Monday, March 15, 2010

140310 Steaming Hot Cicada

Gombak - Air Panas, Bentong, Pahang


When Don told me that he's ridin to Hot Springs Bentong, I went "Ahhhhh..."That would be "A cool under the shade ride". Yes brudda & sista, it's a cool canopy ride all right but you'll need to tackle 2 hills & hit that 1 Son of a Gun!

Picked up John John at half past five (5:30am) & did the Subuh prayers in Masjid Gombak. After all that settled, without changing the sarong & removing the skullcap, we set-up the bikes & sat for a cuppa tea. Just as we're about to roll, juices from the sky poured..

Some began to have second thoughts about ridin. D
rove all the way from Bangi & not ride? C'mon...
Cheese sandwich never tasted better with rainwater spewing all over it.

Took it easy this time. I know, hammering these hills would spell disaster for the rest of the journey. The 1st group left us quite a bit, but I keep tellin myself to let them go. Ride at your own pace. Teamed up with a couple of blokes & spun merrily till Sempah.

I know this guy, but nevah knew his name. Cheerful fellow from Batu Arang or Rawang.


Coz he aint got no air,
With his trusty ol' bike, he cycles everywhere,
Make friends with anyone black, green or yellow hair,
Sometimes he would enter a race without much care,
And will never go around boasting with fanfare,
Like the tortoise foe - the Hare.



A guard dog greeted us at the usual stop with garlands & all. He is no ordinary dog, he was stationed there to make sure all those road hoggers don't bother us.
Watched us roll by without winking, with a longing look - hoping that some rider would offer him brunch. All he got was a pat on the back with his back hunched.




As were rollin down to Bentong Hot Springs, the shrills were gettin the better of me. The cicadas were extremely noisy that day. It was havoc! Besides the regular mating song, they were doin a distinct distress call, courtship song, which is often a quieter call (Not trunk calls to Borneo) which is produced after a female has been drawn by the male calling song.

Probably the rain had made them hornier. Well, from experience - certain part of the anatomy can gets pretty stiff in cold weather. Ha ha!


Maua Albigutta is a cicada species that is widely distributed in Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia. The Malays word for cicada is "Riang-Riang" = Happy-Happy = Gay-Gay, no no no. They're not homo but seem extremely happy all of the time. The other species, Pomponia Imperatoria is also from Malaysia, have prominent eyes set wide apart on the sides of the head, short antennae protruding between or in front of the eyes, and membranous front wings. Looks like an elongated-overweight shit fly.

If you caught a cicada, hold it with your thumb underneath its Timbal, apply pressure lightly & it will let out a buzzing sound! Timbal is a term for a vibrating membrane in the abdomen of a male cicada, which is responsible for the characteristic sound produced by the insect.



By about 15 mins to 10am we arrived in Bentong Hot Springs. Stopped by the side of the entrance & all of them were munchin somethin. Of course not the roasted cicada. I was still quite solid after the typical 3 pcs of bread & 2 slices of cheese. No worries of gettin malnourished.


What a pity, I kinda disappointed coz there’s no stalls & mini market around, need to refill my water bottle. Not that I'll get dehydrated on the away back but just to be prepared. What do you expect Azman? Giant? Bintang Hypermarket. Look, you’re smack in the middle of the jungle. But it’s only 10km more to Bentong town.

I could feel the tranquility of this place. Birds chirping, slow motion steams rising from the hot springs. Theres even a suspension bridge across the river on the side of the road. Felt like venturing on it but on second thoughts, I noticed the planks are kinda dated. The river damn looks inviting but I don’t wanna slip & do the gymnastics.


The hot springs waters may be warm but the depth & the murky water scares me. With lush greenery, verdant & far from the intoxicating fumes, I think this place needs some sprucing-up & promo from the state. You don’t need multi millions bucks for this. Sayang aduhai sayang puteri santubong, this place can be wonderful.

This IS the natural hot springs & its filled with soft sulphur, mud and sand. It has healing properties for those with sensitive skin. My eldest son Arief had an endless problem with eczema when he was 7. What we did was to apply some sulphur that we scoured from the bottom of the pool & wahlah! It worked! After a long day pedaling, the tired legs needs the dipping so badly but time wasn't on our side. We have to move on.

The springs are located about 10 km before Bentong town on the old road. (Highway 68) between KL and Bentong. If youre exiting via Genting sempah, I’ll be a 20km "Winding till you puke" kind of road.

I don't wanna scare you but some areas feels rather eerie, devoid of nothing...You’re damned if you have mechanical problems here. For you riders out there, ride with a couple of "Happy-happy" people. It's way-way faster to continue to the Bentong exit and drive the 6-7km back.

Riding under the canopy is a blessing, except you gotta concentrate on what you roll on. It can get very slippery at times. Some areas were as dry as a pharaoh’s mummy, not even a bone can be drier than that. We were just doin like 20kph on the way back to Genting Sempah. Yu Kit stood up a couple of times as his "Little Brother" has started to feel numb. Chris & I pulled away as Malcolm dropped back a little. I felt strong but reserved the energy for the 1km "Killer Klimb!"

We stopped by the chestnut stalls in Genting Sempah & waited up for Yu Kit & Malcolm. I was tempted again to ask the hawkers if they had ever fried or roasted a cicada but just I didn't have the heart. Just gave them a big smirk. If I did that, they would think I've gone loony.

Locals don't eat cicadas. Some people from other parts of South East Asia do. The closest I've had was fried grasshoppers/locust with minced chilies. Superb! But you can’t beat Ulat Mulong / Sago Tree Larvae, yummy...How to cook a Sago Tree Larve? For the recipe click here.

Deep fried - skewered cicadas & grasshoppers

Ending the 10 min break, Chris said that "Only people with high I.Q. would use the right side of the road to the top".
Yu Kit said "That’s the chicken route!" which he then decided to use.

If you don’t feel so good, go have some chicken soup = If you're not up to it, don't force yourself.

me, Yu Kit, Malcolm (NZ), Chris (GBR) & my twin

I'm gonna whip that Son of a Gun today, which I did. Yeahooo! Didn't even blink. Whoa! How did I do it? Sit, relax & tackle it inch by inch. If you think you can gobble it in one gulp - who's stoppin you?



The dreaded twins

Just enjoyed the fruits of my labour & rolled down without much thought. My soul flew across the ocean & the cool breeze flowed over my cheeks like a virgin's caress...


SM Teknik Gombak - Hot Springs, Bentong, Pahang


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