Keep out!

This is the grounds of what used to be the Johor royal family’s palace. It now houses a museum but it was quite definitely closed. I walked all the way around the outside fence in case there was an open gate somewhere but there wasn’t. When I got back to the central area of the city I was in desperate need of a cold drink in an air conditioned cafe! Later I went to the Chinese Heritage Museum which explains the history of Chinese settlement around Johor Bahru.

Malaysia feels more relaxed than Singapore. Singapore is like visiting someone who is obsessively tidy and whose house is always spotlessly clean – it’s nice but you spend the whole time worrying that you’re going to spill something – whereas, from what I’ve seen so far, Malaysia is like visiting someone who tells you to make yourself at home, help yourself to what’s in the fridge, and apologises that there’s some dog hair on the sofa! Yes, there’s a bit more litter in Johor Bahru but it’s not a lot, and I’m not walking around worrying that I might get fined for crossing the street in the wrong place or because I need to have a drink of water on the metro.

Just outside where I’m staying is a row of open-air cafes and street stalls and that’s where I had dinner. The smells of the food and the busy area reminds me of street food in Vietnam. The difference is that in Malaysia the plastic chairs and tables are adult-sized, in Vietnam you sit on tiny plastic stools that would fit well in a primary school!

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