Thursday, April 21, 2005

Up the East coast

On my second day of biking I left Ramunia beach, not quite as early as I had wanted, but I left and headed North. I coasted along a quiet back road beside the coast, with the occasional dead palm frond the only obstruction. I was planning to head to Desaru another twenty km's up the coast. However somewhere along the line I think I must of missed the turn off. I had cycled for about ten kilometres before my first signpost, at least it was the right one though. It said nine kilometres to Desaru. So I cycled on and on the nine kilometres had come and gone but there was a sign up a head. It pointed to Belungkor, this was going to be my original starting point so it completely confused me, I only knew that I definitely didn't want to go there so I continued on my current road. Eventually I came to a roundabout which had a turn off looping back about 4 kilometres to Desaru. Desaru seems to be a string of beach resorts, most of them quite pricey, I had expected a town. Maybe there is a town back there somewhere but I gave up and decided to head onto a fishing village five kilometres further on. I got to Tanjong Balau and asked a local about rooms, but he just shook his head, I was quite sure it he was saying no or just didn't understand my English and one-word Malay!

I soon found a hotel though a bit pricey I checked out the chalets which had also had a dorm but it was full. It seemed they had a group booking. So back to the hotel as least somewhere to stay and get some food. But first I though I would check out the fishing museum here, but Friday in Malaysia is like a Sunday in the U.K so it was closed, oh well back to the food.
The food at the restaurant was excellent and I wolfed it down. I had a salad and then some tasty fish (well I was in a fishing village) in a bright green sauce. Yummy!
Back at the shore there was a long jeti, which I walked down and took a photo of the small boats bobbing around and erm some rocks.

I had done more than double my estimated twenty kilometres that day, but I was settling into the riding with luggage up and down the small hills that seems to the geography of this area at least.

The next day I set off up along the coast and got to my destination as marked on the map, Mahktu Beach, didn't seem to be much there so I continued on upto the next village, but I couldn't find anywhere to stay. It was either head back down or... I spotted a bus driving past with the destination of Kota Tinggi which was going to be my next stop. I did a quick 180degree turn and chased after it, it had stopped at the local jetty but the driver had left. I wondered whether they would take my bike or not, I asked a couple of passer-bys who looked doubtfull. The driver turned up and just waved me and my bike on board. Like India you are subjected to the drivers taste in music, this time some Malaysian Rock! Strange, but better than Hindi Pop.
I got off the bus and spotted a hotel sign and they helped me & my bike up to my room, no problems, and not long before the rain hit Kota Tinggi either! Well except for my next move, the next stop on the map was a long long 90km away. There didn't seem to be anywhere else to stop in between. After a days rest, I decided I would go for it anyway and got underway at 07.30. After a long tiring ride with more and more frequent rest I eventually made it to Mersing, yah! It was good to make it into the town and had a renewed spurt of energy, I found a guesthouse that had been recommended and then went for a nosy around this small town (less than 50,000 people) I would sleep well that night. The next day I jumped on a speedboat to zoom across the water to the island of Tioman. This was the setting of the mystical Bali Hai in South Pacific (that's for my older readers, you know who you are!)
White sands, blue seas and very cheap rooms make for an enjoyable stay! So I'll maybe try and go snorkelling, they have life jackets for hire :) However Internet is expensive so signing off!

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