Today we tried to order the western brekkie with eggs only. In other words, hold the chicken sausage, salads, fries/chips, green koolaid and cold beans. Our waiter smiled very politely and said “yes, of course sir” (mostly people only talk to me – the man when ordering). And guess what, we received a complete carbon copy of yesterday minus the salad – oh well, guess I need to work on my Malay language skills.
We left the hotel around 9AM and planned on riding a minor bridge across the Batu Pahat river. The bridge showed up clearly on our hard copy map and in google maps. Well, there was no second bridge – and we ended up in the banana market area down by the river. Not a big deal as we simply wound our way back to the main bridge. Something to note in the future however before we venture too far off route trusting the maps.
About 10k out of town it started to sprinkle a little bit. Not so much that any of the cars used their wipers so we kept ridding. About 4k later the rain really picked up and we had to take a rain delay in one of the ubiquitous shelters on the side of the road. I’m not sure if these are purpose built for travellers but given how hard it can rain and how fast it can start/stop, it makes sense. A few locals waved at us as they passed and we didn’t get kicked out, so the shelter worked for us. Rain let up after about 45 minutes – leaving a wet and steamy road for the next 5ks or so. So much for our clean bikes.
Along the route today we saw lots of traditional Malay style homes. They are often built on stilts and have shutters or louvered windows. Mostly they are built out of wood which is a little surprising given the moisture but there were lots of them and some were quite old – so I guess it works. We also saw lots of Chinese temples today. There were some mosques as well but they were often no where near as ornate as the Chinese version.
We rode highway 5 all day. It was the main road for the first half of the day, having moderate traffic. The second half of the day another road became the main road, while highway 5 went along the coast. To our amazement, highway 5 had a proper “motorcyle” path on both sides of this section. We decided to re-name it a bicycle path. At one point we overtook 4 young boys on mountain bikes. Two of them took it as a challenge and “raced” us for a few ks. They had a better sprint than we do on our touring bikes but eventually our momentum wore them down and we dropped them – quite fun for a while though.
I misread the map as we got into town making us turn one road too early. What luck this turned out to be as Nancy spotted a great little cafe on the side of the road called Kopitaim and the Harmony Cafe. We had to double back after passing it but what a treat it was. We had a couple nice curried rice lunches and best of all, proper espresso kopi – the first we’ve had since Darwin almost a month ago. They were pretty happy to have us as customers, including having us pose for photos before and after eating – we are rock stars again I guess.
We found hotel pretty easy and it’s not bad (called Streetview – delux room even with a king size bed). The hotel is right in the heart of town, just off a great street called Hunger Street where there are lots of open Chinese food carts/stalls. After we unloaded everything and cleaned up we took a look around and even though we’d had lunch, we were not able to resist the fired pork dumplings. We also found a “proper” bike shop that offered to tune up our bikes for free tomorrow. We don’t need a tune up but we’ll go back there tomorrow and pick up some parts.
After a rest in the room, we headed back out to Hunger Street to see what we could find for dinner. It is hard to keep having our “best meal of the trip” but this one may have done it again. Nancy picked up some wonton mee and satays, while I headed across the street for a serving of the famous fried oyster omelette. They only make these dishes as you order them so not only do you get great tastes, you also get a show while they do the cooking right on the street in front of you. I’m sure that some of our readers are wondering if we are riding bicycles or eating our way around the world. As the old saying “eat to ride, ride to eat”. I’m glad we at least got in a 3 hour ride today as you can see in the photo below, there were quite a few eggs in the omelette.
Tomorrow we are hanging here, with the bike shop and at least one more omelette on order. For brekkie we’ll be trying out a “famous” roti shop. No riding planned so we’ll keep an eye on how much we eat – NOT…