Slim Pickings in Slim River

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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In a Pit

Flag of Malaysia  , Perak,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today was long, really long. Desperate to get to KL and live it up, we agreed on a 100+ mile day.  Tom was fully signed up to this and the first to be up and organising.  Muffins and canned iced coffee outside a 7-11 store with the town of Taiping waking up around us was pleasant (apart from a big pile of dog/possibly human poo right where we parked the bikes!) We were off, easily out of town and onto a major highway.  There was not much to look at but highways always make for quick cycling and today was no exception.  With Tom plugged into his iPod (has he already grown bored of our company?) and speeding off into the distance, Pols and I plugged away carrying the extra weight of his leather manbags.  Seriously, girls are meant to over pack for holidays. 

We quietly knew that cycling on expressways in Malaysia is not allowed.  We had sneaked past a couple of tolls already today where the NO BICYCLE sign was clear for all to see, but we were desperate to stay on it to help us out with the 100 miles we had to cover.  But then the patrol car drew up behind us, lights flashing and siren sounded.  The officer turned out to be very nice and advised us we must leave at the next exit.  He said he would wait for us at Km 146 and show us the way off.  However, we then overtook him as he pulled over to assist a broken down truck.  Before we knew it we had past Km 146 and were climbing a huge hill which would undoubtedly lead us into the dangerous tunnel he had warned us about. We did see him later on but he was driving in the opposite direction, he just gave us a disapproving look and went on his way.  Through the tunnel we went, helped out by a lane closure which we used as our private lane.  We decided we should not push our luck so we did leave at the next exit and perfect timing it was.  It led us straight to the Golden arches.  The Big M.  MaccyD's.  3 BigMac meals later and we were ready to get going again.

It was much more interesting off the highway but the hills continued and the miles passed slowly.  We broke it up with some good drinks stops and a particularly interesting encounter with the spikey fruit found throughout Malaysia.  The Durian fruit is banned from hotels due to its awful smell.  It looks even worse when you open it up, like an oversize maggot with a cream cheese consistency.

The afternoon rain came as we took cover.  A real downpour once again.  It is almost as if the clouds are set on a timer and burst at the same time every day.  We also had a puncture to deal with.  Tom’s shiny new bike was riding well but fell victim to the familiar metal staple which has cursed us through Asia.  Tom, not being the most practical of chaps, called out for help and wheeled his bike over for Pols and I to exhibit our well-rehearsed puncture repair drill. 

The last few miles continued to hurt but we eventually came across the place picked out for a good night’s rest, Slim River.  How wrong can one be?  We cycled hopefully from one end of town to the other.  I did see a couple of signs for a hotel but ignored them as they looked very seedy.  I was sure the comfortable hotel would appear, but no.  We U-turned back to the seedy looking buildings I had cringed at a mile back.  110 miles on the clock and the sun gone, we were on no position to cycle on.  Tom and Pols headed up the dark stairs whilst I guarded the bikes outside.  They emerged and gave the thumbs up.  Thumbs up to what? I am not sure.  It was terrible (see photos of bathroom and bed) but would make the arrival at The Mandarin Oriental in KL tomorrow all the more sweet. Tommy braved the shower first and reported back it was an approximation of a shower, but closely resembled a bucket of water and a scoop. Later we wondered if maybe the 'shower’ was actually just a tub of water for flushing the loo.

In contrast, the food we found was great.  A cracking sweet and sour pork dish washed down with a Tiger beer completely knocked us out.  What a great day!  Well done Thomas William Neverton Godfrey (yes, that really is his name), excellent pedalling old boy!

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