(written by Dave)
We had a sleep in this morning and I think the extra rest has just about cleared up my cold. Being in a slightly bigger city meant we could seek out a more western coffee shop for breakfast for a change. On the way into town yesterday we spotted “Oldtown White Coffee” and were a bit intrigued. It looked like a cross between Starbucks and Gloria Jeans – worth a look for sure.
We were slightly disappointed when we walked into the shop and did not find an espresso machine. Seems most coffee here is brewed or even instant. Still we had to give them a chance as the story behind the coffee was a famous local from Ipoh ( a town we will visit later on the trip). With the help from the friendly wait staff we confirmed how to order coffee with milk and no sugar. The later proving more difficult as the general rule here is “if the drink is hot, put in lots of sugar”. The coffee was pretty good – so we maybe onto something.
Food was more difficult actually. The menu was highlighted by Chicken Hor, Lpoh Lum Mee, Prawn Meeloh Mee and the like. At least it had photos so we could point. Eventually we both settled on “French toast” which turned out to be mostly recognisable but with an added Malaysian touch – two pieces of toast stuck together with peanut butter. I bet that the French would not use peanut butter this way but what the heck – it was darn tasty.
After brekkie we walked over to the local daily market. This turned out to be quite fun. I got some interesting photos and we had some great interactions. The market was just opening and all the stall owners were very friendly again. We now know how to say good morning in Malay – that worked the treat every time – actually getting more laughs and giggles than proper responses. At least we were trying and everyone seemed to enjoy a laugh. We picked up some fresh fruit for lunch back in the room, which was great – we still have ½ a watermelon to eat.
I cleaned the rust off the chains in the afternoon while Nancy did some research on the road ahead. The rust came off mostly and we now have a few days planned. We are day-tripping to the Kota Tinggi waterfall tomorrow and then onto Mersing on Saturday. From Mersing, we’ll work our way back to the west coast, maybe stopping for a day or two at a “farmstay”. We have seen signs for something referred to as ‘agro tourism’ several times and it appears to be a type of farmstay so we might try it.
To confirm everything Nancy looked up on the Internet, we tried going to the tourist information centre in the afternoon. We found it but it was closed and looked and a bit run down. The centre was right on Sungai Johor (Johor River), which itself was pretty much flowing mud with garbage on the banks. You don’t get the feeling that tourism is big here. I hope that the waterfall is better tomorrow.
After another rest, we headed out for dinner visiting a restaurant recommended by the hotel staff. It was a short walk across the road and turned out to be very tasty. I had Nasi Ayam Paprik and Nancy had Nasi Goreng Pattaya. Our dinner choices are probably not all the interesting, I only write them here because we actually know what they mean and ordered without much issue. We are starting to get the hang of Malay food at least. For dessert we stopped at the hotel cafe and tried one of their ice drinks. Not really ice cream, more like sweetened crushed ice – either way worth giving them a go.
And for those reading yesterday’s blog, yes we ran into Elaine and Ken one more time. Last night we enjoyed dinner with them at a neighbourhood Chinese restaurant – both of us picking it purely by chance. And finally, while typing this blog just now at the hotel cafe, no prizes for guessing who strolled by – Elaine and Ken – quite funny how we keep bumping into travellers over and over again. Tomorrow they head south – for for sure this was our last sighting. Thanks for sharing a few days of your trip with us guys.
Check back tomorrow for a report on the falls…