Kuala Lumpur to Batang Kali

Up pretty early and on the road. I was worried about leaving Kuala Lumpur (traffic) but it was actually really really cool to be swift through the city on bikes. Drivers seem to be really good about giving us space—probably because they’re so used to scooters zooming all over the place. Once we got in the swing of things, it was really really incredibly cool riding with traffic, sliding along with the flow of it. We made it out of town pretty quickly, and soon we were out in semi-country with big hills in the distance. Had breakfast at a little strip mall, nasi lemak wrapped up in a banana leaf. Rice, spicy sweet sauce, fried eggs, dried fish. And a sweet coffee. All Indian dudes working at the restaurant, all very interested about where we were headed.

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Then we passed through some neighborhoods—car repair shops and snack shacks all nestled right up against these beautiful limestone hills. Soon we started climbing some of those very hills. Onward and upward to the national park, which turned out the be very jungle-y and beautiful, dramatic high hills and greenery, waterfalls. HILLY. One big final hill in the sun almost did me in. Starting to get the touring thing though: it’s fun to feel truly at your maximum, about to keel over, and then magically recover.

After the nice park, we had to get on the highway, which was hard. Hot. Loud. Quickly pulled over for nasi goreng lunch and decided to stay put. Wound up in Batang Kali, a weird small town with what’s maybe turning out to be a somewhat typical Malaysian layout: big wide main street with strip malls (rows of shops with apartments above—at least one in three shops is a scooter repair joint) on either side. Got a room at the One Home Hotel and napped and watched TV. Headed into town around 5pm and walked around. Town comprised of lots of newish houses, all connected (duplexes or triplexes) and weirdly nice—kind of felt like Corpus.

We wound up at a corner restaurant where we had beers and fried fish cakes. Shortly after we sat down, the evening downpour started, which was pretty exciting. Fun to watch the cars go by in big splashes and people rush around with anything they can grab lofted over their heads. Went to a nearby restaurant for dinner—surprise, the restaurant was right next to a motorbike repair shop. Had some good vegetables (okra, favas, eggplant, sauteed with spicy stuff) and the local specialty which turned out to be kind of gross, an enormous bowl of noodles in goopy soy gravy.

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Dropped by the the huge Econosave store for breakfast items: bananas & noodles. Stu got a hat that says “Function Made Itself” and a yogurt that tasted exactly like Parmesan cheese.

Early to bed, and up at 5:30 to hit the road at 6:30.

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