Friday, September 26, 2008

Thailand to Singapore, via East Coast of Malaysia, Ride: Day 12

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
         (Henry David Thoreau)

Journal entry

As I assured the owner of Jason's Bay Resort @ Teluk Mahkota, the outdoor karaoke party didn't bother me. 'Woke up at 7 AM, boiled some water for coffee, and went for a solitary stroll along the deserted beach, cup and camera in hand.

Someone apparently lugged a chair all the way out there. For some reason, the setting reminded me of Gattaca; there's some kind of sweet melancholy and desolation to this morning. Maybe that's why I am humming Michael Nyman's score in my head. Maybe somewhere deep inside, I know this trip — this magical ride — is coming to an end soon, and I will have to face the mindless hordes who deem their affections (or rather, their affectations) and time fair trade for my freedom and autonomy, day after day. Or, maybe I know I will have to leave my true self soon. Maybe both. Maybe.

Memory is not the doll that gets left
behind when the house catches fire...

It is nice when you check in into a place and discover that you are the only guest there. The privacy afforded is wonderful. For those who write, you may recall how Virginia Woolf had her physical needs taken care of, without interruptions from the outside world — so that she could live uninterrupted in her head and write. If we should all be this lucky, pockets full of rocks notwithstanding...

10:40 AM.

Having set off on a high note, it wasn't long (2 km) before the same tendon at the back of my left knee started clicking on the downward stroke of every pedal revolution. Getting off the bike, no matter how I manipulated the knee, it could not be remedied. The clicking was strange: too light a pedal stroke, and it would click; too hard, and it would hurt; but just the right pressure exerted — at the right cadence — and the clicking goes away. I found myself shifting gears for a different reason.

The spot where I sought shelter on a previous ride (and wished I had the Jetboil with me).

From this sign, it's 1.8 km to the bridge.

Bridge leaving Sedili Kercil.

View from the bridge.

The path eastwards (on the left) leads to a resort, but I have never explored it.

32 km (20 miles) to Tanjung Balau.

Tajung Pak Mat.
Beautiful beach, pity about the litter.

Quiet coastal road from Sedili Kercil to Desaru. This spot is about 31.5 km (19.7 miles) from Jason's Bay Resort.

Bukit Gemoh.

An unmarked double track to the beach. It's wonderfully quiet and remote out here; the wind caresses great swarths of lalang whilst birds call overhead.

Sadly, some development is taking place along this lonely road. In a few years, it will probably go the way the rural road from Rompin to Nenasi did.

Also ducked under this structure over a year ago to escape a downpour (and spent half-an-hour marveling at the acrobatics of dragonflies as they massacre other insects during feeding).

Looking back north.

Watermelons and wintermelons.

2 hours and 4 minutes later, something in the knee either aligned or went away, and the clicking stopped, but I was feeling a little hungry and dropped by Tanjung Balau for lunch.

Levi's policeman.

Though they are fasting, some of the Muslim stores are open for business  :-D

That's not sand. Those are salt crystals from my perspiration.

After lunch, with the muscles having cooled down, the clicking came back with a vengeance. Though there's accommodation at Tanjung Balau, I opted to ride limp the remaining 4 km (and 3 hills) to Desaru and call it a rest day.

RM130 (weekend rate) + RM20 deposit.

'Washed up and had a lovely siesta.

Dinner was a little spot of fun: the waitress at the hotel's restaurant didn't seem to like me (maybe I ran over her cat or something) and I suspect she instructed the cook to make my nasi goreng kampung extra spicy. When the food arrived, and I took my first bite, I started sweating like I was lugging — fully-loaded — Michelle up Vigilante Drive. But I would not be defeated so easily: I've been trained on Sichuan cuisine by Inferno Ed himself. So I ate and sweated; I snuck my empty glass to the staff drink fountain, loaded with ice-cold bandung (a rose syrup and milk drink), when Cruella de Vil wasn't looking.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will complete the Malaysian portion of the tour — by most accounts. Lets see how it goes.
-10:55 PM.


Cateye AT-100
Elevation climbed  560 feet (170.7 m)
2 hours 44 minutes 7 seconds
Average speed  11 mph (17.6 km/h)
Maximum speed  23.6 mph (37.8 km/h)
Distance  30.2 miles (48.3 km)
Temperature  forgot to record

Cateye Velo 5
Distance  48.72 km (30.45 miles)
Maximum speed  38 km/h
Cumulative distance  828 km (517.5 miles)

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