Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 54 - A Huge Day today

It is now 10.00pm and I have just managed to get some accommodation sorted in Penang as basically the whole island is booked out as it's a Saturday night and "bike week" but what a great day it's been, even if it did start at 5.00am this morning.

Last night I stayed the night in Kuala Selangor, a sleepy fishing town about 350kms south of here. It was obviously a popular spot for locals and it sounded like it was right next to the mosque. Now I know I've made a couple of comments about this before, but it is amazing being surrounded by the sounds of the prayers through the loud speaker systems.

I recorded a little bit at 5.45am this morning to give those of you who have never heard it an idea of what the praying sounds like and at the same time learnt about the different calls to prayer and such. It is fascinating and as I said before, Islam is obviously for the dedicated.

YouTube Video

Chalet accomodation, off the beaten track ... Clean and tidy with own shower and toilet and tv. - about $50 for the night.

This morning i set off and after barely 10km's I stopped to fuel up and there was another big bike at the service station (they are few and far between because of the cost) and as it turned out this was a local with his 12 year old son on the back of his ninja.

At the next lights he pulled up and asked me where I was heading. I said Penang and he said great, follow me, I am meeting some friends and we are going, so around the corner I went and I was greeted by the most wonderful sight - half a dozen cruisers including a couple of vulcans and harleys, so I pulled up a chair, made some new friends and I set off with the group to Penang through some back roads. Now, for those kiwis reading this, when I say back road, I actually mean really busy roads with not that many corners - there are cars and small bikes EVerywhere.

Check out the handlebars on the orange Harley...

At the lunch stop a guy on a versys like I am riding pulled up, and the guys in the group thought he was my friend, and next thing he's joined the ride too. He was really interesting. His name is Charles and he is an expat Aussie who has married a local, converted to Islam and they live in Penang currently. More about Charles later.

Anyway, we had a great ride to Penang then went over the very impressive bridge to get to the island.

After a trek through the built up areas we went up and over and the guys from the motorcycle group split off to go to their accomodation. Charles kindly offered to lead me to Batu Feringgi where i planned to stay the night and i had arranged to meet Faizal and his group for dinner and a drink in Georgetown.

Well, lots of the places were booked up and those that werent were so incredibly expensive and overpriced in my opinion, i said no on principal. I thought, well there'll be another one around the corner. Well, there was, but usually it was full. I must have gone to 15 hotels then Faizal texted and suggested one, where I went and they said they were full but they had another site that had one room available, so off I went again in the now dark, and in the horrendous traffic (I am never complaining about Auckland traffic again) and after another half hour I found the place and collapsed in a hot sweaty mess.

On the way to Batu Ferrengi, Charles suggested we stop at one of the stalls on the side of the road and have some Durian, which we did. This is a well known asian fruit with a strong odour. Its taste is very strange - a little fruity and a little vegetably.

Charles and yours truly.....

After our pit stop it was a short ride to Batu Feringgi where Charles bid me farewell as he was long overdue home, and this is where my frustrations on finding accommodation began (see paragraph above)

A huge thanks at this point must go to both the guys from the group and to Charles for their generosity and kindness today. In fact the guys are out at a big bike show tonight but i am just too stuffed to go.

For a lad who loves the solitude of our South Island roads, the sheer heat, amount of traffic and activity everywhere can be somewhat tiring and even a bit overwhelming. I was also meant to have met faizal but kind of missed him too, so a bit of a bummer, but hopefully tomorrow i will get a chance to see everyone again.

For now, it is time to hit the hay.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.


Gary France said...

One of the really cool things about riding in a new country is when you meet local bikers and ride with them, so I am pleased you met that group. Those bars on that orange Harley look, well, pretty uncomfortable! It is funny that you had some Durian, as I had some for the first time a few days ago and wrote about it on my blog. The one I had wasn’t too smelly and it tasted okay, but I am not sure I would rush out and buy another just yet. It is definitely an acquired taste! Your journey gets more interesting each time I read about it.

Charles Meekings said...

Nick! If I had known you were running into trouble finding accommodation in Batu Ferrengi, my wife and I could have put you up for the night in Gelugor.

Incidentally, did you venture out into the night market?

- Charles

Charles Meekings said...

Nick! If I had known you were running into trouble finding accommodation in Batu Ferrengi, my wife and I could have put you up for the night in Gelugor.

Incidentally, did you venture out into the night market?

- Charles

Nick said...

Hey Charles. By the time I found my accom and sorted out my stuff it was about 10.00pm so just collapsed in a heap and went to sleep after updating my blog. :) starting to show my age !

Anonymous said...

Have only just read your yesterdAy blog which we found absolutely so interesting. Glad you had a great group to bike with. You bikes are certainly a friendly group with similar interests and it's wonderful for you all to be able to rely on each other. Wecould do with a bit of your 36 degrees. Itsbeen freezing heretoday!!!!

We are back home after a nice weekend in Auckland. Sparks was of course very pleased to see us when we picked him up, haha!!

Look forward to next "bully". Hope you found Faizal. Xxxx

Sime said...

Nice post Nick,

Always a great read!

Would have been nice to ride with some fellow bikers, and to meet some locals too.
Durian is an acquired taste, can't say it smells too flash!

Btw, you're fading away!

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