It was a marathon. First it was into the city centre. We hunted down a box from a very friendly shop, then back on the bus. Just one problem. Where is the bus? We did the rounds of 4 bus stops before we found the right one, trekking up and down Orchard Road with bike boxes on our heads.
Then it was time to get the pedals off. We cranked and yanked with our only wrench but with no success. A local bike mechanic showed us how to do it in about 2 seconds flat with his mega ‘persuader’ wrench.
Back in the apartment, Andrew did almost all the work. We rarely fight but experience has taught us that two people trying to fit a too-big bike into a too-small box just doesn’t work. Friedel is strictly on duty for an extra pair of hands and to apply enormous quantities of packing tape to the outside of the box, while Andrew does the bike packing and works out the logistics of how to fit everything together.
The whole process was made so much easier by our two hosts, Patrizia and Bro, who are just great all-round people – the kind that don’t mind you spreading bike parts from one end of the apartment to the other. Well, they are cyclists so of course they understand and we’ve really appreciated their hospitality. This daring couple are off on a tandem to Yemen, UAE and Iran soon.
With the bikes packed, now we just have to finish stuffing our bags, get to the airport and cross our fingers for a successful flight to Perth. So far the excitement of going to a new continent outweighs the usual nervousness about the bikes.
And of course we’re in a reflective mood about our time in SE Asia. We certainly won’t miss the humidity but the great food in Thailand and Malaysia will be in our minds after our 100th plate of pasta with carrots and onions. And of course we will miss the budget accommodation. In Australia, we’ll be going back to a strictly-camping diet.
Next time, from Australia!