Motor scooters are in plague proportions, every taxi driver has one hand constantly pumping the horn, and roads that start as autobahns suddenly turn into pot-holed tracks. Hey, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Singapore any more.
But we are only 20km away, on Indonesia’s Batam Island, and it’s only taken us an hour to get here on the Penguin ferry from Singapore’s Harbourfront.
Regular ferries shuttle Singaporeans to Batam to buy cheap clothes, and bring Indonesians to Singapore to buy mobile phones that work. There are big, excited, chattering crowds, competing with the Indonesian music blared out by the onboard TV in the corner of the ferry. The trip itself is an experience. We escape onto the windswept deck to watch the cargo traffic in Singapore’s port, then the Singaporean city skyline fading into the distance as Batam looms ahead. Continue reading