Archive for February, 2011

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Building up the courage to cycle out of KL… which is why I am still here…  ahem. Cracking thunder storm yesterday and I think another one is in order today. Anyhow thought some of you might like to read the ‘machines’ blog

http://www.getjealous.com//judezebedee

I had an email from judi (aka the fastest female cyclist known to man) yesterday informing me that I just made Chinese state television. A link to the video will follow when I can find it.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

“Come down off the cross, we can use the wood.” Tom Waits

So on the way into KL I met this guy:

http://www.sylvain-autourdumonde.com/

Who was with these guys:

http://toutenmarchant.com/index_eng.php

But split due to something or other. Living on a diet of vegetables and instant noodles that are eaten cold because he has no stove he managed to walk to Hotan in China on pretty much the same route i have taken. From there he bought a bike to push the water he was carrying, then decided to get on the bike and cycle the rest.

Still say that this woman beats everybody hands down:

http://www.rosiearoundtheworld.co.uk/

So after taking the all roads lead to Rome mentality to get through Malaysia in the abscence of a map, my plan was only broken when the one road I had to stay on diverted me off into the middle of nowhere. the middle of nowhere transpired to be a motorway where I had a nice friendly “you are cycling to slow on this road. get off’ from the Malaysian police. The irony was that the road they told me to take was significantly more dangerous. If you have ever stood in the middle of five lanes facing backwards with all the cars doing 70mph trying to converge into a three lane road which is the little bit of ground you are occupying then you will understand.

I managed to get into KL by sighting the Petronas Towers and then taking a compass bearing. Old fashioned but it works. One of the worst places to get into and that includes Istanbul and Tehran. how I a am going to get out is something I do not like to think about at the moment…

So in KL I get asked ”Do you know Kris Fowler?” (http://riding-east.blogspot.com/) in the dorm room I am staying in.

Yeah, actually i do. Small world isnt it :) Look who I just met:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3110136/58-days-in-Iran-prison-for-photo.html

Who was there in Iran at the same time as Kris, Adam and myself. Ho hum :) Nice to see that the Iranian hospitality was extended that little bit further…

So from here just a shade over 4000km left. Nearly there eh..

Day 364

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Number of free meals within 24 hours of arriving in Malaysia? 3.

I crossed the border after another meal in a thai restaurant where the woman asked me if i would like to stay for a massage… Crossing the border itself was a piece of cake, how long would you like to stay sir? 30 days? ok, stamp

Makes a change, another free country to get into…

Keyboard is playing up will finish this later.

————————————–

Right new computer… so this is where I am:

georgetown1

photo stolen from

http://www.expatify.com/malaysia/monday-escape-george-town-malaysia.html

go read the only comment under the picture :)

No pleasing some eh?!

Right so Malaysia is wonderful, very friendly people away from the tourist traps and some incredible food. The first night I passed over the border and was forced to ride down the main motorway/duel carriageway the E1. Having no service stations I started to get a bit worried and decided to call it a day and take the next junction.

I cycle into surburbia which was strange enough as it is not something I have seen for a very long time and end up camping behind a small open air restaurant that was closing. The guy running it gives me a boiled egg and two rice and fish parcels that where beautifully wrapped in banana leaves. He then comes back at 10pm scaring the hell out of me with all his friends on scooters to give me more food. At 6.30am his father and grandfather make an appearance to give me yet more food for breakfast including tea in a plastic bag to be drunk with a straw. Thank you gents.

As I pack up I realise that there are at least 30 cyclists all on very expensive mountain bikes across the road. Just as I finish packing they leave only for me to be shouted at to come along. the last rider stops and I ask if they are heading south. He says no but then spends the morning taking me to the good road that leads down to singapore which is a hundred times safer and actually has some shade (sitting underneath a fly over mixing up re-hydration sachets gets old quick). It turns out that Ali went to Liverpool as a 19 year old and studied at John Moores for three years. Now back in Malaysia 20 years later with three kids it was a shock for both of us to run into one another, how often do you meet a Malaysian who can hold a topic on Tranmere Rovers?!

Yet another good person that treated me to food and gave me a brief insight into Malaysia. I have his blog where he took photos of our ride together but it is not with me at the moment so I will post the link the next time I am on the net.

So from there I cycled, ate a curry, cycled ate another curry. Discovered hot milo which they put ice into; it’s good.  Ate another curry, slept next to a river and endured a thunder and lighting storm and the biggest ants I have ever seen in my entire life. (Did you know that you can get ants with wings the size of a bee?)

Then seeing a sign for a ferry I came here on a whim and I am now sleeping in an old Chinese warehouse with cockroaches the size of mice running round. Its cheap though.

So tomorrow marks the one year anniversary so far. Just shy of 12,000 miles on the speedo. Bearing in mind that it spends half the time not working – you have to take it off and lick the contacts to get a connection at the moment :)   I am more than happy with how far I have been able to get in a year. As for the rest of the bike, well scotty and jane very kindly took all my winter gear with them to Melbourne. It has made a huge difference getting one very big pannier off the bike. Its a bit of a pain in the arse having to sleep without a sleeping bag but its so hot at the moment it makes no difference until about 3am when I have fumble around and find a jacket in the dark to use as a blanket.

Day 361… getting closer :)

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Right first off for those of you in countries with decent internet links go straight too…..

http://www.cyclingnomads.org/the-deserts/

What can I say…. good effort :)

Back again, good, right now go and see Benny’s site at http://www.cyclingnomads.org/ben/ which I have only just found….

As for me.. well I am good thanks for asking 910km left to Singapore and opnly 50km left in Thailand. That makes it a good enough time to leave you with my top ten highlights of Thailand:

1/ Being offered amyl nitrate and cash by a Thai cyclist who accompanied me 20km on the journey towards Trang. Even better was his Bob Marley singing and when a particularly bad lorry went past belching black clouds of smoke he shouted “CAR-BON-MON-OX-SIDE” half a dozen times in my ear. I hope you got to Trang and I apologise for cycling off and leaving you to fend for yourself…

2/ The Thai guy who came alongside me on a scooter looking very urbane and serious before coming out with:

Thai guy on scooter (TGOS): I love you

Me: I love you too

TGOS: I love you (Then points to what I thought was his stomach but later transpired to be something a bit further south…)

Me: I love you too, but I have just eaten, Noodle soup mate, Noodle soup. Its great, only a dollar back up there pal.

TGOS: You want to come to my house

Me: No. I have to go to Trang. I meet my friends in Trang, but thankyou

TGOS: I love you

Me: Jesus wept, I have to go now but thankyou goodbye (at which point he rides off only to repeat this entire conversation minus the noodle soup bit 200 hundred metres down the road. It ended up with him blowing me a kiss goodbye with a very sad look on his face…)

3/ Sleeping in a rubber plantation and having the owner of the shop next door cook me dinner. Then her two daughetrs aged about 6 and 7 came with a yoghurt drink as a gift for me. Then in the morning after I had made my own breakfast of 4 eggs and a packet of biscuits they invited me to sit down and have the breakfast they had just cooked for me… when was the last time you ate so much you thought you where going to collapse? added to that when was the last time you ever stood butt naked behind a shop in full view of the road having a shower out of a 44 gallon drum? Thought not.

4/ The thai hells angels who where all on scooters :) I thought that a collection of open exhausts and ripped denim jackets with patches on was too good to be true but they where all very nice. Born to be mild eh…

5/ having how can i say it… problems that are saddle related due to the heat and then by sheer luck finding a can of http://grocerythai.com/thailand-prickly-heat-powder-gram-p-622.html and standing next to the road dispensing it into my shorts. The pain when this stuff touches skin, well I can only describe it as if somebody has decided to hold a cigeratte lighter underneath your scrotum. I then stop 10km down the road in the vain hope that changing my shorts would help, so standing in a state of undress its the perfect time to pose for a photo with a random thai guy who did an emergency stop on a duel carriageway in his car to come and say hello to me… I would very much like to get a copy of that photo as I can assure you I was not smiling on that day…

6/ Dave’s girlfriends mum’s peatnut sauce. That meal.. my god that meal… right you will probably never find sticky rice in tescos but you can all make this…

(I am copying this verbataim so you might have to play around with it a bit…)

3 tablespoon (tbsp) fish sauce (do not use chinese stuff if they do this with soy lord knows what they use for fish…  http://boingboing.net/2006/07/27/soy-sauce-made-from-.html )

2 tbsp sugar (dissolve the sugar for a finer sauce, leave it for a crunchier one…)

1 tbsp lime or 1/2 a lime juice (like i said i am just writing this as it was given to me..)

pinch of salt

1 tea spoon (tsp) of msg or half a tbsp (?)

pinch of pork powder (not required)

Spring onion (chopped)

Corriander (small amount that is fresh)

3 tbsp of peanuts (crush then fry off)

1 tsp of red chilli peppers

Mix and serve with a fish that has been on the barbie, wrapped in lettuce leaves and sticky rice. Fry off some lemon grass whilst your at it as well.

7/ The random Thai people that have stopped and helped me. Be it bringing out buckets of water when I have been trying to fix a puncture, the countless meals that people have given me for free, all the places that I have slept for free, the never ending range of smiles from young and old alike or simply flagging me down and giving me drinks. Thank you.

8/ Scotty stacking a scooter twice in front of the guest house in Trang only to be given a banana for his endevours and the promise of free use of it the next day by the owners of the guest house…  Where else can you ghost ride a scooter down the road into oncoming traffic and the owners reward you for it?! In fact where else can you travel where you go to see a waterfall and stop and have lunch in a little cafe only to be accosted by a bi-polar language teacher (his description not mine) who then gave Jane a minature human skeleton in a box as a present. (I want those photos please :) )

9/ Cycling past mile after mile of upmarket beach resorts that i could not afford to stay in, populated by people who would not make eye contact or return a smile. Speaking of which to the two touring cyclists who went past yesterday whilst i was sat in the road mending the fourth puncture of the day… ever thought of saying hello? Nice lycra guys….  Camping on a beach at the end of the strip was worth it all though.

10/ My little thai note that dave’s girlfriend wrote for me. Seriously this thing has been gold. “Hi, my name is andy, I am cycling from England ra ra ra” On the reverse “This is the 18th country on this trip and the people of Thailand are the nicest so far” A bit saccharine but it works a treat :)

Day 358

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

http://www.airfreetires.com/default.asp

http://veryvietnam.com/2011-01-22/china-makes-fake-rice-from-plastic-vietnam-reacts/