Saturday, May 28, 2005

Kuala Terengannu

After arriving in Palau Duyong, I cycled around for a bit before finding my accommodation Ali's Yellow House, which is no longer yellow. Situated in a fishing village, the other main industry here is boat building, Awi showed me his almost finished yacht, built from scratch. At the guesthouse I had some interesting conversations with a few Malaysians. Also I met a Swiss couple on their way to Singapore who, a year ago, had started cycling from Mongolia through China and South East Asia on a recumbent tandem with a trailer. A very peculiar looking machine about 2m long. They definitely most of got a lot of stares!

I tried to find the museum one day but couldn't locate it. The next day I had better success. I chained it up next to tank in the carpark and headed inside. Your not allowed any photos inside though, so I deposited my camera in a locker. It is a huge museum with various sections, such as Historic, Royal, Handicrafts, Natural, Islamic etc. I spent a few hours wandering about. It didn't seem particularly popular as I rarely bumped into anybody else, but apparently busloads of tourists arrive at the weekends. In the natural section they had vats of formaldehyde storing various creatures from the deep. Like a big fish over 200kg caught off the coast, and a large 12ft sea snake/eel crammed into a jar.

Palau Duyong was a quiet place, but come Friday the market arrives. The main street is suddenly clogged with hawkers selling there wares. I had an "apam balik" a kind of peanut pancake, some satay sticks and fried chicken leg before bumping into a guy from the guesthouse and going for a beer.

Later I tried to sort out my wheel as with the missing spoke it was almost rubbing against the brake pad. A few tweaks of the spokes later and I 'fixed' it. Although now it was worse! I also managed to mangle the spoke holders as they seem to be made of soft metal and so reversing the damage proved elusive. Thankfully with the help of the Swiss couple I managed to get it at least ridable. I have the details of a bike shop up in Kota Bharu, so hopefully I can get it properly fixed there.

I left heading towards Kuala Besut, the port for the Perhentians. I stopped off for lunch, but they didn't have any food and sent me back a kilometre to another cafe. Why a restaurant had no food I'm not sure. Still I got something to eat. I saw a sign saying 'Nasi Lauk' and I hadn't seen that before so I ordered that, turned out to be plain rice! So I got some sauce and chicken to go with it, washed down with iced orange juice. I was ready to hit the road again, I'd seen a sign that they were budget chalets a few km's along, but it most of been on the other branch of the road for the never materialised. I continued onwards and passed by a large numbers of people fishing with large rods. I asked somebody what was going on, turned out to be a competition, he also gave me a bottle of water beofre I continued onwards getting off the highway back on to the favoured beach roads. Often there is a path running alongside the sea, which only the occasional motorbikes use, great for cycling. Here I stumbled across a small inn, which also housed a conservation project for Coral Cay, almost on the beach with a small picnic table. I stopped here and the owner invited us all for tea, as one of the members was soon leaving after six months. The project seem to involve survey work recording animals numbers and natural fauna etc. It had previously surveyed the Perhentians and may go to Taman Negara next. Interesting to talk to the participants and one of these things I would never of stumbled across if I hadn't been on my bike.

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