We awoke on our rest day in KL severely dehydrated and subsequently drained from our first 2 days on the bikes in the hot and humid Asian climate. Our single daily trip to the ‘tandas’ was evidence that we obviously hadn’t been getting enough fluids into us.
KL is a lively city with heavy Chinese and Indian influences where the bazaars and food stalls kick on well into the night and we were in the heart of it all in our hostel in Chinatown.Feeling revived and reinvigorated, we set off the next day for the Genting Highlands – the name should have tipped us off in terms of what we were in for.
I had some reasonably serious granny gears put on the King Brown before I departed Oz, but I secretly never thought I’d have the need to use them. That day i was stuck in my lowest gear for a solid 3 hours going an agonisingly slow 7km/hr, thighs burning, every pore sweating.
It was undoubtedly the toughest thing I’ve ever done on a bicycle. Halfway up though, I said to myself that if I wasn’t on this hill, I’d be behind a desk designing a concrete slab for a Westfields shopping centre in a city that’s already bloated with such places to spend – it made things alot easier.They say that what goes up must come down and that with great effort comes great reward – well the rewards certainly came the next day when we literally rolled for the best part of 30km through lush Asian greenery. On a road with minimal traffic, it was utterly peaceful, effortless and made for my most enjoyable day on the bike thus far.
Having acclimatised a little more and having learnt what our bodies need in these conditions, Adam and I were feeling much stronger, so much so that the next day we just kept cycling past checkpoint after checkpoint until we’d travelled the 130kms to Jerantut, a small town that acts as a gateway to the Malaysian jungle of Teman Negara. We left the bikes for a couple of days and took a longboat up the river into the jungle where we went on an exhausting trek, an interesting visit to an ‘orang asli’ (lit: original people) village and a relaxing boat trip and swim.
Well it was bound to happen to one of us sooner or later. In the end it happened to Adam and the culprit was a fairly average chicken burger. Subsequently, Adam has had his logging permit revoked and as I write this, is riding the bed-toilet express on an all-day return ticket.
So we’ll be spending a day longer than expected in Jerantut while he recovers after which we’ll head to the East coast in search of white sand, blue water and hopefully some respite from this unforgiving heat.