Log Cabin Chronicles

EDITOR'S NOTE: 10/14/97 - 1:30 AM Our world cycling chiropractor telephoned collect (sigh) from a small island off the coast of Thailand, where he had spent the days eating coconuts and helping local farmers load a wagon. He had just come out of seclusion in a Buddhist monastery, where he had meditated in total silence for 10 days. He commented he had learned the meaning of the old meditator's saying: "like having 10,000 drunken monkeys in your head." He is biking 450 miles north to Bankok and promises a report on his past two weeks, once he reaches a cyber cafe.

Dr. Denis Mahoney Letters from the other side of the world
Occasional reports from a bicycle trip that began last July in Vancouver, British Columbia....


Filed 09/27/97

Saturday, September 27, 1997

The journey continues. Days are somewhat blurred by the number of towns, heat, haze, fatigue, and humidity. I rode north of KL (100km) to Bukit Fraser (altitude 1500m), a highland vacation spot for nature walks and bird watching. I stayed in a beautiful condo, which was a pleasant treat after the 40km ride from Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB), the last 30km were entirely uphill!

Day 2: A local friend took me on a nature jungle walk/run. The first half was walking, then the leaches began to attack us, so we ran! Only 10 were able to climb aboard for a free ride (one got a free meal -- the last he'll ever have).

Day 3 was a day for a challenge. I coasted the 38km down to KKB, had Roti and tea, and read about the out-of-control haze that's enveloping Malaysia and area. At 1 pm I started the ascent. The goal: 2.5hrs to the clock tower at Fraser Hill.

The first 8km are mixed, rolling roads. The next 22km are all uphill, where you reach the Gap (only one-way road from here to the top). I hit 20km in just under an hour, so I upgraded the goal to sub 2hrs. Intensity turned up, determination - high.

From the Gap, its 8 serious km to the clock tower (1:27 to the gap). I hit the clock tower in 1:56min, with my LiteSpeed mountain bike and about 10 lbs. of accessories. Great ride -- recommended for serious riders only.

That evening I met with local nature guide Durai (ph.010-91850514), who took me on a two-hour bird watch and mountain tour. We saw at least 10 different varieties of birds, heard an elusive woodpecker, and monkies which kept out of view. I definately recommend Fraser Hill for bird watching; contact Durai for guided assistance.

Day 3: I'm headed to Ipoh (190km). Long day, slept well.

Friday, Sept.26

Bike Ipoh to Penang (Georgetown), about 150km north. Wonderful day of new sights: rice fields, farm land, timber forests, and mountains. Great 40-minute climb out of Ipoh -- the big trucks are not moving much faster than I am. A funny thing happens when you're bike touring at 100km to 100mile mark. It gets hard. Hot, dehydrated, less smiley. Yesterday, I hit this special headspace. I'll attempt to tell you my thoughts.

    I've biked 140km with lots of gear, up lots of hills. Its 30 plus degrees, and humidity at max. I've got 50km more to go and I'm trying to figure out how and why.

    First, I need a physical body (I take inventory: I do); Second, I need a vehicle (I do, my bike);Third, I need the unconscious innate mental component, the nervous system to drive the physical (I do); and finally, I need the conscious mental component, to develop the Goal and desire to achieve it (Goal arrive in Ipoh by 6pm).

    What I realized is that I had everything I required to reach my goal (physical, vechicle, unconscious mind, and conscious mind), with the only variable being TIME. I would get to my destination just fine -- it was arrival time that I was unsure of. WOW, what a relief.

    Knowing this, I just relaxed and rode. It wasn't long before I was travelling fast and had only 20km to go. I started to apply this to how sick people get well. The same basic ingredients are vital.

    Do you have:

      a physical body? (yes- in what ever state of health);
      an innate mind? (yes, we all have this - its' inborn);
      a vechicle to get well? (Chiropractic is the only healing art that addresses and corrects interference to the nervous system which controls all functions in your body. A 100% functioning nervous system means you can be well. You can get well and stay well with Chiropractic care.);
      a Health goal and strong desire to achieve it?
    Great health is a gift. Its precious and delicate. It also takes alot of energy to get it back if deteriorated. Its usually takes less to maintain. Remember, TIME is the variable. Get on track with what's important to you, and stay on track. You will reach your goal, sometimes we just don't know how or when, when we begin our journey.
Saturday Sept 27/97

I changed hotels (I'm at the Swiss hotel) and am just touring the city. Its soak your shirt-standing-still hot, but a little less busy then KL. All is well

. Jumpa Lugi (see you again)


P.S. Thanks for e-mails. I've yet to figure out how to retrieve then, but please keep them coming!

Filed 09/21/97

Saturday, September 20, 1997

Apa Kabar (How are you?)
Kabar Bait (I'm fine -- its going great.)

I visited the Batu caves today with another global traveller (Emily from New Zealand). It was a thinly disguised trip designed to separate me from my ringgits.

I toured a silk batik factory (I now own a triple-overpriced beatiful silk shirt -- perfect for the local temperature and humidity), butterfly mounting factory, Royal Selagor pewter factory, local Malay house, then finally the caves.

You enter the caves via a 272-step staircase where you are assaulted by hoards of small monkies vying for the the bag of bananas you buy on the tour guide's recommendation. Sounds fun.

It wears thin when they start jumping at you and climbing up your body to get your bag of fruit. I will send pictures asap. The caves are truly amazing, and are a must see when you come to KL. Take the bus or taxi rather than the tour.

A small group of us from the tour (Emily, Gregor, Brad, and myself -- Assim, where did you go?) went to the Hard Rock Cafe. It is definately the hot spot in town. Recommended. Also, I got to wear that fine silk shirt. Super.

Sunday, September 21, 1997

Late, lazy start. It rained. Local theory that the 100-meter visibility is caused by the fire in Indonesia (and that a good rain will clear it) sounds nice for tourists. I believe that the haze that limits vision to maximum 300-400 cloudy meters is primarily from the pollution of the city and area factories. Rain today had no effect on visual range thus far.

Monday through Wednesday: Travelling to Fraser's hill, Cameron Highlands, and Lpoh.

Housing update:

  • Fauna -- no in-house fauna for several days. Light is still on.
  • Showers -- I opted for only cold H2O this am. I better get used to it.
Jumpa lugi (see you again)



Filed 09/19/97

Dear friends and family -- Selamat detang (Welcome)

Tuesday, September 16, 1997

From Singapore I biked to Batu Pahat (160km). Hot and humid. Still no sun as the fire in Indonesia has smoked up the sky completely. Rain is hoped for to clear the sky. I arrived at 6 p.m., found an inexpensive hotel (32RM : 3 Ringgit Malay = $1 U.S.).

Fauna update:
1. Large dead snake 3 feet long on road (later I was told this was small. They will go up to 20').
2. Several dead lizards on road (3' long). Again these were small. YIKES!
3. A herd (?) of monkeys beside the highway. Small, long tailed, tree-climbing monkeys.
4. Cows, chickens, goats, semi-domestic dogs (which are totally disinterested in me - Great!)
5. Two-inch cockroach in hotel room. I slept with the light on.

The people of Malaysia: Malaysians, Indians, Chinese. Religions: Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist, Christians, and Chinese religions. They all seem to (and do, as I've been told) get along fine.

Wednesday, September 17

I biked to historic city Melacca (Meleka) about 100km. Food so far has been amazing. I eat at restorams(restaurants) or warongs (roadside cantinas). This morning's food was noodles, squash-like stuff with spicy sauce, a boiled egg, and tea (4RM). The squash was not squash.

A local told me it was lunk (pointing to his chest). Liver I asked? (pointing to my liver).

Lunk he said, again pointing to his chest.

I understood. Lung. I was a little squeamish at meal time for a day.

This city was a trading port that later attracted the Portuguese in the 1500s, then Dutch and English. I toured the Stadthuys, built by the Dutch in 1641-1660. It is a museum giving an account of Melaka's history, culture, and traditions.

Thursday, September 18

On the road to Kuala Lumpur (KL). 150km. I'm moving a little slower today, due to rise in altitude. I am travelling primarily on the old Highway #1, which goes from Singapore to Thailand. Now there is a new highway, comparable to the TransCanada, running north-south down the length on Malaysia.

I hit KL in rush hour. Imagine being on the QEW at 5 p.m. on a holiday weekend. It was slow but safe.

Have you ever been swarmed by hornets before? In KL there are so many motorcycles/scooters that zip in between cars and trucks they sound like a bee swarm when they overtake you.

I'm staying at the YMCA in KL. Clean and spacious accommodations. No in-house fauna as of yet.

Friday, September 19

Sightseeing/rest day. Toured National Museum, walked around, and now I'm writing to you. Finding a cyber cafe is next to impossible. KL is about 2 million people and has only one Internet location. My next update may not be for a while so I tell you my rough plans.

I'll stay in KL another day and see the Batu Caves. Next day, big ride to Lpoh. Visit the Cameron Highlands from here. Next, to Penang/Georgetown. Then onto to Kangar/Perlis at Thailand border.

Laos is out of the question now. I may bike up to Bankok, then go back to Singapore through the east side of Malaysia. Time will tell.

Observations: Singapore is like any major city. Fast, busy, expensive. Mercedes-Benz are the most common car (second to taxis).

Southeast Asia is booming. There has been non-stop construction (homes, hotels, condos, malls, infrastructure) from Singapore to KL.

My personal recommendations thus far:

1. Have a mud guard for your front tire -- you don't want what I've run over to get on your legs.

2. Preview your hotel room.

3. Arrive in town early to find accommodations (you may have to bike another 30-50km to find a hotel as I had to Tuesday p.m.).

4. Talk to the locals. They're eager to help.
5. USA money does not always work. Go to a money changer for best exchange rate.

6. If you're going to move to Malaysia: have chickens in the yard to eat insects, dogs to scare away anything bigger, air conditioning, and a four-wheel-drive truck.

Selamt tinggal (Goodbye).



Arrived in Singapore on Sunday, September 14, at 8 p.m. Bike assembled and ready by 9. Bike broke 9.15. Bike duct taped, then fixed by 10.30. Beautiful ride (about 20km) into city along waterfront. Palm trees and no strange fauna yet.

Day spent biking, eating, and watching people. I have absolutely no sense of direction and am in possession of an inferior map.

English is the language of choice. Almost everyone speaks it. This may be my last city where that is true for the next three months.

Hey, wait a minute. My flight. Spectacular once I arrived in NY and boarded Singapore International Airlines. I left Toronto (the city was in a frenzy to secure another lottery ticket for some huge upcoming draw -- I missed out...shucks!) Friday at 5:10 p.m., left NY at 9:45 p.m.

Great food on flights, flight attendants in sarongs, service above and beyond.

Stayed Sunday p.m. in a Bellecoolen Street rooming house. Basic, safe, with a fan. Cleanliness -- no comment. 20 Singapore dollars (Similar to value of Canadian dollar).

Monday, September 15: 8-9 a.m. -- Repack bike, dump several pounds. 9-10 -- looking for money changer so I can eat. Toured Arab and Chinese areas in city. 11.45 --e-mailing home. Afternoon plan is to see museum. This evening -- night safari.

Tuesday a.m. -- hit the road - Will ride into Malaysia up along west coast, eventually to KL, then up to Thailand. Singapore is the safest and cleanest city I've been to (including Toronto). Air quality is like T on a hot, sticky, polluted day. Talk about hot and sticky -- I'll write more about this later.

Love to all family and friends.




Canada bike trip photographs

Copyright © 1997 Dr. Denis Mahoney

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