(written by Dave)
Up and out pretty early – heck it is easy getting organised without carrying the tent like we did in Oz. We had yoghurt in the room then Nancy used Michael’s kopi tips and bought us coffee downstairs at the hotel cafe. Not a bad cup – we should have it down by the time Nancy’s sister (Gretchen) and Steve meet us in Penang in a month or so. The road out of town was pretty quiet along the coast – riding along the South China Sea all day. While the traffic was very light we got lots of waves and toots from the drivers. Malaysia drivers seem really friendly – let’s hope this continues when we get to more populated areas.
Early in the ride the distant sea was full of ships queueing up to get into Singapore or surrounding waters. Later the shoreline changed to more fishing village feel. In fact, the town we ended up in has a Fisherman’s Museum, which we visited later in the afternoon. Lots of photo opportunities presented themselves along the way.
While the road was quiet, I still couldn’t resist a loop out to a resort that promised ocean views. This only added a couple k’s and it was sealed and it let us check out what a resort might look like (though too early to stop). Well, the resort was in complete disrepair. I’m not sure that people still stayed at it with many buildings nearly falling down. We did not linger. On the road out, we came across a scorpion wandering across the road. Not too friendly and also a good reason not to camp – or perhaps even venture too far off road for a “pit-stop”.
Speaking of roadside attractions, we saw quite a few monkeys today. Both in the villages and out on the open road. We also saw signs warning about monkeys ahead, not sure if they were for the monkeys safety of to warn us not to stop. The monkeys didn’t seem too worried when we stopped for photos. Sadly, we saw our fist road-kill monkey as well. No more road kill kangaroos up here.
Our road was pretty small and there were few junctions. So, you can imagine how surprised we were to bump into a moped ice cream man at one of the junctions. He gave us a honk with his air horn, turned around and we picked up a couple timely morning treats. It was a little overcast all day but it still got warm in the afternoon. And even in the morning, it was warm enough for an ice cream.
We were aiming for a short day and thought we would check out Desaru. We’d heard that the resorts there were not great and were a bit expensive. We stopped at three resorts to check them out. Two were nice, one a dive. The two nice ones were pretty expensive so we worked our way up the road to the next village, Tanjung Balau, where we found a chalet. The chalet is the lower budget hotel, sort of like the on-site caravans we found in Oz. Our chalet is adequate, if not very fancy. We had lunch at the local fisherman’s hawker stalls and dinner at the other resort in town. We ran into two other cyclist at the Desaru resorts and again here in Tanjung Balau – they had the same thoughts about the Desaru resorts.
We will continue to work our way up the coast a bit tomorrow. Not sure how far we will go – depends on where we can find some accommodation. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a challenge!