Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 June short travel Day 6-10 out of 10

Tight curve, windy road, sharing it with bicyclists, sedan cars and tour buses was along this 45km, descending from 1000m above sea level down to the actual land. There wasn’t any rest station along this road except for a touristy waterfall halfway. Something was grinding in my stomach as soon as we set off from Teoh Yong Meng Nursery. I tried all ways to dissolve the pain using all methods I could think off. Looking at the narrow curves, the bushes available were along a deep gradient downhill.

The pain comes and goes. I told Sam about it and she had the same pain.

It must be last night dinner, the coconut curry at the Indian restaurant. The accusation towards the dinner would make us better, it didn’t. After turns and turns, the only hide out was behind a big rock along a flat road by chance. We did it there.

Wait, did I mark a waypoint on my GPS?

Our objective for the day was to attend the presentation from Simon and Lisa Thomas in Shah Alam. We wanted to see them as we had many friends in common inside Facebook, also, would like to hear them sharing. Why not wait for them to come to Singapore? I know that it is not an easy task for other non Asian riding their bike into Singapore. Other than the usual document the have, they will need produce the following at the customs/immigration of singapore:

1) international Circulation Permit. Can be processed at the Automobile Association of Singapore. (How are they going to produce this document where they have not entered Singapore? Most of them parked their bike in Malaysia, take public transport to the Automobile Association of Singapore to purchase that piece of ICP, then take it back to Malaysia, then they ride their bike over to Singapore with that paper. That is absolute nonsense and not travel friendly!)

2) To produce certificate of insurance. ( motorcycle insurance in Singapore is expensive. These companies does not sell 1 or 2 week’s insurance duration. They only sell a ONE YEAR insurance. Or even they sell the 1 week insurance for our foreign friends, they will charge at a ridicules price.)

3) Buy an Autopass at the custom office. Does that covers the ERP charges in Singapore?

4) If any overseas bikers stay at my house, they have to purchase the $16 season parking or $0.60 for half day parking.

The reason for international bikers to come to Singapore is to ‘mark attendance’ or to get their bike repaired or to get their bike shipped out, usually to Australia. Do you think they want to ride the famous Orchard Road, 99 turns @ south buona vista or take a picture with the Merlion and their bike?

So, knowing that high chances of them not coming to Singapore, Sam and I went to look for them and attended their 2-3 hours presentation which they were doing it for free.

One of the most rewarding part by attending their presentation was meeting up with someone that had always given us encouragement and support during our 2 and half years round the world trip. We often contacted each other via Internet because he had been following our blog.

---Amzah, it’s our real pleasure to be able to meet up with you.---

The fruitful presentation ended around 1130pm and we will try to arrange Simon and Lisa Thomas to come to Singapore for a presentation… thou up to date, those guys weren’t very keen. Will try our best mate!

Not knowing where to stay at Shah Alam, we traveled as fast as Hope Too could, to the south, about 150km. It had been a long time that I had not ridden in the night. I had little confident. Looking at the mirror, I couldn’t guage how fast the vehicle behind me was coming at the speed. If I were to over take the slow truck in front, I need to consider Hope Too’s capability, even we were at our max speed of 120km. I do not know when will the engine oil be emptied. Sam was real tired. The seat is killing us. We need a place to secure Hope Too, good shower, air conditioned, clean and affordable. After 2 hours, we reached:

Fairwell Hotel

N2 11.318 E102 15.526

RM$64 at weekends, RM$54 at off peak seasons.

The next day, June 12, we wanted to feel about staying in a ‘funky’ hostel like other back packers did.

Discovery Café and Guest House

3 Jalan Bunga Raya, Melaka, Malaysia. Tel: 06-2925606


N 02° 11.779’

E102° 15.053’

If you gonna check in on a high season, make a reservation and ask to stay at the same building as the café is. Our room is the best: room 6 at level 3. If not, the bike will be parked securely at the café office and will be lead opposite the road to another shop house that turned into hostel. Option B will be good if you mind the daily live music at the café.

Generally, it is clean and the facilities were up to our standard of living. Hope Too was parked in the compound and in the night, dogs guarded it. We tried coming back very late in the night and no way we could get near the bike within 5 meters without the dogs barking. Then the caretaker woke up and minded the situation.

The Nepalese receptionist was friendly, helpful AND understanding. This place truly has a taste of Malacca. In the daytime, it is two streets away from the touristy area. In the night time, it is along one of the many food stall street.

We visited the Zheng He Museum. Recommanded. For RM$10 person, there was a free short guide by them and lots of things to see. Zheng He actually sailed from China 7 times out, to the furthest is Africa and Middle East. They brought back some Giraffe to China. It was a gift from the Africa king. Zheng He sailed way before Columbus did. When we saw the ship of Zheng He as compared to Columbus, we laughed our tummy out!

---A Chinese type writer. There are so many 'Alphabets'. Never seen one before in my life.---

---The night of Malacca. All these photos were taken by Samantha's Mobile phone: HTC Desire S.---
---the 'Lok Lok' stall. it is a mobile food stall. the platform on the picture is actually the back of a truck.---
---the view from our guest house.---

Whenever we visited Malacca, Crystal would always be mentioned in our story.

The first night, she wanted to bring us to a Portuguese settlement and have some Nonya-Portuguese food. It was closed on a Sunday. The second night, we went again at 6pm. It was closed but she managed to call up.

Papa Joe came a few minutes later on his scooter. It was a restaurant cum bar. Bar has only a long table and behind the long table is where the bartender, Joe, works. His wife was in charge of the delicious cooking in the restaurant but was on leave that day. So we ordered the almost similar food from his neighbor and were brought in to the bar.

The Portuguese came to Malacca in the 1500s and were considered the very first few immigrant of Malaysia. They lived from then till now in this settlement, being part of Malaysian. The perks that the Portuguese descendant has are almost equivalent to the Bumi Putra of Malaysia. Now the state of Malacca had declared this settlement as a heritage area.

---Not sure about this Restoran De Lisbon, never visit.---

Joe is about 70 years old. He is dark looking and if he has not told us about his genes, he

looked as ordinary as any other Malaysian. Joe has his own entertainment team, which perform Portuguese culture dance and music. If there were large group of tourist coming to his restaurant, he would perform for them. It was a cozy chat with Joe. He showed us some old photos and of some special visitors that came to his restaurant. One of them was Singapore’s ex-president, late Mr Wee Kim Wee. Joe is so famous in this settlement and news about the presence of these intimate Portuguese descendants in Malacca alarmed the present day Portugal in Europe. Portugal invited Joe over to visit Portugal and got to understand more about the descendants in Malacca.

More people joined in. Andrew De Mello, a musician, would looked much like an American Red Indian if he were to be in the costume, especially with his long hair and tattoos. Papa Joe’s son came in too. He looked exactly like a Chinese man in his mid 30’s as Joe married a local Baba-Nonya lady. An Indian doctor sat at the other side of the bar talking to Crystal, a regular couple just to drop by to chill out with everyone and a fisher man that would speak his heart out to everyone in the bar. Except for the couple and the Indian doctor, all of them could speak Portuguese.

Mid of June, the settlement will have a festival similar to the Carnival of Latin America, Fiesta San Petro.

Most of them were Catholic.

After I had 8 mugs of beer and was about to order my last beer, Joe took the guitar and sang, just for the few of us. The moment he open his mouth and the first phase of Portuguese song came out, the notes did not went into my ears but it vibrated me on every hair on my body. My eyes looked at him with his passionate love for music and life while he was singing. My nose wanted to breath more of the Portuguese air created in this small litter pub. I was certainly very touched by his singing, his character and of course, the beer. There is no technology on this world that can record or express my feelings at that time to you.

I asked Joe:

So many things had happen and you are such a famous person. Do you have any dreams?

Joe paused for a while, looking at the air and he shook his head:

No, or maybe, yes, I want to live happily, like now.

After drinking the beer at Papa Joe’s, there isn’t any more place i

n Asia that we can taste a true, cold, fresh beer, not even in Singapore even Papa Joe served Tiger Beer.

Joe: there were about 400 Malay words were derived from the Portuguese, example:

Malay: Bendera , Portuguese: Bandeira
Malay: Bomba, Portuguese: Bombeiro
Malay: Sekolah, Portuguese: Escola
Malay: motosikal, Portuguese: motocileta
Malay: Almari, Portuguese: amario
Malay: Roda, Portuguese: Roda
Malay: Gratis, Portuguese: Gratis.

these are some example of Malay loanwords from Portuguese.

---From the left to Right: Joe, Joe's son, Me, The Fisherman, Samantha. They are all Malacca Portuguese. The Fisherman said: if many of us, we are Portuguese, if me alone, I am a Portugoose.---

I wonder if they do the Siesta.

N 02° 11.026’

E102° 16.022’

Our 10 days trip ended shortly after Malacca. We drop by the police station at Kluang and I visited the police inspector. As soon as I entered his room, he remembered me, which we last met 4 years ago. This young inspector is still at the same office, same desk, same position and same post but he got married, had a baby and gain much weight. The same story as any police inspector would tell me about my stolen Hope.

If we find, if we find, we call you. This number ah?

I asked in English if there is anything that we, the bikers from Singapore, to help them solve bike thief or syndicates of vehicle thief. I don’t think he understand my sentence. 4 years ago he quoted to me that everyday there are about 80 motorcycles stolen in his district, not state, not nation but just in that district! Do we see any improvement? Maybe 75 bike per day now. He told me that they suspected some syndicates stealing my bike. Oh, so that is what he has found out after 4 years, suspecting that some syndicate stole my bike. Well, that is an improvement and some results. Maybe 4 years later when I visit him, he would say that they had confirmed these syndicates were around his district.

There is still no Hope around.


Anonymous said...

it is fun to stay in Kluang...evey few months, you will have a new motocycle..highly recommended for your foreign bikers to go there...easy come and easy walk home...haha!!!!!

singaporedream said...

thank you, thieves.

Anonymous said...

orchard road is boring...and little dot is not easy to enter..kluang is highly recommended for your bikers around the world to go!!!!

singaporedream said...

thank you thieves that can't enter the little dot but can escape out of the dot.

Anonymous said...

thieves over there don`t read need to thank them...your bike will be found and delivered to you very soon..don`t worry be happy.....

singaporedream said...

Anonymous: u are smart.

Anonymous said...

haha!!! every other singaporean is a millionaire in ringgits currency...don`t think people from little dot would steal your bloody bike...haha!!!!

singaporedream said...

Anonymous: isn't it difficult to talk like this? why not we speak at facebook?

Anonymous said...

what for? to please you ?? write something that you are able to defend or don`t write at all....