Sunday 7/12/2008

We’re writing this update from Pascal’s iPaq connected to WiFi in the comfort of our room in Tanah Rata a small tourist centre in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. Apologies if there are typos or missing text…

The first day on the road

Well it felt like a long time coming, and even though we have managed to fit in a lot over the past couple of weeks, there is nothing quite like hopping back on the bike and going for a spin, which is exactly what it felt like – except that we’re in Malaysia!!

Before setting of on our first day of riding we were sent off by all the wedding guests staying at our hotel in KL, the obligatory photos, some video footage and a couple of small wheelies  along the hotel driveway to mark our departure.

We were lucky guests to the extremely ornate wedding of our friends Phil and Elisa

It was a relatively hassle free ride along the A-road highway (not the boring freeway where you don’t see anything) for about 200kms and a quick roadside lunch stop in Bidor before heading up the mountain road to Tanah Rata. Malaysian drivers have an annoying and sometimes dangerous habit of cutting corners and running wide, this isn’t such a problem as most of them drive quite slowly, give way to other traffic and have well maintained vehicles (ie. Good brakes) which won’t be the case for other countries we’ll be travelling through. Best to keep our wits about us and that’s the main reason for not wanting to ride too far today, even just 200kms on unfamiliar roads can be very fatiguing.

Undulating hills of the Cameron Highlands are covered by Tea Plantations

It truly felt great to hit the road and have the importation all behind us now (even if it isn’t the last of the red tape it’s a start – only 24 more countries to go). I think that the reality of the dream has now started to set in as we come to terms with the idiosyncrasies of travelling on the road.

After an ordeal getting Francois out of customs our first day on the road was very memorable and fantastic to be on the bike again.

After we left the wedding party we headed north along highway 1 on our way to the Cameron Highlands and Tanah Rata to escape from the oppressive humidity of KL and the lowlands. At the local steet (night) markets at Tanah Rata we bought ourselves a noodle dish, somewhat resembling a padthai with flat rice noodles stirfried in a massive wok with bean sprouts. We later found out that they were in fact quite spicy like a lot of malaysian food and that the chilli sauce served with the noodles wasn’t necessary for our sensitive palets.