As we rolled our bikes for a photo shoot, the most relaxed rider would be Sham (extreme right) in his orange batek t-shirt with matching beach short and the Japanese slipper. He made the rest of us felt over-dressed for this final leg. Minus the helmet and the panniers, he could easily be mistaken for a local cycling to the pasar.
From afar, the landmark at Tok Bali had to be the curved bridge spanning the river. From a small unknown fishing village, Tok Bali had been developed as a major fishing port for Kelantan and had seen growth over the years. It is also a major take-off point for holiday makers going to Pulau Perhentian. Tok Bali therefore now rivals Merang as a jetty to Pulau Perhentian.
We arrived a bit early and we could not find any warong to stop for a drink. We road to the "muka kuala" for a breathtaking view of the sea and a few photo shoots. There was an unmanned drink stall and fresh coconuts but there was no owner. We waited in vain and decided to move on.
We noticed this motorised bicycle, stored in a toilet. Whenever I see a motorised bicycle, I will remember my good friend in KL. No name mentioned, but he now owned a Surly tourer, just like mine. It was a daunting task to convert him to cycling. He had said that if ever he took up cycling, it would be on a bicycle like this one. Bu that was history. Soon, he will be a full-fledge tourer.
We said goodbye to Tok Bali and proceeded on towards Bachok, through Kampong Melawi. We stopped at a warong in Melawi where we had our drinks. For me it was "Sarsaparilla", a drink locally bottled in Kelantan. Lest you have wild ideas, it is not a carbon-copy of the alcohol laced Tequila from Mexico. It is actually Sarsi.
This drink used to be our drinks in our teenage years. The fact that it has survived the onslaught of Cokes and Pepsis, perhaps speaks volumes about Kelantanese with their own cliquish taste. It was also after this that Fendi and Jalil scooted off leaving us behind. I was wondering whether both of them had an overdose of Sarsaparilla.
They scooted off at their folly! They missed the junction to Bachok and headed straight towards Kg Gunong. We took the correct turn into Bachok, passed Pantai Irama and headed on towards Wakaf Aik.
5 kms outside Bachok, we waited for our lost brothers. We relaxed at this wakaf in a Siamese village.
Kelantan is where 1Malaysia example abound. This Siamese village is right smack in a Malay community.
A huge standing statue of Buddha can be seen from quite a distance.
If the Siamese here speak Malay, no one will bet an eyelid that they are Siamese. Don't be surprised if they too have Malay names. That's assimilation. Do they lose their identity? No! Thats 1Malaysia for you.
I still have 1 bayi classmate who speaks Kelantanese Malay. Lucky thing he is a modern bayi without turban. One would fell off the chair to hear a turbaned bayi "kecek Kelate". And I still have many close friends from my school days in Tumpat who are Chinese and Indians. We see no color, nor religion.
We waited for Fendi and Jalil to catch up then we peloton on in single file, now in a very disciplined way with yours truly leading the peloton. I already know where I will take them for lunch.
We passed Wakaf Aik, crossed the single-file rickety "Ghetok Tok Guru" in Pulau Melaka and soon in Jalan Padang Tembak, Pengkalan Chepa. We stopped for lunch at Restoran Cik Gu, a very popular lunch stop.
We were slightly past lunch time and I was worried that the famous deep-fried Ikan Keli would be gone. We looked glutton, and indeed we were! No one remembered even to take any shots of either the food or of ourselves diving into the food. Damage was a measly RM47 for 6 hungry cyclists and we had a lavish spread.
Hotel Impiana in Jalan Pengkalan Chepa was only 5 kms away and we reached our final stop in good time. With two rooms @ RM90 triple-sharing with 2 queen-size beds, we were ready to retire from our 3-day cycling.
The dinner was already decided at Restoran Yatis, that famous nasi kerabu and ayam percik restaurant. After such a heavy meal, Zaba was still craving for Durian (mabe he was pregnant!) and Razak called his contact. We were soon at the night Pasar Borong in Wakaf Che Yeh.
Following day was a relaxed day and time to pack our bikes for the trip back to KL.
Well done BJCC Tourers. Till we do it again...very soon!