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.
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.