A friend flew in from India to see me. I said I’d show her around Johor. She knew I liked to travel and trusted me that I’d show her a good time.
Agnes followed me as I sneaked through the fence onto the railway line. As the train passed us, we waved at the driver and the passengers. It was either going to Kuala Lumper of heading south to Singapore. Agnes loves the great outdoors and when I suggested we jump up on one of the three large water pipes that were pumping water across to the island, she willingly joined the fun.
After walking half way across the bridge and waving at all the cars passing by, I decided we should get down off the water pipe and cross the road and check out the motorbikes parked on the side of the road. I needed to know if we were heading to Singapore. Obviously I was not too familiar with this bridge.
The traffic was zooming past and everyone seemed intent on getting across the bridge fast. I had recently walked across the causeway from Singapore to Malaysia. It was hairy but the CCTV cameras were being repaired that night, so luckily I was off the radar.
As we were crossing the six lane bridge, an Indian on a motorbike yells something at us, and then he points his hand at us, like a pistol, and fires blanks.
On the other side of the road, I ask the first man I see where does the road lead too. He says straight ahead is Singapore. Agnes, who is following me, nearly gets run over by a truck, but she seems to be enjoying the local tour of Johor.
She’s happy to be on the footpath, and starts walking back to Malaysia. “Um,” I say to her quietly, so that no one can over hear me. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.” We were in no man’s land, and hadn’t been checked out of Malaysia yet. I check out the little building on the side of the road, it’s empty. Great, no police or officials, only people who parked their bikes on the side of the road before they walked the last leg to Malaysia.
Shit, gotta think quick. Too late, Agnes has bolted across the road and dodges a truck. She knows what we need to do. We can’t go back to Malaysia on the footpath. We’ll never get back into the country without a passport. And Singapore isn’t an option. If we get caught, we’ll get a good caning from either of the countries.
I follow shortly after the next lull between the traffic. We jump over the fence like two fugitives. It’s a good 2 kilometer walk back on the railway track. The expressway has barbed wire on the walls. Agnes is limping; she’s got a bad ankle. I tell her to hurry up.
There’s no way the police can get us from the Malaysia side. They’d have to enter from the expressway near the immigration. On the Singapore side, they can’t touch us either – the traffic is too heavy. If we walk back quickly the way we came, we might just not get spotted.
Another motorcyclist yells out, “You can’t walk there, forbidden.” We are back in Malaysia side now and the motorcyclist can get fucked.
Agnes couldn’t thank me enough. I took her for another tour on the expressway on the way home. On the way to the immigration terminal, we passed a policeman who smiled at us as if to say, “Aren’t you naughty tourists, but I’m too lazy to report you.”
We cut into the cavernous immigration hall and then make our way out of the departure lounge with all the other law abiding citizens. “Now this is how you enter a country legally,” I told her.
It’s all coming together now. I remembered that sign outside the Sultan’s Palace: Beware of Snipers. Was that what the Indian man who was shooting blanks trying to tell us?
Agnes doesn’t care, she want’s another tour, soon.