Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rogue Rider : Project Taiping - Port Weld, Part 2

When it rains, it pours..
The next station after Kuala Kangsar is Taiping.
It bypasses Padang Rengit and you can actually see the train climbing as it slowly ascends up Changkat Jering towards Taiping.
My trip was delayed for a least one hour.
Right about 02:45pm, the train arrived.
I got off and started making my way to to the main terminal which is basically, a wooden shack.
Its rapidly 'morphing' into a modern train station with remnants of the old Colonial structure in the background.
Only a few people got off at Taiping as the train continues its journey towards Butterworth.

Arrival in Taiping
Made it so far..
Track controls at the station
Taiping's predictable afternoon weather.. 
It took me a few minutes to set up the bike under the watchful eyes of the KTM people.
They didn't ask much and looked in amazement as I uncovered the Curve SL and fold it into a small bike.
When I set out towards Jalan Regat Muzaffar Shah, it started to drizzle.
The trip is roughly about 15-minutes from the train station.
Then, it poured.
By the time I reached the motel, I was totally drenched.
Good thing I had the Ortliebs where most of the content stored inside the backpack and waist pouch were dry.
I made my way to the reception where a friendly Malay girl greeted me.
"You came with a bicycle?," she asked.
I checked-in and paid the full amount.
After settling-in, I walked towards Taiping Sentral, a shopping mall located on the edge of town.
This is a fully-fledged retail area with some surprises.
I was really amazed to see a cinema and some familiar retail outlets in this mall.
There was also a Starbucks coffee shop here where most of the customers are Taiping's elite.
Tesco hypermart is just next to the mall.
I need to get supplies like drinking water for the trip to Port Weld.

Settling-in: The bike and a cosy little room
A short ride to town..
I had my Sigma Powerled Pro light mounted on the Curve's Minoura Space Bar.
Its been a while since I rode the bike, so, the last thing I did, was to change the brake shoes which was totally worn-out.
With everything set-up, I made my way towards Jalan Istana Larut that leads straight into town.
This means I don't have to utilise the flyover on Rengat Muzaffar Shah.
It took about 15-minutes to reach the town area.
By the time I got there, it was starting to get dark.
I had my Garmin Fenix GPS watch which tells the time as well as the remaining daylight.
Sunset was at 06:59pm.
This time of the year, it gets dark really fast.

Packed rice at a tea stall near the old market square
Taiping's street at dusk
My dinner: Chicken rice and beansprouts
I found a tea stall and ordered a piece of toasted bread and iced coffee. The bill came up to RM2.30 which was relatively cheap compared to what I get in the Klang Valley.
Later, I rode around town and came across Hotel Warisan, a new accommodation facility.
The asking price was too high for bikepackers like me, but the information gathered was useful for future references.
As I was cycling around town,, I noticed a group of cyclists at a mamak restaurant. 
I waved at them and continued to ride and search for a suitable place for dinner.
In my quest for a decent meal, I found a makan place at the edge of town.
There, I ate Chicken rice with beansprouts. The pricing here is kinda similar to what I eat in KL.
But what made up for it is the good taste. No complaints.

After hours..
I rode back to the hotel with the lights and blinkers on.
The Sigma performed as expected and my Cateye Reflex auto did its job.
At the hotel lobby, I talked to an elderly Malay man who takes care of the guests.
He clocks in from 8pm - 8am and told me a bit about what to expect in Port Weld.
Feeling that it was too early to call it a day, I took a walk down Jalan Kamunting.
About 1.5km away, there was another Hypermarket called 'The Store'.
I checked this place out and found a lot of cheap stuff.
Bought myself a bottle of fruit juice and drank it. I kept on walking and went back to the hotel.
I look forward to the ride to Port Weld after a good rest..
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