Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Cherating & Dungun

After returning to Kuantan, I headed further up the East Coast to Cherating, about halfway up. I found a place to stay and had a wander around. Seems quite a small place, a few guesthouses, a few restaurants. Big flat beach 5 minutes from the guesthouse. As I went for a lookabout, the guesthouse owner waved me over and gave me a coconut to drink. I'd picked this one as I'd heard it was friendly, seems they were right. The next day they cooked a Malay meal for me and another guest for free. Some chicken curry, fish & salad with the omnipresent rice. I met a woman from Edinburgh who had visited here six years ago and stayed for a month, now with her husband, a chef, she runs a restaraunt & travel shop here. There was a cultural display on, but when I popped along nothing seem to be happening. Oh well, and it advertised something like Monkey Climbing Coconut but not today it seemed.
Seems to be one of these places that people come to do nothing! I can do that :)

I headed up the coast on my bike to the next place, Kijal, I had a quick look around and decided I wouldn't be likely to find accommodation here. The only place I'd seen had it's own golf course. I got onto a path besides the beach and headed North again, but soon the path ran out and I was forced back onto the highway, well almost. The path led up to the barrier at the side of the highway. While I was wondering if I could lift my bike over the barrier without taking off the bags, an old woman shouted 'Hello' to me and pointed me off down a dirt path. Right enough eventually the dirt path connected back to the highway with no barriers. I had set off early at 07.30 as I rightly suspected it might the case that I wouldn't find anywhere to stay in Kijal so the next stop was onto the strangely named Dungun.

About 11.30 while cycling along through the strange mechinal landscape of metal towers, containers, distant pilot flams & pylons that make up a massive BP refinery I realised it was ravenous. Five minutes later I was in a road side restaraunt tucking into a big plate of rice covered in a ladelful of mysterious sauce and a couple of lovely fried chicken legs. Food definitely tastes better when you work up an appetite! After about 10km of roadworks prefacing Dungun I made it into town. I cycled down the main road and found a hotel. Seems like there is only two main roads here connecting at a T-Junction. No doubt referred to as the town centre.

I tried a couple of bike shops to try and fix my spoke again, which had broke less than 1km from my hotel, typical eh? My bad had slipped down and hit the wheel again breaking the spoke, I'll have to make sure I tie them better in future or I'll end up cycling on square wheels. No luck at the shops in Dungun, I'll have to get it fixed in Kuala Terrenganu about 80km further on, but first I'm heading off to Kapas a tiny island floating in the South China Sea. I was going to set off today but I couldn't be bothered getting out of bed, feeling tired, by the time I got up the sun was shining down fiercely having driven away the torrential downpours of late yesterday afternoon(thankfully I was cycling in that). So a quick rest day and set off early tomorrow. I headed down to a food court to get some lunch with my little book of Malay to decode the menu. I prompted for Tom Yam Campur. A big bowl of spicy soup with veg & chicken floating around. The waiter asked spicy or normal, I opted for normal but sitll had to choke back a cough after a sip, and guzzle my orange juice. I later found the culprit a mashed up red pepper lurking at the bottom, I must of slurped up the seeds.

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