Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 2: A Hari Raya In Malacca

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Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 2: A Hari Raya In Malacca
Happy Cyclists at Anuar's Hari Raya Open House at Bukit Pulau, Malacca (Photo by Anuar).
Day 2 - 19th 2015 : Around Malacca
Distance: 34.57km.
Time : 10:30 am - 10:30 pm.
Time Taken : 12 hrs. (Including stops for brunch, chilling/shopping at the Shores Gallery. attending a Hari Raya open house, dinner, drinks, rest, regrouping and photo opps).

Route Recommendations :
1. Malacca City is a good place to cycle, in fact cycling is the best way to get around within the city area during peak holidays seasons when many tourists throng to the place resulting in traffic jams.
2. Interesting places to visit includes:
    - The Malacca Riverside with it's casual atmosphere, many wall murals and a musical fountain.
    - Various historical sites such as the Stadhuys (a Dutch fort) and A'Famosa (ruins of a Portuguese fort), etc.
   - The rocky beach adjacent to the Masjid Selat Melaka to view one of the most scenic sunsets in the world.
3.  Malacca also has a good Baba-Nyonya food, there are many outlets selling these, such as:
    - Donald & Lily's which serves good authentic (we had brunch there).
    - Bayonya where we had dinner. The food here is average only.
    - Another good place to try is Aunty Lee at Ujong Pasir
    - Also don't miss the chicken-ball rice.

This blog comes in a three parts. This Day 2 blog, is on our ride around Malacca City. To see other parts:


PRELUDE
The day before we had rode a hot and long ninety kilometre route from Seremban to Malacca City. Although it was a tough ride, most of us were able to make it and were rewarded with a good sense of achievement.


THE RIDE


It was an easy day of riding around Malacca City today with a bonus of attending a Hari Raya open house at the outskirts of the city. After that we went to view one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world at the Masjid Selat Melaka.

11:00am- After a good-night's sleep, we are ready to set of for a full day riding around the city. Actually most of my buddies woke up much earlier and had done breakfast followed by a bit of exploring of the nearby streets. This old AhPek needing more rest, woke up later, and breakfast was some Nyonya kuehs being sold by a friendly lady running a road side stall just next to Cheng Ho Sayang Guest House, where we were staying.

Larry and Winnie had brought along their compact Jab Nanoo 12-inch bicycles. These bike may look small, but they are compact when folded, and are handy for cycling around the city. For those who don't feel like using their leg power, there is even an electric pedal-assist version.

Within twenty minutes we were at Donald & Lily's Nyonya Food restaurant for a brunch. Even at this hour business was brisk and a long queue were waiting to be seated. Fortunately for us Baki was a sort of god-son to the old couple. Family connections helped and we did not had to wait long to be seated.

This is a restaurant run by a Nyonya family so the food here are authentic and also well presented. Their Nasi Lemak has a unique dark blue (with natural dye from the morning glory flower) and white combo. At first I made the mistake that this was the Pulut-Inti rice which has a similar combo colouring.
Anyway I detract. The rice had a good savoury creamy flavour of santan while the chicken curry was thick and good, it could do with a bit more oil though.

Some of my friends had this Ayam Pongteh that came with white rice. I was fairly good but the flavour was not as strong as the one from Auntie Lee's (another Malacca Nyona restaurant); somehow I felt something was missing, perhaps the aroma of the kayu manis?
The cendol should not be missed; it came with very fresh creamy santan and one of the best Gula Melaka. I had the Mee Rebus which was okay too; for those from the north do not expect something similar with a strong tomato base gravy, the southern ones don't use tomato gravy but instead have a santan based gravy.

Baki, having done some filming in Malacca, acted as our Dǎoyóu (导游 - tour guide in Mandarin). After brunch he took us to Jalan Jawa.
This short alley has two distinctions; firstly on the left is the longest shop house in Malacca. At close to two hundred feet length (I measured on Google map *smiles*) , the side of the house has been subdivided into several shops making it look like individually disticnt shops when actually it is all under one property.
This place is also called the "Wailing Lane" once as it use to have houses where men used to keep their mistresses. Estranged wives would bring their children here and together they would wail away their woes, that must have been a sorry sight then.

With time to spare, we went over to the La Bodega at the Shores Shopping Gallery to hang out and have some drinks/snacks while some even went shopping. Nearby, a kitchen staff was cooking this Paella Rice at an open cooking area; it did look deliciously tempting but we refrained from taking it as we would be attending a Hari Raya open house soon.

Brian was a good transport minister for the hamper we got for the open-house, all nicely secured with bungee cords to his bicycle.
We did achieve an important task at the Shores Gallery; getting a "buah tangan" for the open house visit. In Malaysia, it is customary and good practice to bring along a small gift for the host when visiting.

3:20pm - And we are off, cycling on the board-walk along the Malacca Riverside before heading for the roads. The river may not have crystal clear water but it is relatively clean. Much have improved here since my visit in 2012.

More wall murals have cropped up.....

..... most of the old, dilapidated houses have been restored. Unfortunately they are not for residence and instead house eateries and coffee joints, I guess the riverside properties are just too expensive to stay in.

Annuar & Albert
4:30pm - We arrive at Bukit Pulau for the Hari Raya open house. Anuar, a childhood friend of Albert one of our cycling buddies, had graciously invited us over. He and his family were very warm and welcoming hosts.

In the usual tradition, Anuar had prepared food, drinks and cakes for us; we are in for a feast!

Especially good was his Beef Rendang that went very well with the ketupats. It was done the Malaccan way, i.e. not so dark a curry and had more lemongrass.

Also very memorable was this laksa prepared the Penang Malay Laksa style. It was so good that one of our buddies whacked four bowls.
I do hope that we did not give a poor impression that we were greedy fellows. Hungry from cycling, we did really eat a lot of his tasty food. Anuar in his graciousness did not show any hint of noticing our odd behaviour. Before leaving we took a group photo with Anuar and his family (see top-most photo).

We cycled out along the quiet roads of Bukit Pulau, happy that we did get a chance to celeberate Hari Raya in Malacca.
Many thanks to you Anuar for this opportunity, we had a good time at your place.

7:00pm - We had cycled the fifteen kilometres back to the city and were now at a rocky shore near the Masjid Selat Melaka. Many other tourists (both local & foreign) were there too; all of us waiting in anticipation. Why?

We were all waiting to view one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world!


Beautiful isn't it?

On our way back we were looking for a dinner place and ended up at Bayonya. We were attracted by it's mysteriously red shop front. The food although okay was generally not up to par; we had cincaluk omeletAyam Pongteh and steamed assam fish, etc. The omelet did not have enough cincaluk and thus lacked that cincaluk biting flavour. The assam fish was quite good, with the fish being very fresh.

It had been a wonderful day that included a warm Raya celebration, a beautiful sunset and lots of eating
Tomorrow we will return to Sungai Gadut on A Road Less Travelled!
Goodnight.

This blog comes in a three parts. This Day 2 blog, is on our ride around Malacca City. To see other parts:


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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Malacca / Cycling Malacca 2015 / Day 2: A Hari Raya In Malacca     |     Jump to- Day 1 / Day 3
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 1: Seremban to Malacca

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Negeri Sembilan-Malacca / Cycling Malacca 2015 / Day 1: Seremban to Malacca     |     Day 2 / Day 3
                                     AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                   
Cycling Malacca 2015 Day 1: Seremban to Malacca
Day 1 - 18th 2015 : Seremban to Malacca
Distance: 91.22km.
Time : 10:30 am - 7:00 pm.
Time Taken : 8 hrs. 30 mins. (Including stops for lunch, drinks, rest, regrouping and photo opps)'

Route Recommendations :
1. Except for a couple of dragon backs between Rantau and Linggi, and some slopes at Sungai Udang, the route is relatively flat.
2. This time of the year was the hot season, do cover up and drink lots of water to rehydrate.
3. Also this was during the Hari Raya period and many shops were closed. So we ate a hearty breakfast at Seremban fish ball noodles.
4. Enroute views include:
    - Rustic kampongs.
    - Durians at Sungai Udang (only during durian season).
    - Hang Tuah's Mausoleum at Tanjong Kling.
    - The Malacca riverside walk has now been extended. Some new murals has been added and there is also a colourful musical fountain.
5. Malacca is now a busy tourist spot and traffic jams occur at the Heritage Core Area, so it's good to cycle there (there are bicycles for rent too).
6. Malacca also has a good Baba-Nyonya food, there are many outlets selling these. A good one to try is Aunty Lee at Ujong Pasir. Also don't miss the chicken-ball rice.

This blog comes in a 3 parts. This Day 1 blog, is on the ride from Seremban to Malacca City. To see other parts:


PRELUDE
A couple of days earlier, we had loaded our bikes into Kim's pick-up to be prepared for our trip. A few of us will be riding this pick-up down to Seremban to meet the rest of the team who will be taking KTM's Commuter train (with their bicycles) down.

(Photo by Baki)
The day before was Hari Raya, many of us attended the open house held by Baki. We joked, we laughed.... and we also enjoyed the good food prepared by Baki's mom and aunt. The good food really pumped us up with energy for the following day's ride. Yes, we are ready!


THE RIDE
The route was almost similar to the one a few of us took during our ride down to Malacca in 2012. This time instead of starting from Sungai Gadut, we started from Seremban cut through to Mambau and then to Rantau thus by passing Sungai Gadut.

In the early morning of ride day, Eunice picked Chiam and me up. Together we went over to Kimmi's place where Fenn was already waiting for us. In the pick-up we drove down to the Seremban Station where we met Larry and Winnie. Eunice will take over the wheels of the pick-up, while Winnie will be driving Larry's car. Both vehicles will be our support vehicle during our cycling down.

A bit of change of plans; a call from Tailim (who was on the train down) had us diverting over to Lee Koon Fish Ball Noodles shop in Rahang. In the rush to take the train, many had missed taking a proper breakfast; so here we were then at the shop waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive. My tummy was feeling queasy, so I refrained from eating lest...

Cycling at Seremban fly-over over the North-South Highway.
10:30am - We rolled off, this is an hour later than our planned kicking off time; but it is okay, we were not in a race and not in a real hurry. We were on a tour, so it's best to enjoy things along the way whenever time permits.

A stop somewhere in Mambau. Brian our ride leader was re-checking the route, we had missed a turn off. Fortunately we had not detoured that far off and a quick U-turn led us back to our planned route, Federal Route N7.
Hah! Sometimes getting lost is part of the cycling adventure, who know we could have discovered some interesting things.

The roads on that day were quite busy with traffic; it's the second day of Hari Raya and many were travelling to visit relatives. Sometimes there were emergency lanes on which we could cycle comfortably but most times there were none, we cycled as close to the road's edge as possible then.

(Photo by Kong)
Somewhere at Rantau, I stopped to buy a couple of baos. My tummy was feeling better then and calling out for food; we still had a long way to go. So it was meals on wheels for me, eating one of the baos as we rode along. I would not recommend doing this unless the roads are light with traffic and relatively straight.

1:05pm - We hit the series of dragon-backs along the Rantau-Linggi stretch. The day was getting hot and the slopes were steep, some just came down to push.

1:45pm - At Linggi; we had covered about 21km in three hours. I must admit that was not a very impressive speed even for a fun ride; but it was a hot day and we had a couple of newbies to take care of and additional stops were made to cater for this.
It was time for some eats, this was at a Mamak shop near the main road. My stomach was just recovering, so I refrained from taking any spicy food and ate my other bao instead.

About an hour later we cycled pass this arch near the Rembau River, it marks the boundary between Negeri Sembilan and Malacca. Yahoooooo! We were now officially in Malacca.
This would have been a good place for a group photo, but I was sweeping and the rest of the gang were pretty much ahead already. So no memorable group photo here.

At the Lubok China we made a refreshment stop. Most of the gang bought drinks at the Petronas station. A few of us got coconut water at the road-side stall opposite. This stall also sold goreng pisang (banana fritters), a local Malaysian favourite. Bananas were hanging there and the ones that caught Jason's eye were they huge Pisang Tanduk. Just one of this banana would be enough to fill one's tummy.

Taking a rest at the Sungai Udang shady stretch.
At M157 junction, just before Masjid Tanah, we were surprised to see a cyclist in black waving at us. It was Lai, who had cycled from Port Dickson to join us. It was pure good timing that he was at that junction as we rode pass. Anyway both Kong & me were glad for his company; as both of us were sweeping. Due to the inconsistent pace of sweeping a newbie, both of us had developed leg cramps, and were quite a distance behind the main group, Lai being around was helpful.

5:15pm - We reached Tanjung Kling. Fortunately we saw Kimmi who was cycling out from a junction on the right. The gang had detoured about a kilometre in to view Hang Tuah's Mausoleum. Hang Tuah is a warrior hero of legend in Malaysia's history. By the time we reached the memorial, the rest of the gang had left. So it was Kong, Lai and me. Still it was a worthwhile visit to see the place and learn more about the hero.

Brompton at Tanjung Kling Jetty (Photo by Anne).
We were later to find out that our friends had gone further in to the beach at the Tanjung Kling Jetty. We were too far behind to join them as by then they had left the place. That's the disadvantage of being sweepers, we just missed much of the action that takes place up front.

Riding along Tengkera Road, we passed by some road-side stalls. Seeing this my stomach started growling with hunger, I guess it was its way of telling me that it had fully recovered and that the baos were already burnt up by the long cycling.
With a shout to Kong, we rode in to had this fish ball noodles. It was nothing great, but at that time it was just so badly needed.

(Photo by Anne)
6:30pm - We reached our homestay, the Cheng Ho Sayang Guest House. Situated right in the heart of Malacca City's heritage core area, it's a convenient and nice place to stay in. Rates are reasonable too, at around RM40/- per pax, and some rooms come with en-suite bathrooms.

(Photo by Anne)
After a good rest and freshening up, we went to Malacca's favourite street - Jonker's Street. We had wanted to go to our favourite hang-out joint, Ringo's which plays very good classic rock music but the place had already closed down. With no choice we opted for the Geographer Cafe just on the opposite side of the road, but the songs being played there were not to our taste, they just did not stir our hearts, make us want to tap our feet in rhythm nor even jump in joy as what happened at Ringo's during a previous trip. We stayed a while and left to have some wantan noodles at a street alley nearby before calling it a day.

This was a good and challenging ride, especially during the hot weather. It was taxing for us sweepers to handle the newbies that had not tried such a long cycling tour before.
Will I do sweeping duties again and miss out on the action up front? Perhaps I will, but the next time I will advise newbies not to take on such rides until there have built up the stamina and learned to ride the slopes.
A word to newbies though, don't be discouraged by what I had mentioned here; ride more often to slowly build up your stamina and ability to take in the heat. Build up your riding endurance by going for rides of 20km and then upwards to 50km. By then you will be surprised how much more you can take in.

This blog comes in a 3 parts. This Day 1 blog, is on the ride from Seremban to Malacca City. To see other parts:


RELATED BLOGS:


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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Negeri Sembilan-Malacca / Cycling Malacca 2015 / Day 1: Seremban to Malacca     |     Day 2 / Day 3
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)