It’s very hot. I really can’t believe I’m an Indian and supposed to be used to this Asian heat. I guess I’ve been out of the system too long. So to get used to it, I went for a long walk in pure white heat, along the Malaysian highway, also called AH-2, OR Asian Highway -2. A beautiful road. Few vehicles on it. Fewer people walking like me. Soon I realized that people were staring at me. Every human was in the shade, under the awning of a shop. It really didn’t bother me.
The ride from Butterworth to Changloon was pleasant: whenever a cloud covered me and hot when it didn’t. It was a three hour ride. 130km. Even so, I stopped at a KFC-Fuel combo to eat and tank up with liquids.
Changloon wasn’t going anywhere.
In USA, in the olden times this would be a cowboy town. Simple, lazy, hot, street food under a canvas. I couldn’t find the saloon though. A typical border town. Lots of shops doing Thailand documentation, for overland travellers. The T Hotel, Changloon, was a freshly painted one storey structure that most border-crossers use. I was booked there. It looked new.
Thailand is twenty minutes away. I have to wait here for the others to catch up. Thailand and Myanmar require a travel agent to accompany a foreign registered vehicle. So to keep costs down diverse people line up their requests time ahead to go together. I had booked my intentions a year ahead.
Should be an experience, meeting bikers from different countries grouped together. Everyone was coming in tomorrow.
Malaysia would be remembered as a wonderful experience. Lot of fun, great touring, greater partying and last but not the least, riding with the Santana. A heady experience.
So I walked into a shamiana style restaurant. There didn’t seem anyone there. I spied the proprietor sleeping at a far corner table. Maybe she has earth sensors cause as I walked in, she got up. I looked around the food buffet to get an idea of whats cooking. It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. I knew that and all I wanted was a cup of tea. She knew that too and wasn’t looking for my business. She wanted to sleep. She put her head back on the round plastic picnic table and promptly went back to sleep. So, I walked up to her and as her earth sensors alerted her, she again got up and looked at me straight in the eye. Maybe challenging me to buy tea.
I asked for a cup of tea. I knew that in Malaysia, most such places keep tea on the boil for after meal consumption. She didn’t reply, thinking maybe I would fade away. I didn’t, and repeated it two times at one shot, so she gets up. A young boy materialised from somewhere and smilingly asked me what I want. She told him tea and went back to sleep. The young guy went to the tea kettle. I looked at her wondering how much billing would she get up for. Sensing me still standing there, she looked up, blushed and went to the tea kettle. She shooed the boy away and fussed over the kettle as if it was being served to Royalty. With a flourish, she gave it to the boy, who served me. I had my tea. It was delicious. Just like a long boiled-indian dhaba tea! I relished it and made a nice show that I had enjoyed it. I got up to pay. It was a Ringitt and twenty cents. I had the one Ringitt note, but not the change. I realised she would have to change my bigger notes. She looked at me, took the note, smiled and waved me away. Amazing, from not wanting to serve, to giving me a convenience discount of 20%
I am going back for dinner here. She deserves my business.
I will continue my diary after I come back.
So I’m back. Most roadside eateries had closed. I couldn’t find the afternoon one. I caught one eaterie closing down and I ran in to have the last plate of rice and curry. Next time hurry.