Landing in Sydney airport after sitting on a tight seat for 19 hours, we were much relieved when our entire luggage we in order and the authority did not check much about the cleanliness, food and medicine.
Everything was much in order. Taking a queue at the taxi stand was mannerly. We were also informed about the taxi prices and driver’s conduct before getting on one. Good, there were no hidden cost, especially we came from USA were there are a lot of tariff and tax paid on top of the price shown and all written in very fine prints.
The first 2 things that shocked us were the expenses. I bought a can of soft drink (330ml) thro a café for take away in the airport and it cost a$4.00. The second was the taxi fare. Our destination was Adrian’s house and he told us that he’s very near to the airport. It was written clearly on a big signboard of a$5.00 surcharge for airport transfer. We get onto the taxi and I kept looking at the meter. I felt every clicked gets me nearer to the end of the world. The final charge for that 11km on about 15 minutes of click ride, we handed over a$30. The good thing about it was again our 7 luggage were always together with us and it got into Adrian’s apartment safely.
Adrian and I did national service together. We held the same role in the platoon and we slept in the same bunk for the 20 months. He was pretty quiet and had a bed near one corner and I was always cheeky and wanted to disturb everyone in the night while they sleep. He was the very first few to wake up in the morning, usually 530am and he had to spend some time with some late sleepers (especially me) to get down for morning routine.
After breakfast, usually we had to do area cleaning but the late sleeper gang would usually go for the morning shit or laze back into the bed. Adrian would be noising everyone to do the cleaning together. He was an ‘on’ and obedient soldier.
We had a chance to learn driving a jeep or motorcycle during the army days. We need about 60% jeepers and 40%bikers. Those do not have a civilian driving license or only had a motorcycle license would be in the fist of the list to learn driving. Those that would have driving license would be listed to be biker. For me, I had both so I would wait for filling up the vacancies. Nobody wants to be a biker because it was the toughest job in all the roles. Adrian was quiet and he let the others chose what they want and fill in the vacancies, so in the end he became a biker, like me.
The days riding the military bike with Dino, Daniel, Adrian, Alex, SGT Errol and me were terribly fun. There were some common topics that we always reminded each other about riding the military bike and laughed over it.
The blue cow incident? The round island trip? The Maharoodin orientation ride? The helicopter-bike lift? The drowning of engine in Mandai? The ride in Taiwan and Thailand?
There were so many funny and unforgettable events happen during my army days. Recently I managed to get in contact with a lost platoon mate thro facebook. I often tease him about the incident where he book into the camp wearing sarong (a traditional lower body dressing usually worn by Malay man. It is a piece of cloth and had a concept of skirt) where all of us wore long pants with tucked in t-shirts.
It’s the tale that we will not forget. To others, it seems to be a myth but we are the ones that experienced it.
Adrian facebooked me that he would not be at home when we arrived in Sydney. He gave us some phone numbers to contact which was his housemates. Arriving at the apartment, Iklin (from Malaysia), his housemate opened the door for us and we were greeted by Satoko, Jun, Misaki (from Japan) and later Ruchika (from India). Adrian gave us the access to his room facilities which we could sleep in. he also left a bus ticket and street directory for us to use. Later we also get to meet Christina (from Germany) which she came over to take over Iklin’s room.
About 1 week after we arrived, Adrian was back and we were shy to take up his room and we slept at the sofa bed in the living room. He cooked us some Singapore food that made us finally wiped our drool for the past 2 years: Chili crab, chicken rice and nasi lemak on the last morning before we left.
Big Greg and us at the Malaysian restuarant.
I had an email from Chan, M-Technik of Singapore. He told me that he had a customer from Sydney that frequent order Africa twin parts from him. His name is Greg. I managed to contact Greg and our first meeting was him coming to our apartment to meet us. The moment I open the door, I greeted him, he walked into the house, Adrian saw Greg and shouted at him:
Greg took us to a Malaysian restaurant which smells homely. He shared with us about biking in Australia and help me on some technical advises on Africa Twin in Australia. There was only less than 20 Africa Twin in Australia so getting parts may not be an easy task. On our second meeting with Greg, he gave us some detail maps on the places that we intended to go. Thanks Greg for all the time and advises you spend on us.
The last day leaving Sydney's home.
PING-PONG-PIANG! Adrian, see you back in Singapore!