Tuesday, 29 December 2009
RUNNING FOR THE BORDER
Nothing was going to stop us! Wind, punctures, stomach problems, road works, hills, bad weather, heat and humidity - all had to be coped with in our quest to cross the border into Malaysia not later than 26 December. (I exagerate a bit, because the wind was often in our favour and there were only a few moderate hills - although my tyres have worn to the point where I suffer a glass puncture almost every day). We were allowed "NO FEAR" in our efforts, as the road sign in the picture indicates ("ban Bang Boet"). However, in our Southern rush we did manage to stay over at some of the nice spots where we'd previously been (what a good thing we'd already cycled this way earlier in the year when we had the time). Well, we made it into Malaysia in the afternoon of the 26th (due date), and managed to cycle to the coastal town of Kuala Perlis by evening. The following morning we took a ferry boat to the resort island of Langkawi, about 30 km off the mainland coast. I need some time to unwind, and have been relaxing on the island for a day or 2 now. Leana obviously has more energy, as she quietly packed up and left this morning (or perhaps it's just that I'm not the best person to get along with!). There are some obvious differences between Thailand and Malaysia, the most notable being that Malaysia is predominantly an Islamic country. In Thailand women are often "skimpily" dressed, whereas in Malaysia they tend to be covered up, often with head scarves and all. In Thailand there are many Buddhist Wat's around, but here every town has it's mosque with the Immam calling the faithful to prayer. For me Malaysia is also much more expensive than the previous SE Asian countries where I've been, so I'll have to pinch my pennies. Otherwise there is no immediate rush, as I have a free stay of 3 months in this country. Daily distances cycled since Bangkok have been:- Puktian Beach 151 km; Prachuap Khiri Khan 146 km; Bang Saphan 101 km; Chumphon 118 km; Chayo 142 km; Chawang 146 km; Phattalung 125 km; Hat Yai 107 km; Kuala Perlis (Malaysia) 109 km; and Langkawi Island (after ferry boat) 26 km. Total distance cycled since Cape Town is 52 457 km.