Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Meeting the locals

Gentle giants
I woke with a smile as I heard the monkeys banging about on the roof of my cabin. It was preferable to an alarm clock and once again it reminded me that I was lucky to be here.

I won't lie to you. Riding around the world on a 250cc motorbike can be challenging at times. I said I wanted to be able to "see and feel everything". Well somedays you feel it more than others. I'm not sure why it hits when it does but some days just feel like hard work. I guess this time my energy levels were still low after a bug that had put me in bed for a day and a half. I'm always grumpy when I'm ill and Rhonda was not helping! We had fallen out!

Save beautiful Malaysia
Malaysian roads annoy me for the best part. The traffic lights are everywhere and the drivers are fast
and careless. It feels more like a chore than a challenge. It's times like this I wish for a big armchair GS just so I can blast through them all and get to my destination quicker. That's not what this journey's all about though!

I really WAS lucky to be where I was that morning as I had ridden aimlessly for 350 miles the day before until I came to Lake Kenyir where I hoped to find a cheap hotel. As I have still  not replaced my stolen tent, this was my only hope. On arrival I had discovered that the only accommodation for several miles was the stunning Lake Kenyir Resort. An oasis at the end of a long and hot days riding. However, for a lowly, skint adventurer like myself, it was more of a torment. It was way out of my budget! It was going to be dark soon and so I decided to try my luck with some bargaining skills.

View from the lobby
I whipped out my trusty (now tattered) Sunday Times article and marched confidently to the front desk being careful to keep the pleading tone out of my voice! I explained my predicament and suggested a mutually beneficial deal where by I stay for a discounted rate in return for a review on the blog.

The manager was called and as the receptionist explained my offer in Malay, I waited patiently and smiled sweetly! The manager turned to me nodded, put his hand to his chest, bowed slightly and walked off.
"Was that a yes?" I asked hopefully

That night I slept in one of the loveliest places so far on this trip! The lake view cabin was wonderful.  The pillows were soft and the view was magnificent. I was even given a free dinner that night and so perhaps it was more than the monkeys that ensured I woke with a smile the next day. Great staff and the perfect location. Need I say more? I felt rested and ready to go again.

making new friends
From Lake Kenyir I rode just a short distance to a newly opened Elephant Sanctuary. I was the only
person there and so I had the elephants all to myself. I fed them, watched them bathe in the river and as I was leaving I was asked if I would ride my motorbike in for a photo shoot. I jumped at the chance. I was rewarded with an ice cream and a bottle of water on the house not to mention some cherished moments and great photographs.

The roads were better up here and the ride through the jungle to Gua Masang and the next day to Gerik were easier.  Rhonda and I were back on form and working together again. All was forgiven. I had been advised by the keepers at the sanctuary not to take that road "Miss, you are very brave to take this road alone". I smiled with pride, then wondered if I was just foolish and so decided to ask why.
Big speed bumps ahead
"It is a very narrow road and no petrol or phone signal. Do not stop or there might be men with knives"! It all sounded far more interesting than the alternative which was a longer route along another busy main road with traffic lights! This was what I had signed up for after all and what I had hoped for out of Malaysia. Bring it on!

The only thing close to stabbing me on route was a massive King Cobra in the middle of the road. It raised its head, ready to strike in confusion and self defence as the car in front of me went passed. I gave it as wide a birth as I could but it still struck out and narrowly missed my leg. I was glad of my big boots for protection.  That woke me up and I remembered to look where I was going again just in time to move out of the way of the wall coming towards me at a pace! Sadly the car behind didn't bother trying to avoid this magnificent creature and so I watched in horror as it was crushed under the wheels. I was so annoyed at the driver. He didn't even try to save it.

It has been a real pleasure riding through the rain
Meeting some of the locals
forest of Western Malaysia after riding through so
much of the Palm Oil plantations which now dominate this landscape. Palm oil is used in around 40% of household products and our unquenchable desire for it has seen the natural rain forests of Malaysia and Indonesia removed to make way for more plantations.  Let's hope what is left of it is protected along with the many beautiful endangered species that call it home.

Tomorrow I head back to Penang where I will start the Visa process for Indonesia.


  1. A great read, as always and it's great to see you're smiling and enjoying the ride again :)

  2. A wall coming towards you??? This magnificent creature (a wall)??? Please explain. Thanks, Pete.

  3. Holy Hannah! A cobra! Pretty scary stuff,a to to be said for ATGATT. I'm glad you got to stay in a posh place for a good comfortable sleep.

  4. Glad you are keeping well and enjoying your self, keep safe.

  5. Nice one Steph' ... brightened up a dull Monday lunchtime with your blog. Thanks for sharing ...