Monday, 10 September 2018

The Beginning of the Motorcycle Journey

29 July 2018, Today was the official day I leave Singapore. Gave up the keys to my room in Tiong Bahru back to the landlord in the morning and with my bag packed I headed for Johor through Kranji. The surrender of a place to stay in Singapore felt like the true beginning of leaving and starting the journey but somehow knowing that I have to go back home to KL and would have to run errand such as packing, permit runs, etc etc, the beginning is does not feel the same as the last two trips


I don't feel like the trip really kicked off this time. Unlike the last two trips, when I check-in to the airport and get my boarding pass and crosses the gates ... I knew it was the beginning of an adventure but this time round the start is more obscure, so blend in like I knew it, but not really since most of the time its only a memory or a tale talked so much to friends and family.

We don't visit our own country much i suppose. It goes for all different country as well. Guess it does not feel justified spending so much time and money for something no different than back home. That's whats it feels like when visiting kampung after kampung ... I know this ... I understand this I think, but actually every place is a new place, but just not that out of our comfort zone, hence it is not as interesting as when I was travelling in south america. I spend so much time visiting one town to another that is so identical like a kampung to a kampung but never felt bored overseas and yet I get the feeling that I will feel this way in Malaysia ... sigh

Crossing from Singapore to Johor was a breeze as I planned and I avoided the major crowd and skipped the jam. Across the border and stright up grab to the condo to meetup bluey. Alas the battery was dead, just a few days i had hoped the battery would survive but it was totally flat. Only hope now is to recharge it by riding it else it would cost me another RM 180 to change.

Very fast I felt this was solidatary .... riding alone and checking into the gateway hostel to Tioman Island, I wonder what I was doing in Mersing. It was a small town as expected and the only reason people seams to come here is to get out to the island which cost extravagant ammont of money. Yet I am here just cruising by and staying longer not knowing why.

This journey is going to be so much different from the last two trips. Somehow I know there will be more time alone than anything else ... 


Thursday, 6 September 2018

My Hopes of Getting a FIA Carnet De Passage En Douane – Malaysia

So some background info for most would not know about this mysterious Carnet De Passage En Douane (CDP). Short version, its like a passport for the vehicle travelling overseas. 

Long version i will leave it to https://www.riderchris.com/info/carnet-de-passage-malaysia/ which was the main source of information for me anyway. Thanks Chris.

Anyway, technically i do not need a Carnet if i was to only go South East Asia for they were not recognized in these countries but then again, these days and age and especially in SEA, somethings are like the US currency ... its not official but once the people understand the system, they use it.

So based on many forums, private facebook overlanding group, some personal message here and there, it was known within the small community of crazy people like me who wants to travel by their own vehicle, although its is nor formally recognized, the Carnet is understood and sometimes used by the custom officials in Malaysia,Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam so if i have one ... i basicly have Bluey’s passport all set to go.

Not official but good enaugh to cross over without hassle. Or what i was thinking is ... better to have some sort of papper than empty handed trying to cross a border with a motorbike.

Time to get a Carnet ....

It all started on Tuesday morning 7 August 2018, it was time to get to work and kick off all the red tape item so i can set off for the trip ... my estimate was, I would need 2 weeks to sort out everything before I am on the road again. So down I went to Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) to enquire information for application of Carnet De Passage En Duoane 


Automobile Association of Malaysia 

Searching the place at Shah Alam was easy enaugh with google maps and once there, the reception desk immediately directed me to thrid floor and Ms. Woo. So i guess this was going to be stright forward and not wandering around like a lost puppy.

I met Ms. Woo which was a charming lady with load of adventure stories. I mean kinda expected it since if you do Carnet for a living ... only the crazy idiots and the big dreamers go for those stuff and Carnet was not something people think of unless you try to do overlanding in loads of countries.

Before we begin i got a warning .... No more Carnet to Issue they said.

Huh ??? what .... ?? means what ??

So apparently they run out of stock for the Carnet Booklet and wont be able to issue me a Carnet unless the new stock comes in.

And when will that be?

No idea was the reply. *roll eyes*

I could already see all the problems popping up in my head and all the hassle i would have to do to make this trip work, but also at the same time my head was running all kinds of scenario and alternative travel plans ...

The boon and bane of having such flexibility in travel but still it was a f*cking stab to my heart that the Carnet was not available now ... with no idea when it will be available ....

Sometime this year i asked ???

Dunnu ???

Early next year ??

Dunnu ??? It's out of her hands ..... and apparently mine too ...

If inside my heart i wanted to scream and started bulldozing like a anyone would do in Singapore, i kept a super cool composure thinking that yea sure i can make do with anything that comes my way.

For an hour Ms. Woo kept talking, taking me through the procedure of Carnet which mostly i already knew thanks to Chriss details post (link above) ... interlace with the instruction was stories, stories of how people had no idea of the inner working of Carnet and would come to her only to have their dreams blown away.

Some stories i remember was

A group got a Carnet and started their travel but during travel only got entry stamps and no exit stamps ... so their big bucks deposit is stuck since it was half done ... good luck to them

Some joker got his licence and immediately bought a bike and came to get a Carnet for he wanted to travel tomorrow .... no go for that one as well

Another thought the deposit is determine by the owner and not AAM malaysia, so a BMW deposit would be roughly RM 55000 ... awww ... no money for deposit ... dreams cancel ...

Funny thing was ... all her stories and information was already expected by me and so i was really good to go .... minus the fact she does not have the booklet to give me...

How long is the waiting list ???

Very long ...... f*ck ...

Never did think it was that popular ... guess i am not the pioneer of crazy.

So there it is ... I am stuck now ... no Carnet unless by some miricale the booklet stock arrive and all the waiting list has other commitments that i get to jump queue and by the merciful Ms. Woo would still remember me, I would get a carnet within this few months.

I am more or less f*cked .... sigh

So i have a few options left ....

1. Wait ... and PRAY .... Hope that by some Miricle i will get a Carnet in the next one month ...

2. Time to visit all the Embassy and get the permit one at a time ... so much red tapes to cross with this path

3. Just risk it ... start the journey ... reach the border and somehow ... somehow ... continue my journey .... 


to be continue ......

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Riding With The’ Gang to Taiping

The Bike Gang Parking Spot in Taiping 
I procrastinated in writing this post for a few months now for i am afraid. It is very seldom that I write with people that will read this post and somehow the fear or judgement or the call of bluff if I hype up the story or tweak it a bit may be exposed. Oh well ...

So to tell it properly i have to start from the beginning I guess ...

( This will probably be a long post since I am lazy to break it to segments )

The Gang

I first knew Kim & Bijan through a comment left on my blog. Apparently they were looking for information on border crossing around South America and they stumble upon my blog, so that was the beginning. I was back in Singapore working and they were still on the road but we kept in touch and a year later I met them in person in Dec 2016. Time sure flies since then.

If the one reason I am still blogging till today is definitely from all the amazing people I have met through the blog and not for the hope of Google Sense advert ever giving me money. I earn USD1 a year currently on the blog through advert and with a USD100 minimum pay-out, I guess I need to live to a hundred or something. Still I have hope ... haha

Early 2017 we meet up again exchanging stories, having fun reminiscing travel experience and each with their own twinkle in their eye probing subtly each other plans for the next adventure.

Kim: No money now la have to work .... work ... sigh*

Me: Yep yep ... plans and dreams not important now ... time to zombie mode and work and safe for the next trip .... we discuss again next year ok.

Early 2018 and the meet up was more exiting this time round. Even before I asked, I could see the eyes shines brighter and the smile much wider.

Bijan: Ooi what's your plan ?

I got my bike d .... planning to travel South East Asia, time to see my home backyard properly. Paiseh go so many places in the world but never really seen home-ground South East Asia.

Alas time changes everything. Kim got a sudden job offer in Dubai leaving Bijan alone in her plans to go back to South America riding. I could only smile. We were all traveling again in our own way and that was so much fun than zombie working. The excitement, the danger and the ever ongoing subtle jest to up one another that you gonna miss out big not joining me on my own trip.

While Bijan trip will be the most obvious get go adventure with everything to look forward to minus Kim, mine had unlimited potential since South East Asia is so near I could practically detour and change plans and if lucky or fated enough maybe end up in Europe through the mind boggling silk road .... possibilities but I ain't thinking this time round ... we’ll see ...

Kim thou tries to boost her own spirit up saying she would visit the middle east more easily now, its nearer to Europe and South Africa, holidays are still possible like riding in Oman. Under constant rebuke from me and Bijan to get Kim as jealous as possible, the pout on Kim mouth was priceless.

Bijan: Enjoy seeing mine and Edwin post on Facebook ya travelling :P we will keep you entertained.

Me: Yep ... and after a year when you save up all that money working, we will be broke and watch your travels.

So no chance to ride together ... @#$% ... hence Taiping was the outcome of the discussion and by some luck we all mange to squeeze out time from our busy schedule to make it happen before each of our big trips were to begin.

The Bikes

Two Big Girls & a Small Bluey .... 
I rode bluey back from Johor to KL just to join up with Kim and Bijan on the trip to Taiping, but that first long ride nearly wreck my body. So many pains and aches on my butt that i had never experience, so when Kim called and said they need to delay the start by one day i was secretly overjoyed. A message back to my boss forcefully extending my holiday by two more days was a given.

Me:- Bluey ( Demak D7 125cc )

A local Malaysian made bike, Demak was not well known and last i heard (2018) rumours that the company closed shop. I choose that bike for many reasons i guess ... 

1. It was whoopingly cheap at RM 2900
2. Its below 125cc which means i can bring it into vietnam without issue
3. Its super easy to self maintain (i no longer service at the workshop .. DIY)
4. Malaysian made babe

Bluey at Sekinchan 

Bijan:- CMC Italjet Buccaneer 250i

Frankly i admire the beauty of this bike. The engin power, the fuel inject system, the lovely sound or a puring cat ... Bijan offered me to test ride the bike many times as it was within my licence class of 250cc, i think she could almost see my drool of wanting to try it but i had to say no .... somehow i felt if i test ride it and knew what i was missing, riding bluey would never be the same

Bijan's Ride: CMC Italjet Buccaneer 250i
Kim:- CMC 400 cc

This power-horse from china and looking at Kim riding it i wonder how she manage to ride it as well. The bike was way bigger than her. Still have to admire a lady rider. 

Kim's Ride: CMC 400
The Ride from KL to Taiping

Kim: We did not really plan the route to Taiping, we just pole-pole along the way there is it ok with you?

Pole-Pole which is pronounce as poh-leh-poh-leh was a word Kim pick up somewhere along their travels around the world which means chill, relax, slow-slow, or along that line.

Me: Sure, in fact that is a must ... heck I pole-pole from JB to KL 350km took me 12 hours .. that's 30km/hr. So which road do we take to Taiping I asked since we were sitting down in Uptown Damansara eating breakfast at dawn before the journey

Kim: We thinking north-south highway all the way to Taiping.

Apparently their version of chill riding and my version was totally different. How the hell do you chill ride on a highway? So I suggested a route I knew ... the Sekinchan - Teluk Intan - Lumut - Taiping coastal road which was the old coastal kampung road. Luckily they bought the idea and we were off with the first stop aimed at Sekinchan.

Start Your Engines ..... Vroom .... 
Throughout the journey their slow pace was Bluey MAXIMUM SPEED. Oh how I came to knew bluey so much better now thanks to Kim and Bijan. Bluey has a top speed of 117km/hr on flat road and best cruised at 70-80km/hr but with these two I was forced to go 90-100 km/hr else be left behind. Heck sightseeing is hard when you travel pass 60km/hr

Cendol stops, coconut stops, paddy fields stop, photo stops, lunch stops, silently I apologies to bluey for the abuse at every rest point and hope that bluey does not overheat before we reach Taiping.

Title: Bijan Taking Photo of Kim 

Title: Before the Big Photo Taking Session 
Last stop before Taiping was Burn Chendol, and looking at the clouds there was signs of rain on the way. Time to ride everyone ... no more stops, we meet at the hostel ok. Bye bye Edwin both Kim and Bijan said with a smirk on their face. So I got one more treat after chendol i guess, the Malaysian call it “Makan Asap” eat my smoke .... within seconds I have lost both the girls

Slow ride then I guess, but looking up ahead I could smell the rain coming. Stop at the side of the road to change gear to wet weather outfit then almost instantly it was the tropical rain, the big droplets that completely soak everything, good thing I suited up fast I guess but now I could only go at 30km/hr since visibility is very poor.

It rained all the way to Taiping and when I reached the hostel, I was told no girls on bikes have arrived yet .... cheekily I send a message to Kim .... ooi why so slow ... never did get a reply but half an hour later the sound of Vroom Vroom Vroom started echoing at the front door of the hostel.

Kim & Bijan unpacked everything that was wet which was almost everything and went straight to the self service laundromat few shops down.

Kim: You need to chuck in anything to dry ?

Me: Nope ... thou my bags are wet all my clothes are dry ... plastic bag inside the bag haha.

Kim: CIS !!!

Taiping

Somehow the only two activity that we had in mind for the three days two night in Taiping was Maxwell Hill and Kuala Sepetang Seafood. Maxwell Hill was regulated by the government so the only way to get up was by paying the RM 10 jeep fee or hike up on foot. Lazzy buggers that we are, all paid the RM 10 to get a ride up. 

Maxwell Hill also known as Bukit Larut 
Some of the better roads at Maxwell Hill 
I for one almost regretted the trip up .... motion sickness plus one hell of a damm good driver racing up a barely 5 foot winding dirt path was almost enough to make me puke. Plus not knowing how long more I was to endure the torture for I had no idea how far the ride up is, it was a mind torture as well.

Somehow just as I thought I'm not gonna make it to the end, we were there ... up high on Maxwell hill where the temperature drop lovingly to 21 degrees or so I felt. Rest was all I did ... plus a bit of mental training to prepare for the trip downhill.

Every other time was spend wandering around Taiping with Kim constantly on the foodie app looking for new places to go eat.

Bijan: Ooi when did this become a food trip .... (grumbling of the weight she will gain)

While Kim could eat a horse without gaining a pound, I could eat consistently without getting full so paired up we were eating almost non-stop. Kim would order all the dishes she wanted to try and I'll take almost half and Bijan will grudgingly take a spoonful or two of the good stuff. 

Chendol

Rojak

Fried Banana - Goreng Pisang

Big Prawn Curry in Bread 

Halal Char Kuey Teow - Missing one Ingredient 

Popiah
Food was always the topic and one of the special memorable one would be the Guinea pig.

Bijan Or Kim: Did you try the Guinea pig when you were in South America?

Me: Yep ... its delicious, didn't you all tried it when you were there?

Kim: CIS ... we did not ... seram la when we see the thing roasted with all the feet and head still intact.

Me: I tried it at Cusco; Peru, nicely grill and all. Its the food of the king’s in South America you know. If you go into the famous church in Cusco, there is a painting of the ‘Last Supper’ and in the painting the main food shown was the Guinea pig and the wine was actually quecha a local alcohol drink. That’s Christianity localized for you here in South America, where they try to explain to the locals the best food and drink one could have before dying, that was what the local understood and painted.

Bijan: What does it taste like ?

(With a twinkle in my eye and a sly smile hidden away .... knowing that only Bijan will be going back to South America and without Kim)

Me: If you wanna know what wild boar taste like, not farm pig ya but wild boar ... babi hutan .. yea it taste like that

I knew that Bijan will never be able to verify the lie I just told .... (Sorry Bijan) .... and a few months later when she was back in South America, her three spoonful was the limit, with the rest left and rejected .... and the remark was it taste like chicken+duck+pigeon+rabbit.

Crap ... i may have just introduced a mental block saying it taste like the forbidden fruit PIG that she could not enjoy it.

The Ride from Taiping to KL

So the journey back was even more faster than the journey to Taiping. The girls now can no longer pole-pole at my pace hence lesser stops since I could not ask for a stop anymore ... heck bluey also started to complain at the pace with flickering headlights.

By the time we reached near Sekinchan, both my main and dim lights were blown, only the high beam was working. Over rev ... too fast

There was a few stops long enough to cool down bluey, one at Pasir Salak town which was a museum landmark now for the historical moment Malaya decided to go against the British rule and kill one of the envoy J.W.W Birch. 

Pasir Salak Museum 

Museum Ticket Office Guy: Two Ringgit please ...

Me, Kim & Bijan : Eh ... wait a second ... (begin the bargain, discussion, persuasion, Non stop berating, angkat bola, charming, jokes trying to avoid the RM 2 fee to enter the museum)

Naturally we lost and paid the RM 2 fee to enter the museum and was instantly greeted with air-conditioning. If only the ticket man said there was aircon inside in the first place, so much worth the RM2 to escape the heat for an hour we all agreed.

The other small stop was Beruas, a single street barely 300m long which said free museum. I could not remember anything inside the museum but it was a nice stop where we got this awwsome photo together. 



Beruas - Selfie Time 

Last stop was food! Tanjung Karang. The girls left me in the dust so many times that I now have no idea where they were or where we are to meet up. Just have to hope they remember our talks about food and Kim’s suggestion about Tanjung Karang.


I got there and parked at the Petrol Station and send a message wondering if I would get a reply or worst yet get a reply telling me they have reach KL already.

A few minutes later I got a reply and they were nearby having the same thoughts about food. So the last stop was this port side seafood restaurant at Tanjung Karang. 





Nuff said ...

I’ll miss travelling with a gang ... sure fill out all the void when one is bored and has nothing to do.

Trip back to Singapore alone was lonely without them and I had to brace a storm as well. Not as fun when you don't have friends to laugh at stupid things. 



Painful Heavy Rain on the way back to Singapore 
Post road trip

When I got back to work & life in SG, colleagues & friends was surprise i finally turn up since I did a last minute extension of holiday.

“ Oh your are back!!” was the general consensus, not sure if it was malicious or disdain or a sigh of relief to them.

I got interrogated on where I disappeared to naturally.

Me: Riding ... to Taiping .... and Back ...

My colleague & friends was suppressed, and thought I was crazy but somehow this should be the natural reaction. When they probe further and knew I was travelling with Kim & Bijan two general types of reaction came out ....

For the Girls
I sense they had this ave and respect for Kim & Bijan ... and a feeling of triumph that the girls could ride faster and better than me to Taiping. Kim & Bijan is a beacon for girl empowerment as I always told them even thou they never seam to think much about it. 


For the Boys


Boys will have the widest imagination ever .... so I'll just leave some of the memorable quotes

A: Did you manage to catch them ? (referring to me eating dust) You should have try to catch one at least ... he said with a smirk

I: You should get a bigger bike ... that's the only way to go ...

T: No wonder you so tired .... daytime riding bike, night-time dunnu riding what ..... (err ... )

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Test Ride No.1 Bringing Bluey Back Home

Somewhere along the way I started calling my bike Bluey … whenever someone comment about how beautiful the bike is, Bluey become a ‘her’ but when the comment is about its practicality, the cheap price, the great old classic style where one can self-maintain the bike … bluey becomes a ‘him’, guess the non-gender like name of Bluey fits in a way 

My Bike Bluey - Demak D7
Its been 4 months now since I bought Bluey back in Dec 2017 and this was to be the first long journey I would take in a mini self-experiment before the long-term trip. The plan was simple … ride back home to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore via the old kampung road. Total distance about 355km via old road. 

I started the journey early in the morning of 530am from Tune Hotel Danga Bay Johore Bahru with the morning chill and the absence of heavy traffic. All was well till I started reaching the Senai-Kulai-Simpang Renggam old road. Old road is still good road in Malaysia, just mainly used for the neighboring towns commute and not really for the long haul. Only problem, there was minimal street lights … so almost impossible to speed up. 

Sunrise - Time to pick up the pace 
By sunrise it was time to up the speed and cruising at 70 to 80 km/hr, it was a lovely ride all the way to Ayer Hitam. It was maybe 1/5 of the journey completed, and I already started to feel body ache all over with fatigue in places I had no idea existed. Maybe I was hungry I thought to myself … no breakfast and lack of cigarettes might be the cause … 
Ayer Hitam Pit Stop for Breakfast 

Roti Kosong & Teh Tarik for Breakfast

Parit Sulong Pit Stop for 2nd Breakfast - I Pit stop many times really .... 
Nothing much along the ride home, plenty of stops every 20 minutes, smokes, drinks, eat, rest …. Going by old road from Ayer Hitam-Yong Peng-Muar-Malacca-Alor Gajah-Senawang then I hit the Lekas Highway all the way back home.

Total time was 11 hours … for 355km … immediately I got comments on my FB & IG …

--> Why you riding at 30km/hr??

I was exhausted! Simply not accustomed to Riding a bike for such long hours and distance. Still I was proud of Bluey … never disappointed me once. 

Bluey back home ... 
The ride home was a solo test ride and the plan was to join up with Bijan & Kim to ride to Taiping the next day. Kim called me that night for something came up with Bijan and our trip to Taiping had to be postpone by one day … while they felt guilty of the last minute changes, in my mind I was glad … coz I could not fathom how I would be able to ride to Taiping the next day with the amount of butt ache and exhaustion I was feeling…

Immediately after confirming the postponement of the trip I send a whatsapp message to my boss …. I need another two days leave I told him …

(One day postpone and I request for two more days of leave extension haha …. Coz I know I would need another butt
break once I get back from Taiping)

Sunday, 29 April 2018

A personalized Tour Guide in Singapore

Recently (Sep 2017) I had visitors to Singapore after nearly 14 years staying here. Szet Li was one and the other Chris from the USA

Its funny coz I always write about all my travels but not really about the travels in Singapore and I wonder why …. Too close to home maybe … afraid that someone might track me down or refute the conclusions I make after much thoughts.

I’ll just go with lazy …

I was lost when they both had no itinerary on their list and leave all the recommendation to me trusting that I would give them a Singapore Experience no guidebook or internet recommendation can compare. The local knowledge or rather a skewed Malaysian perspective ….

Szet li was high school friend and Chris was a guy I bump into in a hostel in Seoul, Korea and re-connect again when I was in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s amusing that after two visitor came to Singapore and I became a tour guide of sorts, I brought them to the same route that I felt was the best way to see and experience this city-state mundane lifestyle.

Two personalized tour trips in Singapore for two very different Individual

Type 1 – The Foodie


Chris, my buddy ping me up on Facebook one day saying

Chris : Hey man, hows it goin? Ill be in Singapore for two days, arriving on Sep 1st and was planning on spending sept 2nd doing a day trip to Johor. On the third I fly to yangon, if you around maybe we could meet up, at least for a coffee or something or come with if you are free

I got his flight number and decided to pick him up in Singapore … then convince and chuckle him out of going to Johor and staying in Singapore instead … A day trip on to Johor on a public holiday without any know how of the complex border crossing between Malaysia and Singapore would have just burn him and probably made him miss a flight to Yangon anyway …

I knew Chris was a chillax traveller with no plans and no preference … food was a big up so the tour begin the moment he landed (about 10pm) ….

You hungry?? – Yeah …

So straight to the first stop Geylang Midnight Lorong 9 Frog Porridge.

The next day was the “I can’t eat anymore”

It started out nice and slow going to Chinatown for food … the food chain tour went in this manner

(Note that this was all done in a single day less than 8 hours)

1. Original Chew Kee Eating House – This is one of my fav since working in Chinatown for so many years, Soy Source Chicken Noodle


Soy Sauce Chicken Noodle - Chew Kee Eating House

2. Claypot Chicken Rice – This one was at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 335 Smith Street … up to second floor and try not to get lost in the maze of hawkers … I could never find the same hawker twice since I always got lost, so a random choice for a Claypot Chicken Rice

3. Durian – Along the way somewhere in Chinatown we pass by a Durian shop … tough negotiation with the uncle just to let me buy a small piece sampler for Chris … the one “biji” cost me SGD2 … Definitely interesting he said …. But once is enough 😊

4. Mei Heong Yuen Dessert – Good old and new traditional desert … there are many desert shop in Chinatown with all the tourist but this is the one the locals or go in “tapau” and leave quietly … it is still quite popular and crowded since those that know how to find good stuff will still find it. … I stuff him with “Bak Chang – (Cantonese Dumplings)” as well with a Red Bean Lotus & Cheng Teng

5. Free Bak Kwa Sample Bee Cheng Hiang - What can I say … nothing beats free food … just hang around the MRT entrance where the store is and you get tiny bits samplers …

6. Popiah – Block 32 Upper Cross Street, Chinatown Food Court … this is another hidden gem when you will not see idiot tourist Gawking with cameras … it was my fav and the stall lady stills remember me after so many years … bonus tour point was the numerous old folks that plays Chinese Chess as if their live savings depends on it …

7. Tiong Bahru Market - Jian Bo Shui Kueh #02-05, this is a traditional dying art of love ….


Jian Bo - Shui Kueh, Tiong Bahru Market
8. Otak – Otak - Block 112 Bukit Merah Neighbourhood Hawker, this is just me being lazy since its near my place of stay … also I did not know much place that sells Otak-Otak at 4pm in the afternoon

Break !! – I need a break he says

So a break we had … time to walk and burn some of the food away …

The Marina Bay Loop seams to be the best option I thought but more importantly Chris was on the same page as me for free stuff … so a bus ride to the National Gallery of Singapore. The old colonial building, City Hall of Singapore overlooking the “Padang” field where the annual F1 race starts was the starting point of the blurtravels personal walking tour.

In we go to the National Gallery but restricted ourselves to the free section :P the hidden gem that I knew as the highest floor of the National Gallery has a very nice al fresco bar with air-conditioning overlooking Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade and all the sky lines of Singapore on both sides. The bar was expensive but the view was free.

Then the slow walk passing the Victoria Theatre, Dalhousie Obelisk (Who knew Singapore had one Obelisk yeah), Anderson Bridge and tadaa we were at the most expensive hotel in Singapore, The Fullerton. The marina bay came into full sight and of course a visit to see the infamous “Merlion” of Singapore.

Then it was a long loop walk passing by the esplanade, DNA bridge and finally reached Marina Bay Sans Shopping Mall, Casino and Hotel. Luckily Chris was not a casino guy … else gulp … then we join all the other tourist for the lightshow.

OK ….. I can eat now so he says …

So for the last food stop I brought him to Kembangan MRT

9. Seng Kee Black Chicken Herbal Soup Restaurant - We ordered the second signature dish … Pig Organs Mee Suah, a delicacy not easily found in Singapore or Malaysia …

Seng Kee Black Chicken Herbal Soup 
Type 2 – Universal Studios Themepark

Szet li was a promised Universal Studios Themepark trip which I somehow said yea sure I’ll pay for you and everything so long as you make your way down to Singapore.

Fun Fact … of the 14 years I stay in Singapore I have never been visited before by friends in KL.

The occasional chit chat at the mamak stall when I am back in KL always friends have hopes of one day visiting Singapore …. But for a 5 hours bus journey or 45 minutes plane ride it was always a dream to them … Some or rather most would be here for a work trip and gone the moment I see the facebook check-in. So the first personal visit I got … bring a smile inside

So no brainer … a full day in Universal Studios Singapore … 😊

Surprisingly, night time was the same tour as Chris downtown …. For a first timer in Singapore I guess that was my best tour route 😊 … yep that’s the best route I think …

Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Hunt for that Special Ride

A road trip starts from the very beginning. Previously I wrote about converting my license from Singapore to Malaysia and the whole purpose was so I could be more aligned when travelling. Passport Malaysia, License Malaysia, Motorbike, bought, registered and MADE IN MALAYSIA.

All this for the paranoid traveler like me preparing for the future event if I were to try to sneak cross over borders of difficult nature such as the Thai-Myanmar Border or the Myanmar-China Border or the Cambodia-Vietnam border or the Vietnam-China Border. Best to get your story straight …. Especially when not speaking the same language. Best not to confuse the already confused officers when going about some unimaginable road trip.

So I decided in Sep 2017 that I was to be using a motorbike instead of a car for the road trip …. Now I just needed to buy a motorbike.

The dilemma was real :-

What kind of bike should I get ??

What was my budget … RM 5k ??

Second Hand or Brand New ??

250cc or 125cc or should I upgrade my license and get a Harley … ??

Could I afford a classic like Vespa??

Can I maintain the bike on the road myself??

What about Carnet & Insurance??

Those were just the basics that go over in my head while looking at adverts and adverts of bikes for sale on the internet. In the end money rules them all … I managed to streamline to a few models

Demak D7 125cc

Demak D7 150cc ( but its not out yet … only picture in theory on the internet )

KTNS GP 125cc

KTNS GP 250cc

As you can see …. I have a thing for the classic look. This all started after looking at my landlord bike in Singapore a Suzuki GN 125 which he maintained lovely like a vintage …. Alas I could not buy the bike off him for it would be in SGD 5k plus the other hassles of Carnet in SG insurance in SG registration to a non-citizen non-pass holder … Short story … I like a old mechanical no nonsense bike which I can strip apart myself someday and custom built it to my liking

My Singapore Landlord Bike - Suzuki GN 125 
So one fine week while I was back home in KL doing nothing … took my dad for a bike shopping trip … Demak D7 was about RM2900 but there was no stock in all the cycles shop we went in KL ... this covers from Setapak area to Ampang to Kajang … anyplace on the web that says there was a Demak D7 …. There was no more stock when we reach the place …

Next Best thing Was the KTNS GP 125cc – Price about RM 6k … imagine that … now I had to think very hard on how this was going to be …. Did not jump the gun but saw the other more beautifully sleek KTNS 250 cc … - Price about RM 12k … both had stock but need to order and wait …

I did not buy any bike that trip back to KL …

A month later late Nov 2017 … scouring the net like crazy for some hint a of a decent bike …. I found the authorized dealer shop that sells Demak and an expensive phone call from Singapore the guy tells me ya we have stock, but not much left …

Thinking it might be a false news like all the calls that say yea we have it till I reach the shop and they run out of stock and tries to sell you the double the price KTNS GP 125, I decided to drop a message on their facebook page. …

One day later the reply came … yea we have it … not much left thou …

Ng Brothers Motor
No. 37, Jalan Pakis 1, Taman Sri Pulai, Johor, 81100 Johor Bahru, Malaysia

So one nice weekend I made a trip to Johor, took the expensive long distance taxi ride to their shop and it was time to buy a bike …. Price was RM2900 ++ the guy said … just let me confirm the stock he said … a short phone call later

“But” …. He says …. My heart fell … thinking it must be the same thing again … no stock … run out … some other nonsense excuse ….

Motorshop: But only one color left – Black … are you ok with that … this is old stock no more in production this model he says …

With a big grin I paid the deposit and cant wait for the next week to come into Johor to pick up my new bike.

Somewhere in the middle of the week I got a call from the bike shop … they have a problem he said, … my heart fell even harder this time thinking its gonna be some shitty excuse that they made a mistake and now they don’t have the bike ….

Motorshop: I made a mistake … they don’t have black color … only blue, is it ok with you ….

Heck yea of course it was ok with me, better yet I prefer that color initially just did not say anything since there was no choice anyway …. But that was just my heart screaming YES YES YES

To him I said

Me: Haaar … no more black ah …. Got discount or not ? ( I just had to asked )

Motorshop: Haha … no discount, this is old stock and actually hor there is another thing, because its old stock, ppl are jacking up the price and selling it …

Me: Huh ?? Sorry I don’t understand. ( I fully understand … shit shit shit … how much is this extortion gonna be? Maybe I should not have asked for a discount .... too greedy ... instead of getting a discount i am being asked for more money *facepalm* )

Motorshop: I mean I get the old stock from other people and they not selling at old price anymore, they are selling higher price

Me: How much higher ( all kinds of random possibilities ran through my head even thinking if this was a big scam or not )

Motorshop: RM 300 more

Me: Ok ….

So I got the bike, an new but old bike if that make any sense … It was a bike that was manufacture in 2014 and sat in the store till I bought it in 2017 … 3 years … not too bad I hope … the shop settle all the insurance, road tax and stuff which was about RM 100 …

That next weekend I went to Johor and straight to the motorshop. Before even entering, I could see my bike nicely parked outside … it was one of a kind … no other bike looked like it. Paid my balance including the extorted RM 300 … I think it was extorted … well maybe not from this motorshop chap but definitely from someone up the line that pass the bike to him and finally to me.

Demak D7 - Ready for Collection

Demak D7 - My First Ride
Checked my Ownership document, Road Tax, Insurance …. Wait … what … I am married ??? Looking at the motorshop guy I pointed to the insurance which says martial status : Married …. Err this is wrong …

Motorshop: Ah !! no problem … its ok … you anything just come back … if I put you married its much much cheaper the premium … else at least 5 times more !!

Rolled my eyes …. Ok I am married I guess ….

Demak D7 back at Home - The Adventure Planning is in full swing now 

Sunday, 11 March 2018

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Last Day of Mini Adventure and A Near Miss Adventure

Last day was rush day to get back to KL as soon as possible so I could go down to Singapore the following day and not miss my own Elder Brother wedding. Well who’s to know what will happen it was a long drive from Gua Musang to KL anyway. 

Nothing much to note about the drive but the road was marvellous new and wide big double lanes newly laid and amazingly quiet with no cars around. That was the stretch from Gua Musang to Kuala Lipis. There was also nature crossing bridge and much of the overspill from Taman Negara was evident. Not too bad a drive actually … peaceful but boring nonetheless. 


Quiet Drive from Gua Musang to Kuala Lipis - At the Fringe of Taman Negara
Kuala Lipis was stop for lunch going all the way to the central town parking and even walked around for 20 minutes. Nothing of note again … I guess the last day was that sort of trip …. Loss of energy and the sad feeling that the road trip is going to end

Kuala Lipis Town - Malaysia

By the time I reached Bentong just before merging with the main Karak Highway I saw the detour … old road to Gombak and instinctly I veered towards the potential adventure. The roads were small windy with no road sideguards and almost thrilling to drive through full speed and slamming the brakes at corners going as fast as I dared till I almost collided with another on-coming car doing the same shit. 

The car skidded as I slid the rear tire off the tarmac and onto the grass but not before regaining control. The 206 now looked like a rally car, mud splatter and dirt ridden …. I drove on more mindful now that even if I keep to the lane, some other idiots might not. Radio reported massive accident at Karak highway and re-routed people to the old road. More cars appear and thus end my peaceful journey in old road as it become a main one. 

Reaching KL I went home first then with Kim & Bijan confirmation got out to Puchong to finally meet the two riders who travelled round the world for two years straight. Kim & Bijan, unbelievable that they actually gone to south Africa, travelled Mongolia, ride all out in South America and seen much more things than I ever have. 

Alas I have ran out of stories till my next adventure …. 

Next plan is ........ :P  
Meanwhile
I’ll leave a link for Kim’s & Bijan adventure for those that are interested in their story :) 

https://www.facebook.com/mencariutopiabijankim/

Kim & Bijan Travel Memoir
They also published a book which I highly recommend …. Sure did sooth my travelling itch for a few days … but then after … the withdrawal is so so much worst … ( it’s written in good Bahasa Malaysia thou )




Saturday, 10 March 2018

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Gua Musang, The Hidden Temple at Kampung Pulai

Gua Musang town is a very small town with not much to do. I resorted to wikitravel to see what there was to explore around the area and in a tiny map somewhere shows a 400 year old temple at Kampung Pulai a short drive from Gua Musang town. 
Temple Inside the Rock - Kampung Pulai
I found the temple overseeing a beautiful lake. Walk towards the lake and I saw the huge rock sticking out in the middle of a plain of trees and I could see some man made structure going up to the caves and on the top left a Chinese character in bright red.

It was beautiful but it was across the lake. Saw a mini stay wire bridge and walked across to find a grave path kind of road going both left and right around the lake. Figured right was shorter and I took a walk.

Mini Stay Cable Bridge To the Lake - Kampung Pulai
A Walk Into the Woods

I had time I figured and slowly took a 15minute walk toward the rock. Walking in I realised I was in a rubber tree plantation. It was serene and reaching the base of the rock I could see the majestic of the structure hanging onto the rock. 
A Walk Pass Rubber Tree Plantations

Rubber Tree Tapping - Kampung Pulai

Almost there ... Mini Shrine Along the way

Two locals was chilling out and as I approached the staircase going up, one of them told me that the old caretaker was no longer working so the temple is now closed permanently. I climbed up the stairs anyway but could not get pass the iron grill. The view was a gem forgotten in time. You could even see that it connects inside the caves and out to pockets of holes around the big rock. 


The Base of the Huge Rock at Kampung Pulai

Entrance to the 400 Year Old Temple at Kampung Pulai - The Bright Red Chinese Character was what I saw from A Far

Temple in a Rock - Kampung Pulai, Gua Musang
I may not find Gua Musang or pay my respects to the temple but just seeing the temple forgotten in time is a joy that I have found a gem off the beaten track.
Travelled on : Nov 2016