Thursday, December 9, 2010

05-071210 Kuala Kangsar - Pangkor, Day 2

Day 02 - Monday, 061210

We had breakfast by the sea accompanied by the shrills of children playing by the beach. The clanging of woks by the busy cook & her high pitched chattering made me smile. What irony. Pangkorians speak the native Malay lingo with a Northern twang much like Kedah & Perlis even though they're nearer to Lumut.
The usual slang for Lumut folks & most of Perakians uses the Kuale intonation. I have a stong belief their forefathers - the seafaring people, originated from the North. As close as they can be, they speak a different tongue.

Besides that, she cooks one hellova delicious fried noodles topped with fried Buffalo's Eyed Eggs / "Telur Mata Kobau".

We didn't wanna gobble too much in the mornin coz there's lotta tough climbs. Its horror watching someone puke noodles...yikes!

Teluk Nipah and Coral Bay on the north west of the island is extremely popular with travelers from Europe. Teluk Nipah is "Indah khabar dari rupa" / The beauty is exaggerated & so misleading. The seafront littered with haphazard constructions & messy beach profiteers making a fast bucks. Food & souvenirs are rather high as it's a cutthroat business. Too many operators spoils these pristine beaches. Looks like a third world country coz they have this third world mentality.

Teluk Dalam boasts a very nice view but is not a place for you to swim as the are is muddy but there are other treasures here. You can indulge yourself with the locals to for clams. I think it's a great place to get away for the din of Pasir Bogak. Laid back & laze around is the perfect word for this place.

Passing by Kampung Teluk Dalam we to a dead end where there is a small jetty & a lookout point overseeing the kampong. It's riddled with plots of houses which bears resemblance to any kampong in Penang or Kedah. For once, I thought that I have gone back 40 years into the past.

It's compact, cute & beautifully crafted. Wouldn't mind spending my last days here... Well do you know that these sea fearing people are descendants of Kedahans & the Nothernites?

Pangkor hills are meant for MTBs or road bikes which are fitted with triple cranks. For someone as old as me, riding a RB in Pangkor is a no no. Way too steep for roadies. The gradient is somewhere beyond 15 - 20%! It's more Contandor's or Sherpa's terrain compared to armatures like us. Don't wanna burst my lungs & pop my heart.

Turn after turn from Teluk Dalam, the climb was so unbearable. Oh man, If I've had my 10kg's of luggage on the back wheel, I'll be beyond hell tackling these hills.
its simply breathtaking - the view is breathtaking & the hill took my breath away! Simply awesome. Even the vans, taxis & motorbikes engines were pressed to the limit. We riders were screaming our lungs out & the motorised bikes were shrieking their engines!

Full of sharp corners, hairpins, loop de loops, uphills & downhills - U name it, Pangkor has it. Not meant for the fainthearted but it's definitely worthwhile with lush greenery - beautiful fresh air.

A couple of haphazardly build shipyards dots the shoreline before Pangkor town. Blocks of used wood lay scattered by the rosdside inviting the dogs to poo-poo on it. This area is plain filthy.

One over-exited boy overtook us in town, showing off that he could ride faster than we old folks as two "Rempit Morons" cuts across us @ a junction. One km before the Duth fort you'll pass by the tranquil looking Kampong Teluk Kecik. One could see traditional kampong houses all the way. There is a homestay by within the kampong facing the beating surf. The Kampong Guest House - Cellphone : 012-5082227 Jue/012-4172227 Zam.

You can also try this lodge by the Malay Kampong

Dutch Fort

Its set a short distance from the ocean and consists of three brick walls with round windows at regular intervals. The ruins of the Dutch Fort on Pangkor Island are the remnants of an outpost of Dutch attempts to control trade in the Malay peninsula. In the Malay language, the fort is called Kota Belanda.

It was built by the Dutch in 1670 for storage and protection of tin supplies from the sultanate of Perak and later destroyed in 1690 by the Malays who were discontent with the methods used by the Dutch in obtaining minerals.

Plunder, plunder, plunder. Thats the only thing these colonials knew. They rebuild it again in 1743 and a force of 60 soldiers was placed to guard the fort until 1748, when the force was disbanded and the fort abandoned.

A mommy who was grilling fish for her daughter. It looks so inviting. Oh momma, ketchup with chili padi & onions would be just right. Fresh produce from the sea. No wonder these seafaring people rarely gets sick like us townsfolk.

I donno. My two cents worth - Pangkor needs a revival or so. beautiful beaches but not many tourist. It's a year end public holiday & yet humans are scare in Planet Pangkor. It's bad for business. The resort in Telok Dalam is fit for haunting.

The round island trip is lest than 20km, but if you're touring like us, who cares. You can take as long as you like. It took us almost 2 full hours. Next time, I would like to spend a nite in Kamponng Teluk Dalam.

We came to end of the round trip of Pangkor. 17km of tar road, climbing up was crazy, riding down mas sheer madness or probably suicidal!
Mad - Bad - but it's fun.

If you're the adventurous type, you can also take a short trip to Damar Laut @ a cost of RM5 to & fro, roughly 25km to the next populated area - Pantai Remis.

I'll try it one fine day. Probably dropping by my father's kampong house in Panchor, 30km away & getmy cousin to cook some crabs for lunch, then sleep & ride back to Lumut later in the afternoon.

We bid adieu to Vikri Beach Resort. Thank yu brudder for the great room & nice discounts.

3 boys & a bike

*Tip - leave Pangkor early & get the earliest boat out. Latest by 11 am or you'll get stuck with the hundreds or not thousand of jammed packed humans @ the jetty. It'll be beyond hell.

Best - ride a bike, you'll be given VIP treatment again. While hundreds wait for ages, you get to go home first! That's the beauty of being a bike bloke.

After settling down & all cleaned up, we cruised by the Lumut seafront for a shoort tour, courtesy of Tuan Azhar.

Tuan Aji Estima belanja us the "Special ABC"

Later that nite we were again summoned to Mie & Chot's Restaurat for some delicious fried noodles. Thanks Mie. Pak Hamid, Toki, Wak & the rest of the clan was there to help us the wok-full noodles. Yummy, we filled our tummy & our eyes grew droopy...

We later bunked in a small motel. Enuff to fit 2 bikes measuring 8.5 feet x 10.5 feet. RM39 - air conditioned, miniature TV & a common bathroom. Good enuff for a quickie... A-ha, ha! (Take on me).

Tn. Aji resting those tired pair of feet.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

05-071210 Kuala Kangsar - Pangkor

Day 01 - Sunday, 051210

The endurance Xplorace took a toll on me, even though the Hulu Langat is a stone's throw away from my pod. To make matter's worse, I haven't packed anything for this 200 ++km trip. Worse still, it’s gonna be 20 years since I took this touring bike for a spin.

Thank you A. Rahman Ujang Brava & son Izat for refurbising my "Old faithful" to its glory & servicing it till top notch. Dumped the necessities into the compact-car & whizzed towards the PLUS highway. It was just barely an hours drive till Kuala Kangsar (Locals fondly call it Kuale) but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't lift up my eyelids.

Stopped for a cuppa in Simpang Pulai but my body was tellin me to go find a pillow. And so for the rest of 50km or so, I drove snail-paced & hellowed Hj. Farid to rendezvou somewhere in Kuale's town. Circled twice & finally stopped by this ghostly looking Petronas petrol station. A couple of minutes passed by & all of a sudden a black figure passed me...I was in a shock. Oh! It was Hj Farid hunching on a scrambler, looking rather menacing & batty like batman in a black leather jacket & helmet.

The ol' faithful Schwinn circa 1986

Day 1 - Sunday, 051210

It feels rather odd humping a new horse especially when you had let it idle, gather a ton of dust, covered with cobwebs & made a home for the mud-daubers.
With about 10 kilos my private things (Underwear’s, t-shirts, jerseys, toiletries, perfume, talc powder & not to mention spare tubes & tyres) felt like a ton of bricks.
Being heavy it could make a one wheel wheelie!

The air is so fresh, you can smell the trees. The morning smell, the best smell that you ever get. Not like some putrid & corrupt black diesel cloud. Hj. Farid said that there are thirteen (13) glorious hills along the route to Beruas.

22.3 kilos from Kuala Kangsar we had to stop for oil. Not petrol but to oil Hj. Farid's rattling chain. This small quaint town looks so dead in the mornin. We could see the kampong folk’s havin their breakfast. The "Happy Ling" bike shop was still closed so we stopped by "Aik Seng" which reminded me of a similar named bike shop in Carnarvon Street, Penang which I used to frequent in the early 80's.

Aik Seng means A Great One in the Hokkien dialect. "Ada baik punya" said the uncle. A cheapo RM1.50 a bottle of Singer sewing machine oil did the trick. Wrapped it up in a small plastic courtesy of the Manong bike shop owner.

We rode ahead with beautiful 3D sceneries fit to be painted on canvas & arrived in Beruas @ half past eleven/11:30 am - now @ 50km ++. Circled the tiny town a couple of times & decided to venture its market area. We could see traders paddling their wares even though it’s almost noon.

Now we're gonna rest a while & take our actual breakfast, even though I had whallop 2 plates of fried vermicelli / meehoon prepared by the beloved wife of Hj. Farid.

The last shop lot looks inviting - the girl in the stall looks inviting...And so we parted our butts from the saddle & gobbled the newly fried noodles. We came all the way to Beruas to have our proper breakfast or brunch as you might say.
To my surprise, the mini restaurant was run by my father’s 2nd cousin, Faridah. Her elder sister Gee lives twenty (20) paces from my house! I called up Aunty Gee & passed the cell phone to Faridah, Aunty Gee shrieked " What the hell is Azman doin there?!!!"
Aster knowing that we're related, Aunty Faridah gave us free lunch but I paid for it. C'mon lads, she’s not rich...moreover, it's just not right to eat for free.
I waved the cute helper goodbye whilst telling Aunty Faridah that I would be back in 2 days time with a clan of cyclist. Get ready with your best fried noodles.

Do you know that Beruas used to be the capital of a huge & revered civilization more than ten (10) centuries ago?

Beruas Fruit/Seashore mangosteen (Garcinia hombroniana)
Identical to the usual mangosteen fruit eh?

Beruas' name is derived from mangosteen-like tree that bear fruits, known as Pokok Bruas in local Malay, Seashore mangosteen or by its scientific name, Garcinia hombroniana.
In ancient times, before the area was known as Perak, it was a kingdom named Gangga Negara with its capital in Beruas. Gangga Negara is mentioned by the Malay Annals (Sejarah Melayu) and the kingdom covered present day Beruas, Dinding and Manjung in Perak. The kingdom was believed to be founded by Raja Ganjil Sarjuna of Kedah or the Khmer royalties around the second century AD. Raja Gangga Shah Johan was among the kings. The kingdom collapsed after an attack by King Rajendra Chola I of the southern Indian Chola empire around year 1025.

Besides being flat like a mat, the road form Beruas heading to Setiawan were riddled with potholes & uneven tarmac. It's nothing compared to the route from Kuala kangsar to Beruas. It's bliss, full of ecstasy - spiritually...

Crossing over to the highway, the bike lanes were huge. Big enuff for us to ride side by side.

Ayer Tawar - It's quite a big town. Roughly stretching one & a half (1 & 1/2) km. Old new shop lots sandwich this upgraded trunk road. Called up Tuan Azhar Detec for conformation & we shall meet up by the Monkeys of the Mangrove Wetlands (Paya Bakau).
Monkeys of the Mangrove Wetlands? What the heck is that? 10 km till Setiawan is like a waiting for your wife in labour. We don't need clues for treasure hunting.
It was a guessing game but as we thought we arrived in monkey land we actually rode all the way till The Venice Silk road. I don't see any river here but a big longkang got lah....

We were greeted by Tuan Azhar from the Lumut base & were later joined by a couple of others. Sat down for a cuppa & took the saddle again for another ride by Pasir Panjang to the Lumut Port.

Riding by the sea side is just cool. Car lined up from one end to another - Lover's haunt for a midnight quickie!

Lumut is jammed packed on weekends. No hassle for us rides as we zipped pass the other heavy vehicles & mad our way to the ferry ticket booth. It only cost RM10 for a to & fro trip to Pangkor & RM2 for the bike to be hauled up the ferry - tightly secured making sure the bags are covered to protect the valuables fro the sea elements.

Cyclists to Pangkor are given VIP treatment. We get aboard the ferry first before anyone else. That’s the kind of respect we get! With our tight gear, odd shaped looking safety head covers & clunking shoes - to everyone’s' amusement, we rest a while in the air conditioned cabin.

Zul was gladly enuff to follow as the rest of the fathers had house chores to do. Zul could be out tour guide but to our surprise he hasn’t been to Pangkor for all the years he has been in Lumut.
Apparently he takes the sampan every other day to look for shrimps but hasn’t set foot on this famous island. What a joke! Went hurriedly took to the back of the ferry for a better view & caught a glimpse of the busy waterways littered with shipyards & ship building facilities. The rumbling engine & diesel smoke prevented us from standing there too long but long enuff for us to savior vast seas. Half an hour was all it took from Lumut to Pangkor but this time we let the folks disembark ahead of us.

Leaving the ferries behind, we had to find a place to stay quick as the nite is approaching fast.

Pasir Bogak - The swaying trees & soft winds was so unbelievably enchanting, it still haunts my memory.

We climbed the first hill - like hell it was, but couldn’t find the chalet we booked.
Made a u-turn & cursed the burger boy who we thought had given us the wrong direction. Sorry, we were the one who got lost...Tired bodies can't think straight & so we rode back snail-paced to Pasir Bogak & retreated to Vikri Beach Resort. It wasn't a resort in a true sense but for RM150 a day, it was a bargain. RM50 per person with cable TV, hot bath, huge double & a single bed. What more can you ask?
Since it was a Sunday evening, we got a discount from the usual rate of RM180.
You just need to cross the main road to access Pasir Bogak beach. No pool or what so ever but the guy who runs this place is friendly & approachable.

We lay by the front porch & filled the beach air into our lungs.
Dinner never felt better that with huge portions.
Oh what a journey....

Kuala Kangsar - Lumut

Google route

Pulau Pangkor

Monday, November 29, 2010

281110 Ride 4 Grace

I didn't hesitate one moment when Steven contacted me for his plans to ride from Penang to Kelang, Selangor. Moreover his brother Chan Leng was my classmate since 1972. We had known each other since the dinosaur period.

Advised him to use the trunk roads as the PLUS highway is out of bounds for cyclists. Plotted in my mind a rough route for him & he later made a round trip by car & recce the route a couple of weeks b4 the ride.

They started riding on 26 November (My 45th Birthday) but I was caught up with a lot of other things. It would have been a perfect birthday ride.

Frankly I celebrated my birthday with the family in KB & took the flight back to KL barely having enuff sleep before the ride. Asaari & Sungai was very kind to pick me up at the cheapo terminal & whizzed me back home. Hurriedly packed some clothes & hung 2 bikes on his car.
My tummy growled as the only thing I took was some light lunch. To perk-up my physique, I slurped a bowl of eel soup & gobbled up 2 plates of rice.

Ashaari was veering right to left & immediately I took over the wheel even though I was damn tired. Luckily I wasn't sleepy. Tailed a Saga & took a left turn to Sg. Sembilang, Jeram & lodged with them @ the Kapar Seaview Resort.

Hj Farid was caught by surprise. He didn't know that I knew Steven's & his plan coz I had told Steven to keep mum over my appearance. Not wanting to chat too much as we're gonna ride 2moro we slept like logs with Ashaari snoring & snorting like a baby piglet.

Early next mornin, we clicked like a band of long lost brothers & rode together. After the customary group photograph, we rode along the canals admiring the placid tranquility of the outskirts. We rendezvoused with Daniel Shee @ DShee in Kapar & the group single filed throughout the ride for safety reasons. As usual, I went ahead at times to video & photograph their antics.

We were given an unexpected rousing welcome @ Grace Home with nasi minyak to boot! Later we were treated with a sumptuous dinner & forced upstage with our blushed cheeks.

We rendezvoused with Daniel Shee @ DShee in Kapar

Hj. Farid with Cikgu Rodzi @ the back

Who are the guys -
Thay are your regular "Joe's" who share a passion for cycling and have come together for a cause. Seven (7) of them comprising Thommy Saw, Winfred Ng, Michael Yeoh, Tuan Haji Ahmad Faridun, Cikgu Mohd Rodzi, Jimmy Tan and Steven Heong rode on a mission to raise funds for Grace Home hence our theme "Ride for Grace". The ride took them through 3 states beginning from their home state of Penang (my home state too) and ending in Grace Home in Klang, Selangor.
They rode in the wee hours of the mornings sticking mostly to coastal trunk roads and rest during the afternoons. At the end of this ride, they have covered approx. a distance of 400km.
This ride is self funded and all donations and love offerings will go to Grace Home.
We hope that the funds we raise from this ride will help to provide the folks at Grace Home a place that they can truly call their own, permanently.

The vest says, Don't run the red lights or you'll be sorry! Aint the scribbling scary?

Jimmy brought along his baby girl

Sue, Ang, me & my old La Sallian classmate Chan Leng

"If you're doin something good - I'll give you the fullest support" quoted Cikgu Mohd Rodzi who hails from Teluk Kumbar, Penang. An avid rider who pedals around the island on almost every free day. Rodzi had earlier planned a similar leisure ride to KL but he decided to team up and share our mission.

The old & destitute made me ponder a while. We have too much and yet we forget about those in need. I'm glad that I made this ride with Steven & the gang. (Even though not all the way from Penang) A ride that left a lump in my throat & tears to my eyes...

It's a great feeling...
We rode together as one - regardless of colour & creed.

Pastor Roy with Steven

Penang - Kelang, Selangor

Google route

*2 days later, Hj. Farid & Cikgu Mohd Rodzi rode back to Kuala Kangsar & arrived @ his home at 2am in the pouring rain. They rolled non stop from KL to Kuala Kangsar & just took a short nap due to a heavy downpour 20km to the end.
Apparently, they were already delirious for the last 50km or so. That's hardcore!

Da Vid

Daniel Shee @ DShee, Ashaari & me. Tompang sekaki!