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Well, that was an interesting day. Yesterday I mentioned that my hotel wasn’t exactly what you’d call ‘top flight’ and probably rented rooms by the hour. Well, I was up at 06:30 this morning and when I went to open the bathroom door – it fell off in my hands! I get the impression that some of the clientele aren’t too bothered about the way they treat the place. This suspicion hardened when when I got the lift to the lobby and spotted a long list of repairs to be done to various rooms which had been left atop a toolkit by the lift door. As I was only here for the night I wasn’t too bothered. I’ve stayed in some far worse fleapits in my time travelling. At least here they’d got someone going round repairing things!

I was out early as I wanted to get some shots of the Johor Baru-Woodlands (Singapore) ‘Tebrau’ shuttle train crossing the causeway before it was my turn to ride on it. I also wanted to have a look at construction work on the new Rapid Transit System that will replace it in 2027. It took me a while to find a good spot overlooking the causeway but I was in place in plenty of time for the 08:30 departure from Woodlands. The light was good and I could frame the train with the backdrop of the massive Woodlands customs and immigration checkpoint. Of course, this is railway photography you’re talking about so the law of Sod came into play. Just before the train appeared the sun disappeared behind some clouds! Here’s the less than ideal shot I was left with.

Oh, well, I’ve got until 2027 to try again! The pipes you see in the foreground carried water from Malaysia to Singapore, although I’m not sure if they’re still in use.

Further East of the causeway construction’s progressing on the piers to carry the new RTS line.

The RTS will terminate just North of the existing Johor Baru station, which means it has to loop around the station on a series of viaducts. Here’s Bukit Chagar station under construction, adjacent to the existing railway.

Having walked a serious distance to amass these and many other shots I headed back to have a last shower (sans shower door) and one last Roti Canai breakfast before reporting to the railway station to await the departure of the 11:30 shuttle to Woodlands. The system at JB’s very efficient. Barriers open 30 mins before departure. You don’t need your ticket. Instead gates scan your passport (the number’s recorded when you buy online). Heading downstairs you pass through Malaysian Immigration then you’re held in a waiting area until the train’s ready. There’s no seat reservations, you just pile on. The journey across the causeway to Woodlands takes around 10 minutes, then you’re hurried off into immigration. No photographs are permitted on the platform. As you’d expect, Singapore customs and immigration staff are very efficient, you’re through in no-time. What was unexpected was they also have a sense of humour. A middle-aged female Officer joked ‘follow the handsome one’ about her older male colleague who was directing people through the barriers! Once through I caught a bus to Nearby Woodlands MRT before jumping on the train to Little India where my hotel is. It’s certainly better looked after than my last quarters, but then it’s over 3 times the price!

The rest of my day’s been spent catching up on some work and wandering Little India. The colours, sounds and smells are wonderful – as is the food. My friend Nicholas joined me for and evening meal at one of the Biryani stalls he knows in Lekka market. He had the chicken, I had mutton – which was excellent. the price was 7 Singaporean dollars apiece.

This is known a dum biryani because it comes with a curry sauce.

Sadly, we won’t have to catch up again on this trip. Now I’m back in my hotel writing this before enjoying my last full day in Asia, so it’s goodnight from me as I want to be up early in the morning…

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