(written by Dave)
The day started off with another hotel buffet for brekkie. At the rate we are going pretty soon we are going to have to re-lable this trip “eat without pay”. Today we ate everything we had yesterday, only to then discover that they would make you a fried egg on the balcony. Of course we had to take another piece of toast and an egg. We finally waddled out of the hotel about 9:00.
The next 10ks into Port Dickson were pretty nice. We actually got some nice views of the water and traffic was not too bad. We are not far from KL and it’s major international airport so after PD, we had more traffic – much of it being related to all the palm oil plantations, not the airport. I’ve flown into KL a few times and now have a much better idea what I was looking at. Mile and miles of palm plantations. We eventually made it to the N. Sembilan/Selangor state border. We almost missed it as there was no sign and we only stopped because we need to check the map. There was a sign going the other way but no “Selamat Datang” (welcome) sign for Selangor. Not too worry, we were on the right road.
Traffic decreased after the border as we turned back again towards the coast and KL. We passed a bunch of dragon fruit plantations and some brick factories. We also stopped to take a picture of a roadside mowing crew. We’ve seen these crews everywhere in Malaysia and they deserve special mention. They are basically 3 to 6 person teams that travel out on the roads on scooters with weed whackers. They mow the verge with these weed whackers, plus they have to carry gas and food for the day on their scooters. They wear protective covering so it is hard to tell if they are men or women. It has to be very hot and hard work and best we can tell so far they mow every inch of verge this way as we’ve seen at least one crew every day of riding. They seemed pretty happy that we stopped to take their photo today.
We had somewhat vague directions for the mushroom farm where we hoped to stay the night. We stopped and asked a few times because no sign materialised on the highway. With a little backtracking, we eventually made it here and took a room. I was in charge of checking out the room (which we do all the time now). It was not perfect but better than many we’ve stayed in. It was getting pretty hot outside so stopping made sense anyway.
After showers and cleaning up, we headed to the mushroom farm store. Who would have known all the things you can make from mushrooms. Quite interesting, too bad we are not cooking now as there were lots of things to try out. We had to settle for a cold mushroom drink – which was very tasty. We also took a look in the packing room for the factory. All the ladies were wearing head scarves and got a real giggle out of us having a look.
For lunch we walked just down the road to a fish restaurant recommended by the farm staff. Describing it as a shack from the outside would be fair, if not generous. Lots of bits were falling down and repairs were generally of the blue tarp variety. We woke the owner and his wife from their nap but they insisted that they were open. The owner was Malay/Chinese, his wife Vietnamese. Neither of them spoke English. We managed to order some fish ball soup, stir fried fish of some kind and a couple plates of rice. And again, no surprise, the food was fantastic.
We rested a bit in the room waiting for the heat to go down and then went to the restaurant attached to the mushroom farm for sunset photos. We were going to try eating there but at 6:45 they had no customers – we decided to stroll to town. Being light out and still early evening, lots of folks waved, honked or said “hello”. Walking past one home, a man and his elderly mother were picking fresh mangos off their tree – I picked one up that had fallen in the middle of the road and both the man and elderly woman insisted that we take some with us. We settled on one as we have to carry everything. Later another local stopped as he passed us and asked where we were going. We told him we were looking for a place to eat and would appreciate his advice. Soon we were on our way to a great local seafood joint, right at the end of main dock where all the fishing boats docked. Again with broken English and some sign language, we managed to order our meal. This time we got a whole fish, plus two other dishes. The whole fish is pretty expensive even by Malaysian standards but all the food was fantastic.
The restaurant was build on a very rickety dock and was not the cleanest we’ve eaten in. I used the facilities before our meal came and was not surprised to find an traditional squat toilet. What was surprising however was that the hole in the bottom of the toilet dropped right onto the beach – eewwww. Tide was out. I’m glad we didn’t order oysters or fish close to the bottom of the food chain!
Tomorrow we head for Klang. We may take a day off there to head for KL and check out the famous Petronas Towers. We’ll see how the hotel situation works out…