Monday, March 19, 2018

The Entirely Unpredictable

One aspect of my life that is irritatingly unpredictable relates to the impossibility of figuring out in advance how long a journey by car from Melaka to Singapore is likely to be, especially when that journey takes place at the end of a school vacation. Yesterday Noi was notably sanguine regarding the chances of our journey south being an easy one, and I can understand why. She rightly pointed that a lot of families were likely to have travelled back to blighty on the Saturday, or very early on Sunday, precisely because they'd have been concerned about getting stuck in a jam late at night before a working day. In fact, she could have cited recent previous experience to support this view. In 2015, for example, I recorded in this very Far Place that the whole journey took us less than three hours.

The problem is though, as I mentioned to her yesterday, that the evidence on the ease or otherwise of said journey at this time of year has been very mixed. Just last year, as again recorded in another bit of this Far Place we encountered an implausibly long jam on the bridge to Tuas.

So how was it yesterday? you may wonder, as I wondered myself how it was going to be in the couple of hours before setting off. Not great, I'm afraid. No mega-jam anywhere, but it was slow-moving through both sets of Immigration, and the traffic was very slow moving along the central section of the highway. It took a lot longer than three hours to go from door to door, but, fortunately, not double that time.

And here's the curious thing. It was impossible to figure out why the traffic suddenly slowed in the middle of our journey and then went back to normal speed. And why a jam formed this year on the Malaysian side at Immigration was a mystery in itself, though I suppose that helped to prevent a huge jam further along the bridge. And why these problems in 2018 when 2015 (and 2016, by the way) offered no obstacles to a smooth journey at all? One of life's mysteries, I guess, and, frankly, not a terribly interesting one unless you're stuck in a jam when it becomes all-consuming.

One good thing though. In contrast to our journey down we saw no fatalities. And as long as everyone got to arrive wherever they were bound in a single, healthy piece then: excellent!

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