Right before the destructive typhoon Damrey came through the north of Peninsular Malaysia, we took to the rural streets of Bertam and Kepala Batas on our bikes, in an effort to raise awareness for increasing the sustainability of our human exploits.
Overall not a tough ride: we started in Kepala Batas in the north of Penang state, and made our way westward towards the sea.
A very leisurely and almost entirely flat ride (save a few flyovers and bridges).
And here’s more biking action with musical accompaniment!
In September of 2017, we decided to explore the townships of Bagan Serai and Kuala Kurau in the northern Perak region.
We started off in Penang, from the Butterworth ferry terminal, and made our way south along the old trunk road.
You end up passing a lot of little towns and palm plantations.
The roads were straight and the traffic low, and the locals probably weren’t as accustomed to hordes of cyclists passing through.
And this is where my back tire went flat.
I hobbled my way to the nearest hardware store; thankfully this town appeared well accustomed to servicing passing vehicles. However, these vehicles tended to be of the larger variety, so I had to MacGuyver together some tube levers and a patch from keys and some decent duct tape.
Fortunately, the hardware store had a powerful pump and soon I was off on my merry way.
Bagan Serai is a relatively simple town that I suppose is known for food, apart from being a hub town for the surrounding area.
Nothing much to see there, really. Lots of shops though.
After Bagan Serai, it’s a quick 15km jaunt over to the coastal town of Kuala Kurau.
Now Kuala Kurau is much more interesting.
Kuala Kurau is a bustling little port town by the sea, with some quaint little bridges spanning the delta.
It appears to be a town with some history – old, weather-worn buildings; typical salty fishing shacks; new, stone temples and bungalows.
And just out of town was where our true destination lay: My Homestay 21.
Located literally in the middle of a palm plantation, deep in Kampung Lian Seng, is a large expanse of pomelo orchards and sturdy houses with a thriving Chinese population.
So we came along to feast on the pomelos, but stayed around to support (morally) the kind medical doctors that were there to offer free medical check-ups to the local residents.
Penangites sure have it lucky – you’ve got the calm blue seas under a balmy bright sky; swathes of sandy beaches; towering hills at your back; tropical rainforests interspersed with trickling waterfalls; crazy cyclists whizzing down your narrow roads.
Penang has always been this hidden gem of pearls and pride and prudence – a stronghold of businessmen and tourists. A secret blend of modern and traditional; an endless cacophony of smells and sounds and tasty food; a stark juxtaposition of relaxed colonial landmarks and frenzied industrial monoliths; a harmonious mix of ethnicities and cultures and crazy people.
And no, I don’t work for the tourism board of Penang.
Here is a really nice blog I stumbled across during my research (with my good friend Google).
Hidden deep in the recesses of one of George Town’s many rows of Chinese shophouses is a rather magical alleyway, a quaint little secret garden of greenery!
Complete with clever will artsy pieces of natural and artificial!
Bringing a dead appliance to life!
It may look like a creepy dilapidated alley from outside, but I’d say it’s perfectly welcoming
And it wouldn’t be complete without bikes!
Come bike lah!
P.S. I mean, I could waffle on for another 230 words about nothing much in particular, if for no other reason than to make the SEO engine Google slave happy. So much of what we do online has become dictated by the search engine giant that we are at its mercy. Remember a time when people wrote random essays on random things like secret gardens for no other reason than for the hell of it? Well…they still do! But now they have to keep keywords and optimised content at the back of their mind so Google doesn’t give them the flick. I mean, sure I could just copy and paste the text “Penang Secret Garden” over and over again (interspersed enough so that the Google crawler doesn’t get suspicious and downvote me even further into the blue nothingness), but that would be far less entertaining than typing up this seemingly coherent piece of prose which is much ado about nothing; much like Seinfeld, but see how entertaining that was! And I could probably paragraph better for readability and such humdrum, but who really reads this stuff anyway? Go read about the latest Wolverine movie, why don’t you?