Sadly, we had to leave Singapore today. After enjoying (not really) some heavily sugared coffee, we started preparing ourselves for the jungle tour. During a trip to the shopping mall, three of us rescued a car that was stuck between the walkway and a fence. After buying lunch we returned to the hostel to make our final preparations. Before we left, we made a group photo with our Indian friend and receptionist “Abu”.
Before going to the jungle, we first paid a visit to the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. We crossed the Malaysian border without difficulties, and no cavity searches were given that day. After passing the border, the view quickly changed from a flat and populated city to a hilly landscape with orchards and forests. When we arrived at the UTM, we encountered our fist wildlife: a lizard.
At the UTM, we first got a presentation about the university in general and opportunities for international students. With over 20,000 students and almost 2,000 employees, the UTM is certainly bigger than TU/e. The UTM is one out of only five research universities in Malaysia; other universities focus only on teaching. After the presentation and some refreshments, we got a tour to three research labs. We first visited the materials lab. We were required to take off our shoes, which resulted in some unpleasant smells. Luckily, we could put our shoes back on when we visited the wind tunnel. There are only a few wind tunnels in Malaysia, and this was one of the biggest. It could fit a car and test speeds up to 65 km/h. The last ‘lab’ was definitely the most interesting. It was a canal where they can test the behavior of boats in water. The canal was 120 m long, 4 m wide and 2.5 m deep. It is the only facility of this kind in South-East Asia, and it is used for both academic and industrial purposes. The facility is not big enough for actual boats, so scale models are used for testing. These models are made by hand in a workshop, by cutting wooden boards to shape and then gluing them together.
After leaving the UTM, we went to a restaurant. At the entrance, we saw an aquarium with some very ugly fish. Fifteen minutes later we got the fish including head and tail on a plate. Although it looked rather gross, it actually tasted really good. Fitting for a group of students, we quickly drank away their entire stock of refrigerated beer. After dinner, we probably had our last opportunity to go to an actual toilet. Here, we first encountered Malaysian style toilets, where you have squat down and use a hose to clean yourself afterwards. Happily, there also was a ‘normal’ toilet that we could use. We left the restaurant and started our bus trip towards the jungle. Most of the time we drove on a four lane highway, which apparently hasn’t got any traffic rules. However, we found our destination alive and well, around 4 am.