The last time I saw Jan was way back in June, in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. We took different paths then, and when we later got back on the same road, Jan was a month ahead of me. As he nears the end of his mission, he’s been slowing down, while I’ve been speeding up, thanks to judicious use of ferries. As a result, I’ve finally caught up, and we’ve spent the last couple of days riding together. Just like old times. Except it’s not snowing now. But we are in a Muslim country again.
After Satun, in southern Thailand, Nicola, Dave (her husband) and I got a ferry to Langkawi, Malaysia, where we saw some of the Langkawi Ironman. Dave was riding around on a classic local commuter, which looked rather amusing amongst the titanium-frame, carbon fibre forks, ultra lightweight racing machines the competitors were using. Langkawi didn’t do much for me, and the duty-free prices were a ripoff. Most prices were more expensive than elsewhere in the region. The only cheap thing was beer – 1.50RM for a can, compared to 6RM elsewhere in Malaysia.
From Langkawi we went to Penang for a dose of Somerset Maugham/colonialism/Lord Jim/whatever, along with fantastic food, and some rather annoying ladyboys. Dave had to fly out of there, but we picked up Jan, so it’s almost a fair swap. Well for me anyway, Nicola might have other opinions. Leaving Penang on the ferry was easy – and free, since they only charge people going in the other direction. Score.
We’ve then been riding towards Kuala Lumpur, and I have to say I’m not hugely impressed with cycling in Malaysia, compared to Thailand. The road is too busy, too many trucks. Most shocking of all, the service stations don’t have shaded tables and chairs to sit at. Outrageous that, since all Thai service stations have somewhere to sit down out of the sun. But there’s still some interesting things to see and do, like Kellie’s Castle and getting our photo taken with the first rubber tree in Malaysia. Well I thought it was interesting.
From here I’ll head to Kuala Lumpur, and then it will be a bit of mucking around in Malaysia, possibly a bit of diving, before marking off Asia, and heading to Darwin. Probably 3-4 weeks before I get there. No hurry, eh?