Published: July 25th 2012July 25th 2012
Mike in the sleeper train
You never told me it was like this!
We get to the train station in Singapore by a taxi driver who thought he was competing in the Singapore Grand Prix until I let him know that the Grand Prix does not start until September and the driver in the car infront was not Jenson Button, honestly.
So lug the bags over a bridge and along a mile long corridor (well that is what it felt like) to wait in a queue with 3 people in front of us. Two were from Malaysia and very talkative i.e. where are you from, where are you going etc and the other gentleman was fast asleep - and kept on putting his head on my shoulders whilst snoring - so not a brilliant start to our train journey. I must admit it did pick up when a gentleman came in a wheel chair and decided he was going to the front of the queue only to find the last bit of his journey to the front was a steep slope and right at the end of the slope was a glass wall - I must admit you should not laugh but it was so funny as he got up speed and had
Went up this - think we are trying to go up all the towers in the world, ha ha
to do a handbrake turn to miss going through the glass wall.
Next step on our journey was to go through Singapore customs which was so simple and then through the Malaysian customs. So I queue up and Mike queues up in another line. My customs man asks where I am from which surprised me as I gave him my English passport. He then decided to tell me I had really green eyes and wanted to stare into them - which was peculiar and threw me off balance for a while and then I understood and said oh my green eyes - yes I have green eyes.
Next step was to queue up for the train - now Mike is used to the Japanese railway system at this stage remember and Singapore is not like this at all - well not even 1% like the Japanese - all I can think is I hope it is not like the sleeper I went on in India which did not have glass in the windows just bars. Plus the carriage did not have partitions between the bunks. Thinking on my feet how can I manage Mike's expectations and decided damage limitation is not going to help the situation so decided to keep my head down and start whistling.
Train arrives and not as bad as I thought (remember all I can picture at this time is Indian train) and start smiling as we get to our carriage.
Open our carriage door and start to see it through new eyes and think of the sitcom "Porridge" and how I would have to take on the role of Fletcher (i.e. Ronnie Barker) an old hand at doing time with Mike being first time offender Godber (i.e. Richard Beckinsale). So I decide that I would take the bottom bunk and give Mike the top bunk. Mike looks at the cell (sorry, train cabin) and says its small - how do I get on the top bunk - now remember this is a 8ft by 8ft box so there is not a lot of space you could hide anything even a ladder - I look at him and say well there is no point playing the game of when you get near I will say you are hot and when you are nowhere near you are cold - cause this cell (said it again is so small you are hot all the time). Anyway put him out of his misery and show him where the steps are.
We both get into the bunks and the train gets on its way at 11.30pm and then at midnight there is a knock on the door - ticket collector so out of bunks show tickets and back into the bunks again. Then another knock on the door - this time man with two take away cartons with egg and rice in - nice touch but this rice was really spicy! Well off to sleep we go after a few stops and you could hear people on the roof of the carriage - which I thought wisely I would say was big pidgeons so as not to alarm the first offender (Mike).
Arrive in Kuala Lumpur and find the hotel really easily - which was a god send. We have been up the Menara tower and going up the twin towers tomorrow as you need to be there before 8am to get a place as they have now restricted numbers going up there.