The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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We decided that today would be the day we would climb Penang Hill, so after some more delicious roti canai for breakfast, we packed a daypack with water, sunscreen, and rain jackets, then walked to the bus station. Penang Hill is located inland and is approximately 2500 ft in elevation at the top. In the past, it was used as a retreat for the wealthy and/or infirm to escape the heat. Back in the day, people either had to walk up or were carried in sedan chairs. Nowadays, there is a funicular railway that makes the trip quick and easy, but much less colonial. At the summit there are gardens, a restaurant and heritage hotel, as well as a colorfully decorated Hindu temple and a mosque.
Our plan was to take a bus to the Botanical Gardens, walk up Penang Hill, take the funicular back down the hill, and take a different bus back into town. The bus to the Botanical Gardens only runs every 30 minutes, and we had apparently just missed it, since we had to wait for quite a while for the next one. We finally arrived at the Botanical Gardens at about 11:30, where we walked through the Moon Gate and started climbing. The first part of the hike was a steep, jungle track through the woods. Since hiking Penang Hill is a popular local activity, much of this first section was made up of crudely built, concrete steps in the steepest sections. Part way up the first section, we overtook an older, western gentleman, who introduced himself as Herbie. While we were taking a breather, we chatted for a few minutes with Herbie and found out that he and his wife were now living on Penang in the new Straits Quay development. We told Herbie a little about our trip, and it turns out, he's been many of the places we have been, especially Africa. We came to find out that Herbie worked for the World Bank before he retired. We walked with Herbie for a while longer, until we reached “Number 5.” There are rest stops along some of the paths where you can sit, often have tea or water and biscuits and they are simply known by a number. At this stop, we met his wife, Marina and another hiker from Sri Lanka, named Rizli (sp?). We sat and chatted with them for around 45 minutes before continuing on to the next section.
This section was also a jungle track, that was more strenuous than the last. It had no steps, but the path went up and over rocks and along the edges of ravines.
The jungle here was also more dense, and the air was warm, humid, and still. After another 45 minutes of hiking, we made it to “Number 84.” Here, we had a choice of continuing on the jungle track or turning onto the “jeep road.” There is a paved road that goes up Penang Hill, but it is only open to people who either live or work on the Hill. We decided to follow the “jeep road” since the jungle track had gotten fairly muddy. At this point in time, we were halfway up, but still had 1.5 miles to go to reach the summit. After stopping for a drink and a bathroom break, we set off on the pavement.
The road was amazingly steep and some stretches were marked as having a 30 degree grade. Others weren't marked, but they were even steeper. On some stretches, it was hard to keep forward momentum going. We did contemplate turning around and walking back down several times, and at some of our ever more frequent rest stops, we wished for a taxi to appear. By the time we finally saw the top of the hill, we were both at our limit and could hardly control our gasps for air, and our clothes were completely sweat-soaked. We were a little embarrassed when we joined the crowd of weekend holiday makers who had taken the funicular up the hill, and consequently, didn't look or smell like drowned rats.
Since is was now around 3:00 pm and we hadn't had any lunch, we decided to stop in at one of the food stands and find something to eat. We ordered our food and collapsed on a wooden bench while we waited. Soon, we had our food and felt some better. We were both too tired to walk around at the top, which was too bad, because we both remembered it as a nice place to visit from our last trip. We made our way to the train station, where we got quite a shock. We knew they replaced the old train we rode last time, with a fancy, new Swiss-made one, but what we didn't know, was that with the new funicular train came a fancy, new ticket price. Last time, the one-way ticket was 4 ringgit, but now, it is 17 ringgit (5.66 USD) per person. Too tired to walk back down, we bought our gold-plated tickets and rode back down. At the bottom, we hopped on the bus back into town, stopping for some coffee on the way back to the room. In the room, we stripped out of our still soaked clothes, showered, then collapsed on the bed until dinnertime. We had a late meal of dim sum and ice cream, then returned to the Star Lodge to watch Formula 1 qualifying before heading back out for a cold .
After yesterday's long hike, we felt like taking it easy today, so after breakfast, Re worked on some writing while I did some reading. We had banana leaf at Sri Ananda for lunch, then more writing and reading. On the way to dinner, we did some shopping and then made it back in time to see the Formula 1 race. It was a great race, and the season sure is shaping up to be one for the record books. After the race, I called my mom on Skype to wish her a happy Mother's Day, but unfortunately had a really bad connection, so we didn't get to talk much.
After roti in the room, we spent the morning doing some reading and writing. Back to the Sky Hotel for a lunch of pork and rice, and then, more writing. After lunch, Re again attempted to contact the person we needed to speak with at MASkargo, but he was unfortunately not in. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading before heading back to Line Clear for dinner. The only English-language movie in town that we hadn't seen yet was “Safe,” so we to see it. Later that evening, Re Skyped her mom before we called it a night.
5/15 Again With the Shipping
Since we're having a hard time getting anyone to respond to our shipping inquiries in any kind of a timely manner, Re did a little more research on possible shipping routes. She discovered that Eva Air, a Taiwanese carrier, actually has a cargo freighter that flies from Penang to Taipei several times a week. So after breakfast, Re rode to the Eva Air office here in town. The woman there insisted that she would need to deal with a freight forwarder. Fortunately, Worldlink Cargo's office was located right across the hall. Re was able to speak with Ms Goh that morning and got the process started. When Re got back to the room, she exchanged a few emails with Ms Goh, who will now begin to work on a quote for us.
After a lunch of chicken rice, we spent the rest of the afternoon researching the possibility of living and working in Singapore. After several hours, we decided that while jobs are available and foreigners are more than welcome in Singapore, the cost of living is simply too high. Another dead end, so on to plan...Q? After dinner at the hawker stalls, we walked around and talked about how we were getting discouraged with the difficulty in finding shipping.
5/16 Airport Visit/Ride Around the Island/”Hey, Isn't That...”
After breakfast, we fired up the bikes and rode down to the airport. We wanted to check with the Penang branch of MASkargo since the Kuala Lumpur office has not been very helpful. When we got there, we were told once again, that we would need to deal with a freight forwarder, but that he was on vacation. At another dead end, we decided to just go riding. Since we were already most of the way down the east coast of the island, we decided to continue around the island. Whereas, the east coast of the island is built up with homes and businesses, the southern and western coasts are much more sparsely populated, and there are long stretches of twisty roads through the jungle. It wasn't a very long ride, but it was a lot of fun to actually get out and do some riding. The roads were good. They twisted up and down through the jungle before spitting us back out on the beach road at the northwestern corner of the island. From there, we headed back into the traffic as we made our way back to Georgetown.
We stopped for lunch at Kapitan before returning to the room. We were happy to see that we'd received an email from Ms Goh. We emailed her pictures of our previous crates so she could see how we've shipped the bikes before. Later that evening, we returned to Line Clear for more nasi kandar. After walking around to find some dessert, we were heading back to the room, when I thought I spied a familiar looking couple across Chulia Street. Re and I doubled back to catch up with them, and sure enough, it was Fabian and Tanja, the bicyclists we originally met in Hampi, India, and later in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It really is a small world. They were just as surprised to see us as we were to see them.
We went out for coffee and spent a couple of hours catching up.
Like the title says, another wasted day trying to arrange shipping. I did change my tail light bulb and removed and reinstalled my exhaust header nuts.
5/18 Pancakes and Bad News
Re takes care of the majority of cooking duties when we're at home, but one thing I do is make pancakes. Every Sunday morning. In many places in the world, tourist restaurants sell “pancakes,” but they're more like crepes. Lately I have been jonesing for an American-style pancake, so this morning, we got up and rode to McDonald's for the closest thing we've had so far. They weren't great, but they were good. Later that morning, Re was able to get in touch with Faruq, the agent recommended by the local MASkargo office. We arranged to meet him at 4:00 pm at the airport. The rest of the day basically involved killing time until we could meet with Faruq. We had lunch at Sri Ananda, and afterwards, walked up to sit by the water for a while.
On our way back, we came across an abandoned Minsk in somewhat sad condition.
At around 3:30, we left for the airport and finally met Faruq at about 4:30. He took us into the MASkargo offices, where the three of us received the bad news together. It turns out that what the MASkargo agent in Kuala thLumpur had tried to explain to Re a week ago now, was that MASkargo cannot ship our bikes to the US. Since the attempted bombing of the UPS plane in the Middlle East a few years ago (the one where they had explosives in the toner cartridges, the US has put a complete ban on the transport of cargo deemed to be “personal effects” on passenger planes. The upshot of this is that we either need to ship the bikes to a country other than the US, or they have to go on cargo freighter aircraft. MASkargo doesn't have dedicated cargo freighters to the US, and the only place they fly is to Los Angeles. Well, ****ity **** ****. After we left the MASkargo offices, Faruq said he would check with Cathay Pacific and Korean Air and get back to us in a couple of days. When we returned to the room, we found out that Ms Goh had a quote for us to ship on Eva Air. The good news is, we have a quote. The bad news is, it's more than we had hoped to spend.
5/19 The Beach
We went to the beach, ate some food, did some reading, and drank some .
5/20 Lazy Day and Moto GP
Did a little writing, did a little reading, ate some food, and I watched four-plus hours of Moto GP. We're both getting a little more than a little frustrated with the shipping process. Georgetown is a much better place to be stuck than Dar Es Salaam, but the feelings of powerlessness and frustration are the same.
5/21 Another Day of Waiting
No word from Faruq today. Re checked into a few other shipping dead ends. We did see “Dark Shadows” at the theater and thought it was okay, but not the most cohesive story ever.
5/22 Still Working on Shipping
Did some reading, exchanged some money. Re called and emailed on shipping. We are both starting to get a bit stressed.
After cereal and yogurt for breakfast, Re made a few more calls to our less than helpful potential shipping agents. Not all of them have been less than helpful. In fact, we did receive our first quote on May 18 and another quote today, but they are all still more than we'd hoped to pay. We pissed away the rest of the morning until it was time for lunch. Frustrated with sitting around, we fired up the bikes and rode back to Air Hitam to ride around the lake.
The ride up to the dam itself was the same as it was back on the 10th, but after that, we turned onto the one-lane motorbike road/footpath that circles the lake for a while. It was a shaded, narrow, twisty road that wound along the edge of the lake and eventually dead-ended at a gate. Just before the gate, there was a left turn that went up a hill. It was wet and leaf covered and very steep. Re said she wanted to give it a try, so we did.
The next couple of miles were all taken in first and second gear due to the extreme angle of the road. We continued climbing up and up, and eventually came to a fork in the road. The right fork led into an open valley, and the left fork continued up the hill. We knew that one of these roads was supposed to go through to the back side of the island but there was no indication which one to take.
We opted for the right and followed it out into the sunlight. We rode along the edge of the valley for another couple miles through farms and through a few people's front yards. The road came to a dead end at someone's house, so we turned around and headed back. Once we reached the fork in the road, we continued uphill for another half mile or so. The road here didn't appear to be used very often, since it was covered in wet leaves with no visible tire tracks. This section was steep enough that we were stuck in first gear, and we had a couple of instances where our rear tires spun on the leaves. We expected the road to begin descending soon, but it seemed to keep climbing. Due to the wet leaves and pavement, I was beginning to get a little nervous about our descent, so we decided to turn around.
We slowly made our way back down to the lake. On the way, I spotted a snake in the road, and we turned around to take a look.
Unfortunately, it was an ex-snake. It had no obvious injuries, but it was dead. This was the same kind of snake that Re saw on Koh Lanta, which we had identified as a red-headed krait.
When we got back to the parking area by the dam, we also spotted this snake at the old guard booth. A local told us it was a green tree viper, and another person said it was a coconut viper. Either way, it was a beautiful snake.
We rode back into town and spent a while chatting with Anh, the gentleman who owns the Star Lodge and two other guesthouses along Muntri Street. He was giving Re lessons in Mandarin, so we could at least say “please” and “thank you” at the coffee shops and hawker stalls.
After roti for breakfast, Re called the last shipper we were still waiting for a quote from, and he assured her that he would get back to us by the end of the work day. Screw it, we're going to the beach. We loaded the bikes and rode up to Batu Ferringhi. The sun was out today, and the water was beautiful. We did some reading, talking, and swimming, before heading back into town in the mid-afternoon. After a late lunch, we returned to the room to get cleaned up. We received a text message from the last shipper, and their quote on Cathay Pacific was several hundred dollars more than the lowest we'd received so far. Sigh. Later, we went out to see “Men In Black 3” and then had a late dinner at the hawker stalls. We stopped out at the Corner Bar, where we made our decision on shipping.
After breakfast, we rode to the offices of Worldlink Cargo to see Ms Goh. We finalized our shipping arrangements and left our Carnet documents with her so the paperwork could be started. Our bikes will fly on Eva Air, a Taiwanese carrier, from Georgetown to Taipei, and then on to Los Angeles. All in, it should cost around 2200 USD, which is still less than it cost to fly our bikes from Toronto to Cape Town, but more than we'd hoped.
In the parking lot, I spied this interesting shotgun exhaust on a Honda Cub and briefly thought about getting out the tools to see if it would fit our bikes. We hurried back to the room to purchase our tickets to LAX. Re's been watching the airfares, and right now, there is a relatively inexpensive flight from Georgetown to LAX, via Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, on Malaysia Airlines. Fortunately, the fare was still available, so we bought our tickets for June 11. They are 670 USD each, which is the best fare we found by several hundred dollars. After we received the confirmation email, we both started to feel a little depressed that we are, in fact, going home. We knew this day was coming, but now it's here, and we don't like it.
After a kind of subdued lunch, we returned to the Star to find that Anh had a surprise for us. He had kindly brought us a package of good quality, fresh durian. For those of you who've never been to southeast Asia, durian is a well loved fruit in the region. Most westerners find the taste and smell highly objectionable. We first ran into it in Vietnam two years ago, when we walked into a store and thought their refrigeration system had failed and everything in it had turned. After seeing and smelling it through the rest of the region, we decided to give it a try in Indonesia, in the form of durian ice cream. There it was served as a parfait of durian flavored ice cream layered with a durian puree. Re described it as tasting like rotten onion ring farts and maple syrup. Not a good combination. Since we've been back in southeast Asia, we've become more accustomed to the smell but had yet to try it again. In conversations with Anh, he stated that the durian grown on Penang is famously better than anywhere else. He also explained that there are many different varieties, some sweet, some bitter, and that we must try it.
The package he brought had a combination of the two kinds, and Re made the mistake of choosing the bitter one first. The look on her face was priceless, and she very politely tried to finish it. After sniffing all the pieces, I chose one of the sweet ones, and it wasn't too bad. I ended up eating three pieces of the sweet, but none of the bitter. Re gamely tried a bit of the sweet, but just couldn't eat anymore. While the actual eating of the durian wasn't so bad for me, but the burps that I experienced the rest of the afternoon were ghastly. At one point I looked up to see that Re had been brushing her teeth and her tongue for at least five minutes, and we eventually ate an entire bag of sour gummy rings in an attempt to cleanse our palates. Unfortunately, the taste stayed with us until after dinner. It was a good distraction from the earlier events of the day.
(the Corner Bar on a less popular night. I always take Re to the nicest places...)
Later, at the Corner Bar, we met Alex and Ashley, a couple who are backpacking through Malaysia and Thailand. Alex is from England, and Ashley is from West Virginia. They met a few years ago in Kathmandu and have been meeting up ever since. They had just spent a couple of months in the Philippines and were on their way to Koh Phangan for a month. We didn't end up leaving until around 2:00 am and made plans to meet for lunch before we said goodnight.
Our plan was to get on the road as soon as we finalized our shipping, but that was before we met Alex and Ashley. So after a late and kind of short morning, we met up with them for a lunch of duck and pork and rice at Jit Seng.
After a delicious lunch, the four of us went to Penang Bowl, where we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying good company and bad bowling. I bowled the best game I think I ever have and won the first game. Re then won the second, and Ashley won the third. A good and silly time was had by all, but I think we're all going to be a little achy tomorrow. Later in the evening we met up again for dinner, and after I ran back to the Star Lodge to watch F1 qualifying, we met back at the Corner Bar until after 2:00 am again. I guess we won't be riding tomorrow either.
After the late night last night and too many s, it was a late, ugly morning. We finally had our usual morning roti at 11:30 am. After a shower and some paracetamol, we got to work on plans for tomorrow. We decided we'd try to be on the road for between five and seven days, making a loop east, perhaps stopping at Gunung Stong National Park, before heading south toward Taman Negara (the national park), on to Bukit Fraser, north to the Cameron Highlands again, and finally stopping in Ipoh to see Ronnie. To do this, we had to repack everything that we've taken out in the past month. We haven't bought anything new, so it should all fit back in the bags it came out of, but for some reason, today it seemed more difficult than it should have. We finally got everything packed in time to catch a late lunch of chicken and rice. Later in the afternoon, we did a little writing and some laundry before heading out to an early-ish dinner so I could be back in time to watch Formula 1.
After breakfast, we loaded up the bikes and hit the road by 9:30 am and told the folks in reception that we'd see them in a week.
We took the ferry back to the mainland and then headed slightly north before turning east. The road today was very good but also very busy. Obviously, we haven't been doing much riding lately, and it showed. Both Re and I felt a little nervous with the closeness of some of the traffic. It was a pretty but uneventful ride across the state of Kedah and into Perak.
We skirted the northern end of the Titiwangsa Range, so the scenery was pretty, but there wasn't much elevation change.
Around 1:00 pm, we arrived at Lake Temengor, where we stopped for lunch and to look around. The sky in the east had begun to grow dark, so we decided it would be best to get back on the road.
A short while later, we crossed into the state of Kelentan, where the road became twisty and more enjoyable. In some of the tighter corners, it felt like the back end of my bike was moving around a bit, but I really didn't pay any attention and put the feeling down to not having ridden in a while. Dumb dumb dumb! After a while turned south toward Jeli. As we pulled away from a stoplight in Jeli, I shifted from first into second and had no drive at all. The engine was turning but my rear wheel was not. Since I was halfway through the intersection, I shifted into first, twisted the throttle, and got the same lack of response. I tried second again but got nothing. My first thought was that I had either done something wrong installing the clutch or was having a transmission problem. About this point, Re pulled up and said she had seen chunks of my cush drive coming out the back of my bike. Well now, that can't be right. I duck-walked the bike through the intersection and a little farther up the road. I looked back to see that, sure enough, there were chunks of cush drive rubber in the intersection. I looked at the rear end under my bike and could see that the rear wheel had pulled off the splines that are attached to the rear sprocket and drive the rear wheel. What didn't occur to me at this point was that I shouldn't be able to see inside my rear wheel with the axle securely fastened and a non-bent swingarm. While I ran back and gathered the rubber pieces, Re rode a bit ahead to scout for a suitable work area. She found a nearby parking lot, so I pushed my bike there and got to work. Once I sat down and looked at the rear end again, the reality sank in that something was really wrong. As is pretty standard, the axle goes in one side of the swingarm, through a spacer, through the wheel, through the other side of the swingarm, and then into a nut, which holds it all together. Somehow, I now had an extra half inch or so of space where there shouldn't be any. This can only mean one thing. Sure enough, I looked at the other side of the bike and there was NO AXLE NUT! Maybe that was why it felt like the rear end was moving around a bit in the twisties. Re volunteered to go back and look for the axle nut while I was in a mild state of shock and left before I could stop her. I think that the nut had been gone for a long time. Quite apparently, I am going to have to fire our mechanic, since that asshole didn't tighten the axle nut after that moron changed the chain... A minute later I went to call Re back and noticed that around the corner was a motorcycle shop. It just couldn't be any handier!
With Re's help, I removed the rear wheel and started to inspect the damage. While I did this and got out our spare cush drive rubbers (thank you Alliance Powersports) Re walked around the corner to the motorcycle shop with the axle and returned with a replacement nut. By the time she returned, I had removed what was left of the old cush drive rubbers, but I couldn't get the new ones installed. I carried the wheel back around the corner where the nice folks at the shop showed me how to install them. When I returned to the bike, we started to reassemble the rear end and that's when I noticed two other things: 1) the nut and washer from the right side chain adjuster were gone, and 2) the swingarm was indeed bent. The right side of the swingarm appears to have bent near the pivot and is now about a half inch too wide at the axle. Our swingarms appear to be made of molded, flat sheets of steel that have been welded together at the edge. I inspected the swingarm and didn't see any obvious cracking or wrinkles in the metal, so I levered it back into place while Re tightened the nut. One more trip back to the motorcycle shop got us a replacement nut and washer for the chain adjuster, and then everything was back together. I took the bike for a quick ride around a couple of blocks to make sure it was okay and then we decided to get back on the road since the sky was getting very dark. I wish I knew the name of the bike shop in Jeli since we couldn't have done it without them. The only money they would take was one ringgit (0.33 USD) for the axle nut.
We headed south toward Dabong and it began to rain. There was supposed to be some kind of government resthouse in Dabong, but we couldn't find it in the rain. There also didn't appear to be a petrol station, and we needed some. Betweem the rain and the bike problems, I didn't feel like messing around anymore today, so I made the executive decision to head further south to the town of Gua Musang. It was supposed to be a bigger town so hopefully, accommodation will be easier to find. Back on the road, it didn't appear that we would have enough fuel to make it, so we stopped in another small town along the way and bought some bottles of gasoline at the local mini mart. The extra liter each gave us enough fuel to make it, so we motored the last 25 miles into town. And what a 25 miles it was.
Shortly after refueling, the rain went from steady to torrential. As we came over a rise, it was like somebody turned out the lights. Even though it was only around 6:00 pm, it suddenly became night. Between the rain and the wind, we decided to make a dash for the awning of an abandoned gas station. We pulled underneath to hide from the rain and waited about 30 minutes for it to slack off. Not wanting to be riding in the rain in the dark, we decided to continue on once the wind died down. Pulling into Gua Musang around 7:00 pm, we saw some crummy looking hotels on the main street. We kept looking and Re spotted a sign for the Titiwangsa Hotel. You know I had to go check it out. It was a bit of an odd arrangement, above a healthfood store in a newer strip mall that was mostly unoccupied, but the room was nice, the price was okay, and hey, it's called the Titiwangsa (it's hard to believe I am not 12 years old sometimes...). The rain had let up by now, so we unloaded our stuff in the room and hung everything up to dry, turned on the fan and A/C, and went out for dinner. Just to make the day complete, I discovered a sore tooth while eating dinner. Great.
235 miles in 9.5 hours of riding, including 1 hour of roadside repair and 30 minutes hiding from the rain.
Since it poured rain overnight, we decided to skip the national park and instead go to Bukit Fraser (Fraser's Hill), another of the old hill stations in the Titiwangsas. Fortunately, it wasn't raining this morning, but the mist in the air was so heavy that visibility was down to less than half a mile. Wanting to give the fog a chance to burn off, we had a leisurely breakfast of roti and tea. The tea was so good that we ordered a second cup while we waited. After breakfast, I checked over my roadside repair and everything seems to be fine. While riding yesterday, I started worrying about all the things that could be wrong and narrowed my list to a cracked swingarm or ruined bearings. I can't see any cracks this morning and I don't hear any graunchy noises or feel any drag when I turn the wheel by hand. The good news is, I have a complete set of wheel bearings if we need it, the bad news is that I don't have a spare swingarm.
We finished packing the bikes by 10:00 am, and we headed south into the state of Pahang and had a beautiful ride. The mountains to the east were beautiful, and the ride was mostly fast and enjoyable. We did run into several construction zones and some intermittent light rain. At about noon, we stopped for lunch before continuing south to Raub. After fueling up we started the climb up Bukit Fraser. The road here was truly awesome.
The climb up the hill was filled with millions of corners and mostly good pavement, but the best news was that there was no traffic and the rain had stopped.
Once we reached the top we found a quiet and picturesque town. Fraser's Hill was an old English hill station, so most of the architecture is sort of British countryside stone houses set amongst lush greenery. Even though this week is a school holiday, there were very few people to be seen. Our immediate problem was that we didn't have a place to stay, and we didn't even have any recommendations. Re looked on line, but most of them were expensive (80 to 90 ringgit per night), so we thought we'd just look around once we got there. While we were looking at a large tourist map on a signboard, we were approached by several groups of people who took our picture. After posing for a couple of pictures, we met Philip, who had just arrived with his family to stay for a couple of days. It turns out that Philip is a State Representative from Selangor. The state of Selangor maintains a bungalow on Bukit Fraser for public servants to use. Philip asked us where we were staying and immediately invited us to stay with him and his family. Not wanting to intrude in their family vacation, we considered declining, but he was so friendly and welcoming that we agreed. We followed him further up the hill to the bungalow and what a nice place it was.
The caretaker said it was originally built in 1938, and it was grand. The ceilings must have been at least 14 feet high, and the rooms were all huge. We were given our own room, where we unpacked, took a quick shower, and came out to meet the family. In addition to Philip, there was his wife, his four children, a niece, and his mother.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around looking at the beautiful gardens and hillsides and talking with Philip. Later in the evening, we hopped on the Symbas and followed the family back into town for dinner. We went to a nice Chinese place, where Philip ordered for the whole table. We had lots of yummy food and good conversation. The mist had rolled back in earnest and visibility fell to 200 feet or less. After dinner was over, Re and I went for a short ride around town before finding our way back to the bungalow in the dark and fog. We spent the rest of the evening talking with Philip about life in Malaysia.
I will definitely get back to this question when I get a chance to write up my ideas. For now i can leave you with a teaser picture of the type of bike that started me thinking about it!
I am really looking forward to reading your summary. Your setup was really sophisticated from the get-go so it will be interesting to see what you would change on your next trip (if ever). You guys have a lot of travel experience and it shows!
You got me hooked with the pic of the little DS. Don´t leave us hanging too long!
When I wrote my original plea for more ride reports I hadn't been to ADV but have checked it out since and it does seem that you get more comments over there. Not sure why that is, as you have plenty of "looks" over here. I sense more interest in big special bikes like MacGregor's, but it's the other stories that interest me: the guy running around Europe on his zixxer, the couple who rode a 250 Ninja from Texas way down into Argentina, the "old bloke on a bike" who's riding a 100 yr old FN from India to Belgium, and plenty more like them. My point is that you're not really alone over here on the HUBB although it may seem at times as though everyone is going a bit overboard gear-wise. I'm interested in why people ride, where they go, and their experiences a whole lot more than I am in what bike they're on or whether they have headset radios, etc. That said, I've really learned a lot from reading your trip reports here and hope you continue them. And at some point I'll have to get up with Re's blog too. In a recent post on ADV you mentioned how much writing you've done on this trip....and you ain't jist whistlin' Dixie, neither! Thanks for taking the time and putting out all the effort this must have taken. I notice that even on days when one or both of you were sick you often managed to do some writing. My helmet's off to you....
Thanks guys for posting, much appreciated.Have been following all along ,look forward to the next trip and enjoyed your style of writing.Am sure many others feel the same so keep it up. regards Alann from South Africa
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