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


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