Thanks to the great family composed by Malaysian and Singaporean Brompton community, we met more new people within few days than so far, after 200 days of travel!
Since we arrived in Malaysia, in Alor Setar, Goh made us the lovely surprise to come to meet us at the arrival of the ferry to invite us at his home. He took us to visit the city and its famous mosque, part of the 10 most beautiful one in the world. We cycled together 2 days until Penang while we spent a very relaxing night in a yoga classroom.
On the island of Penang, we have been hosted by Sherilyn and Sam’s lovely family. They organized their own house in a way to be able to host travelers like us. There is no week when the family have no guest. Sherilyn, as a golden mother, considers that welcoming travelers of the world is a remarkable opportunity for their children, Adam and Isabelle, to bring them out into the world (incidentally very sociable and unbeatable in geography since then).
The day after, we had an appointment, organized by Andy from a Brompton shop in Penang, with part of the Malaysian Brompton community (some of them even came from Kuala Lumpur to join us!). In addition, two local newspaper came here and wrote nice articles about our trip! (the first one here, in Chinese, the second one, here, in english).
Then, while we were heading the capital, we kept on meeting amazing people : SeeSee, the owner of the lovely guesthouse we stayed for few days came every morning to serve us a traditional breakfast, every morning a different one! She even organized a great barbecue the day before we left to introduce us to her friends! Few days later, Mr Gee, a small bakery offered a lot of pieces of cake to go along with our coffee. Just because we are stars in Malaysia!
Fed up with the wet sticky heat that never stops, we decided to take a bus to climb up to the Cameron Highlands. Altitude : +1500 m, temperature : – 20 degrees. We can find is this area everything that can’t be grown under the tropical weather of Malaysia. And mainly, tea. Also, the Cameron Highland is a kind of factory for fresh « western food » by producing basil, dill, rosemary, strawberries…
We brought back our polar jacket we didn’t use it since China! Such a cool and restorative night! The downhill way back was pure happiness on a road meandering among the jungle.
Just before getting Kuala Lumpur, we’ve been welcomed by Mish, the graceful mother of two amazing little kids, Annabelle and Edmund. We shared together indian and chinese breakfasts, tours on trickshow, children snacks, and ready-made familial meals in front of a movie. Anthony and me are sure that if Mish was prime minister of Malaysia, there would be flowers everywhere, a gift for everyone every day, love and music in the air and no-one would be alone anymore.
In Kuala Lumpur, we met another fantastic person, Siew, avid Brompton tourer who welcomed us with open arms. Such a luck and an honor for us to meet Siew and the big KL Brompton community and discovering this vertical city with them. We finished this very interesting ride at Van’s, Brompton shop in KL. And they definitely spoilt us! Sweets, accessories and spare parts for our bikes : a new compact pump, mirrors, brake pads and inner tubes. In addition, we met two journalists of Baik Bike who wrote about us a nice article.
The day after, our friends Carina, Norman and Evelyn took us to visit the Kuala Lumpur surroundings : higher, cooler and wilder. We ended this day by a curious visit of Genting Highlands, station of (intense) entertainment located at 1700 m above sea level. We reached this place thanks to a dizzying cable car that flies over the peaceful jungle and disappears in the clouds.
Then, we headed Singapore. We were strongly expected there for the Brompton annual day! Every 1st of May, hundreds of Bromptoners are joining for a common ride in a very friendly atmosphere ! On this edition, there was a total of over 300 Bromptons more their pilots !
Singapore is a kind of perfect city : exceptionally clean, numerous urban amenities and public gardens perfectly maintained. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are particularly disciplined.
But such a perfection turned out to be a tiny bit suspicious after several days : when you realize that you’ll get a 800€ fine if you cycle in a place forbidden to bikes, when you learn that chewing gums are forbidden in the whole State for being a hair-attack gun, or when you see in the city panels to encourage denunciation. Without putting too fine a point on it, this reminded us some Orwellian scenarios. By the way, Singapore is a « fine city », as are used to joke its inhabitants. Repression but tranquility.
In Singapore, Ben and Jennifer treated us to eat gorgeous Singaporean food! After spicy giant crab and sweet and sour razor clam with vermicelli, we finally tasted the king of fruits : the durian! Oval and full of quills, it can weight up to 5 kilos and its particularity is its strong smell between egg and spoilt fruit. However, inside, something wonderful happens. This fruit is really paradoxal : beyond its repugnant odor, its meat is fat, creamy and very fine. Its flavor is complex, very rich. Fore sure, durian makes part of these stuff that you should taste a few times before really appreciate it.
These 6 weeks spent at the end of asiatic peninsula have been an adventure definitely more human than sporty. Meeting all these enthusiastic, benevolent and generous persons brought us much more learning and happiness that we would ever expect.
Goh and his family, Sherilyn and her family, Seesee, Mr Gee team, Marshall from Melaka and his family, Mish, Annabelle and Edmund, Swofinty, Vanessa, and Van’s team, Patricia, Evelyn, Norman, Carina, Siew, XM Chen, Feedjin, Andy, Winson, Jotaro, Jason, Akira, William, François, Ben, Jennifer, SK (Tree in a Lodge, excellent place for cyclists to stay in Singapore!)… And all the one we unfortunately forgot the name, THANK YOU.