Georgetown to Alor Setar 106km
Toast for breakfast. Another reason it's hard to leave the Pedal Inn. I've really enjoyed my stay here, very relaxed, and Steve and John are more like friends than hostel owners. John even came early from home to say Goodbye. I highly recommend this place to any cyclists passing through.
So I haven't really given too much thought to routes north. I'm keen to cross into Thailand via a small border crossing in the west, and everything else is pretty vague, but first I have to find the ferry. Georgetown has a very peculiar one way system. It weaves back and forward across the city, and it is difficult to get out of the system into side streets, unless you are very aware or knowledgeable.
This morning I'm neither. I think I've eaten too much bread, and my brain is fuzzy. I follow the signs to the ferry, but they end at a point where you can't turn into the terminal, there's a high medium strip. I do an illegal left turn, an illegal U turn, and an illegal right turn, crash a red light, and I'm in the queue for the ferry.....but I haven't seen a ticket office. Oh well. I'll wait until someone asks. Noone does, we board, sail, disembark, no fare paid..... I follow my nose, turning left, because that's north..... and oh bother, I'm on a motorway on my bike. Go quickly Fiona, to the first exit...... We make it, undetected. How many laws have I broken? Perhaps it's time to look at a map.
Last night I was walking home from a restaurant, and was pretty sure I knew which way to go back to the hostel. But a cute wee thing thought I was lost. "She" took me by the arm and started to lead me towards an alleyway. Thanks sweetheart. Sure, I'm really missing Ju, but a evening with a "ladyboy" is not on my agenda. Even with a map, you can be led astray.......
So once I had sorted the right road, things went well. The road was once again flat, but there was a lot happening. Lots of linear villages, all sorts of minor industries, schools, buses, trucks, lots to see.
The roads often have a big drainage ditch alongside them. Pretty yucky water, but often I see guys fishing from them. Can't imagine what they might catch, although I did see one of those giant swimming lizards lying dead on the road, (and a monkey, and several squashed snakes).
The grass verges are mowed by teams of guys with weed wakers, followed by a couple of guys who rake the cuttings, and pick up the exposed litter. None of this tractor with mower stuff. In fact , yesterday, I saw two guys weed waking two fields the size of half a dozen rugby fields ( Go the ABs).
Also lots of swallows. Some of the very new looking linear shops, that all having a couple of floors of what might be offices, or accommodation above them, are in fact, when you look closely, all bricked up. The windows, that are normally open, have bricks behind the glass. The rooms have all been converted to swallow nesting. There must be a lot of money to be made, if the nests make more money for the owners that residents.
Many of the ground floor shops look closed as well, but that is probably because of the odd opening hours. Most shops don't open until at least 10am, and even as late as 11am. Then they close when the owners go to eat, pray, or pick up the kids from school. I'm told most stay open until 9pm or even 10pm, but I'm never up and out that late to see.
I saw today, what I think was an Indian cycle tourist. I didn't recognize him for what he was initially, as he had stuff attached to his bike all over the place. And it was not in a spot where we could stop and chat. Hey friend, if you were in fact cycle touring, I wish you well, and apologise for not stopping to chat.
Chatting tonight with my warms showers hosts, Radzi and Zuhl. They own a bike shop, and I'm sleeping amongst the bikes. Once again, a delightful, generous, interesting, helpful, amazing pair of hosts. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The warm showers network is amazing, and the hosts make me feel proud to be a member.
Across the border tomorrow. Another country, new foods, languages, traditions, religions, to learn about. The adventure continues.