After a 10 minute hike down the road from my hostel, I arrive at the AEON Shopping Mall in Johor Bahru’s Bukit Indah neighbourhood. I know cabbies will stop along the main roadway to pickup fares, but I didn’t feel like waiting and after four nights here, I know there will always be a throng of red and yellow cars here waiting to pick up visitors to JB who have otherwise given up on the city’s lacklustre public transit system. I need a ride to the airport, and I give thumbs up to the first taxi driver who courts me.
About 20 minutes in to the 40 minute ride to Senai International Airport, a news report comes on the cab radio. There are a lot of local news stories, but Sarah Palin endorsing Donald Trump’s presidential bid also makes the cut on the newscaster’s lineup. There are a bunch of trades in English Premier League football – which is followed in Malaysia like religion. As the report concludes, the music on “Red FM” (one of a number of national English-language radio stations here) starts up.
“Hello, it’s me…”