Distance - 84km
Weather - Very hot, humid
We didn't get up at 5am as we'd originally planned, but the sun was rising as we rode out of Muar, and having feasted on a breakfast of drinking yoghurt and chocalate muffins we were ready to go, if not yet wide awake. (Lately we've taken to drinking a lot of yoghurt in an effort to restore the balance of good bacteria in our stomachs.)
Our plan was to ride hard before it got too hot, stop in the middle of the day, and then ride again in the late afternoon when it cooled down.
Not long after we started we found a giant bicycle and bemo. It was strange, because it was seemingly in the middle of nowhere, not even on a main road. It made for some good photos though and an interesting break in the landscape.
Just before midday we realised we were really hungry. We'd eaten a chocolate muffin each and more yoghurt, but we were ready for some real food. Sam spotted a busy local restaraunt (local alfresco style) and we decided to follow the idea that if the locals go there, it must be good.
We were each given a plate of rice and led to the trays with steaming curries. We piled our plates with vegetables, chicken and what we suspect was goat. Although we'd been worried about how hot they would be, we were delighted that they were delicious and mild enough for our palates. If we lived there we'd go there all the time too! For two plates of curry, vegetables and rice (one each), an egg and two cans of drink we payed only fourteen Malaysian dollars, a bargain for such fantastic food.
We spent a lot of time during the middle of the day catching up on some things online (including working out the Lonely Planet blogger concept) and got back on the road with just a couple of hours before dark. We thought we'd get about 50km done but even though the road was flat, there was a terrible headwind that slowed us down. Plus, we had to keep stopping to check the GPS as we were in a section where the roads were not straight and didn't connect easily.
With twilight fast setting in we stopped at a bike shop in a fair size town to ask for directions to a hotel. At first they gave us directions to a hotel about 15km away near the beach, which was not only out of our way, but we suspected it would be expensive. We asked if they knew of any others and they said there was a hotel in town but that it wasn't very good. After chatting, asking us questions about our bikes and Australia and taking some photos with us, two of them escorted us to the hotel on their bikes, explained to the reception girl about our bike trip, shook our hands and left.
The hotel was expensive! The most expensive we've come across yet, except Singapore. And it was a dump. The rooms were dirty and the bathrooms dirtier. Plus there was a cat outside we suspected was dead, and Sam's prodding proved us correct. We debated staying there, but it was getting dark and our only option was to find somewhere to set up our tent. Shanna wasn't keen on the tent (I've become accustomed to having cold showers after a tough days cycling) and Sam was concerned we wouldn't get the sleep we needed in this humid weather without aircon. So we didn't have much choice. We managed to bargain RM$10 off the price of the room but it was still overpriced.
We ate KFC (it's a bargain here compared to Australia) for dinner and wished we were back at the curry house...
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia