Sunday, 14 February 2010
THE STRAITS OF MALACCA
Since leaving Singapore Leana and I cycled North along the S-West coast of Malaysia to the former Portuguese/Dutch/British colonial territory of Malacca (now called Melaka). On our way we stayed over in Batu Pahat, where we were royally entertained by Keng and Penny who we'd met almost 2 years previously while they were backpacking in Iran (we even stayed in a luxury condo which belongs to Penny's family). In Melaka where Keng is at flying school, we were given a grand tour of the historic sights as well as being taken out for meals all the time. Then it was time to head on to Kuala Lumpur (commonly known as KL). We had to go to the Indonesian Embassy there for renewable visa's - and of course also to see the Petronas Twin Towers (until recently the tallest buildings in the world). In KL we also bumped into Joel, a cyclist from New York who we'd previously met in Bangkok where he'd started his trip. We were unsure about the route into KL, but once on the highway we found ourselves on motorcycle paths for much of the way to the city centre (of course we assumed the paths were also for bicycles). When we left the city, however, we took a different route and were twice requested by police to leave the highway - they were so polite that the second guy even apologised for having to tell us we weren't allowed. Nonetheless, we arrived back in Melaka in the midst of Chinese New Year celebrations. Not only are we staying in Chinatown, but a significant proportion of Malaysians are of Chinese origin. The streets are colourfully decorated, some areas are converted to night markets, and of course there are the obligatory fireworks. Today, 14 February, is New Year, so we're relaxing before taking the ferry across the Straits of Malacca to Sumatra Indonesia (probably tomorrow). Distances cycled since my last update from Singapore have been:- Pontian Kechil 103 km; Batu Pahat 81 km; Melaka 108 km; Port Dickson 95 km; Banting 109 km; Kuala Lumpur 67 km; Port Dickson 95 km; and Melaka 82 km. Total distance cycled on this journey is 54 828 km.