04/29/2014 – 299 days/26285 miles

Who would’ve thought that filling my bike up with gas in Malaysia could be so wonderful…
First off, it’s SUPER cheap…2.10 Ringit (about 70 cents) per liter. Thailand (and everywhere else I’ve ridden through) has been about double that. Pair the wonderful riding with cheap gas and you’ve got the recipe for happiness.
Next, you can pump it yourself (take note here Oregon!). I’ve never understood the idea of not doing it yourself…I’ve never had any issues with it due to lack of expertise. And moreso than just for this reason, I like to fill up my bike myself as everyone else seems to make a mess of the process. Every time someone fills it for me, I urge them (with simple speaking and hand signals) to go slowly, or fuel will splash out, and nearly every time, I end up with a bit of gas sprayed across my seat. My riding gear already smells like BO…I don’t need it to smell like BO and gasoline.
Third, there is no gasohol, ethanol, E10, E20, or Eanyothernumber. It’s all 95 octane gasoline/petrol/benzene.
Last, and most definitely least, is that you can pay at the pump with a credit card. I think this is the first time I’ve seen this since leaving North America, and though it’s not that amazing, it is a bit convenient.

For my first actual day in Kuala Lumpur, I made a bit of a ride out of the city, up to Bukit Fraser, or Fraser’s Hill.
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Fraser’s Hill first appeared on the map in the late 1800s as a tin mining community. Once the mining was no longer profitable, it transitioned to a hill resort community. I planned to just ride up for the day, as I heard the roads were nice and twisty.
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As you got higher and higher up the hill, the turns might’ve even started to get a little too tight…I guess I’m a bigger fan of the higher speed, more sweeping curves, rather than the constant near-hairpins I found on this stretch.

By the time I got to the top, clouds and rain were rolling in, so I turned back and raced them down the hill, and managed to stay dry nearly the entire time.
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Two friends, Lea and Hilde, who I met a month or so ago in Bangkok were also in Kuala Lumpur. We spent a few days walking around the city, eating too much delicious food and drinking iced coffee by the gallon to try and fight off the heat.

One evening, after just finishing dinner, we were overcome by the smell of durian. Before ever actually smelling it on my own, I had only heard that it smelled bad, but had no clue how bad, or what it actually smelled like.
Having had it assault my nostrils, I’ll provide my take on the smell…
Go for a nice long run, and before the sweat has time to dry from your socks, seal them up in a ziplock bag.
Leave the bag of socks in the sun for 4-5 days.
Open the bag and cover your nose with the socks.
Walk into the mustiest smelling antique store you can find.
Take a deep breath

With durian on our minds, we decided that we should probably go try it somewhere, just to really see how it tastes. Turns out it’s not good. Any nice flavor that it might have is completely overpowered by the antique sock smell that continues to flood your nose.
Here’s Hilde and Lea trying the durian…first reacting to the smell, then to the taste.
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And me…pre smell, post smell, and mid chew
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Another interesting bit of food was bamboo charcoal bread. It tasted pretty good (with a bit of a toasted sesame flavor), but it felt a bit strange to eat black bread.
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A couple other spots around the city…
The Botanical Gardens
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Apparently they weren’t concerned with centering this fountain when they installed it
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Merdeka Square
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Masjid Jamek
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Sze Ya Temple – kinda strange to see a temple with barbed wire on top of the walls around the perimeter…
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Petronas Towers
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Tomorrow I’m off to the Cameron Highlands, where there’s more rain and less heat.

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4 thoughts on “04/29/2014 – 299 days/26285 miles

  1. As for the Durian you sampled I suspect that it was not sufficiently ripe . When fully ripe , dark yellow and mushy soft it is really marvelous , as a fine cheese….in fact together with a nice Gorgonzola or Camenbert cheese it is a dream come true .Wash it down with a nice Sauterne wine and you’ll know what heaven truly is .
    Keep one in the pannier for impromptu roadside picnics as well…..! Just sayin’….

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