are many Syrian that settled here.
Turkish tea a musf only 2 Turkish Lira
My dinner for today. A mix platter of hummus 10 Turkish Liras
A beautiful mosque near where I am staying. Even when it was rainiing i decided to walk around and have a closer look.

Balkans 2016 – Day 0 

Monday evening  I head for the airport to catch my flight to Istanbul. Trying to do it most affordably. Get someone to send to 1 Utama bus station- FOC. Take Skybus to KLIA2 – RM15. Take KLIA express to KLIA from KLIA2- RM2. If you have the time, this will work. It took me around 1 hour 45 mins to get from I Utama to KLIA. It was 8 pm so traffic was still a tad heavy. I guess you can make in faster rike during non peak hours. 

All ready to be loaded to be sent to 1 Utama bus station.
Waiting for the bus to come. A tad delayed due to bad traffic.
On the KLIA express

Balkans 2016 – Day -1

The incredible IKEA Dimpa bag. What an impressive and affordable bag. All my camping gear and 2 rear panniers can fit nicely inside this

Busy busy day of packing and meeting up with buddies for farewell fling. Packing is essentially done. Just need to tape up everything and we are good to go. Tomorrow will be a super busy day to get all necessary errands done.

That was the only cooler bag I could find. All my cooking stuff goes in here. Sexy pink is the new black ?
The bike is packed and ready to be boxed.

Balkans 2016: Day -3

Selamat Hari Malaysia. Today is a celebration of Malaysia as a nation for many and for me is a day of packing. I am a lazy slow packer. So I start today and hopefully be ready in time. Completed packing of Warm and Wet gear, sleeping stuff and Gadgets. Next up for the next 2 days will be everyday use cycling and casual clothing, cooking gear, bike tools and spares. After that boxing or bike and bags. Stay tuned. 

First to be pack are my wet and warm gear. It will fit one pannier with some room for nick knacks
There all done
Next to be packed is the sleep gear. Tent, Thermarest , Thermal underlayer , Sleeping bag anf inflatable pillow. I think thats it.
There all done
These will go in diffrent bags depending on frequency of use

Day 5 Ronda Ronda 2 Singapore 

Another fantastic day out city touring on a Brommie led by Brenda. First to see the wall murals, then off to Ronda Ronda around Gardens by the Bay before heading to the National Museum. It’s was a sunny and hot day out but it’s well worth the effort. 

Fantastic murals
More murals
Artificial Trees
Waterfront broadwalk and city scapes.
Marina Barage
We are Malaysians

Day 4 Ronda Ronda Singapore 

Was guided around brilliantly by Brenda, an avid Brommie rider in Singapore. Ended up in Re Cycle bike shop, a Brommie specialist and then headed to Decathalon to grab some great stuff on sale. After that dropped by my brother’s place at Holland Village and had wonderful family dinner together. Easy and slow day. Just perfect. 

Great tasting swiss rolls

Great family dinner gathering to top off the day.

Day 3 Pontian Kechil to Singapore – Wrong way across the causeway. 

The morning at Pontian started superbly with a beautiful sunrise and a ride to the waterfront and to top it off a nice kopitiam breakfast and then back lane cendul. The initial plan was to cross to Singapore via the Causeway and into Woodlands. Since we discovered that we could actually cross also via Second Link but we need to bus through into Singapore as bicycles are not allow to be ridden through. How hard can that be right? Cycle to Gelang Patah take a bus to Malaysian CIQ for clearance hop on another bus to cross the bridge, jam 30 mins , disembark wait in line 30 mins , clear immigration, wait for another bus to Jurong East. Whew! Then cycle to hostel. Although it was one big hassle it was also one big adventure and discovery. Life is such and it needs to be savored to its fullest. 

Good Morning Pontian
Fantastic paved waterfront
Brommie says Good Morning too.
Breakfast time at Pontian
Breakfast part 2 Cendol time

Deep in discussion with SK from Tree In Lodge

Day 2 Batu Pahat to Pontian

Great weather for riding today. Towards the afternoon and end of the ride we had over cast skies and light rain. Perfect riding.

Many sections of this route comes with motorbike lane Fantstic shoulder for us.
Breakfast time
Fantasic pan mee soup only for RM3
Photo session with a bunch of tourers heading up north.
  1. We have arrived.
    Our ride stats for the day.
    Best wantan mee in Pontian.
    Perfect to cool down.
    Makan selection today.

    Hello and Good evening Pontian !