This is Kg Gumum, a tiny village largely inherited by the orang asli. A signboard by the lake edge erected by Pengarah Perikanan Negeri Pahang promised attractive activities for feeding the fish and to see various species of fishes.
But what we saw were various species of floating debris. Forget about the species of fishes. We had fish for dinner last night, but it was the specie from the sea!
And where are the lotus flowers that Tasek Chini is famous for?
To give some credit, the air was fresh. One do feel a sense of peace in this place. This would be a good place to laze, relax and unwind. But the 16 of us had another mission this day and we hoped for something better in Tasek Bera.
We made our way back for breakfast at Rajan Jone's Canteen. Perhaps I could fondly address RJ as Indiana Jones for he is actually an Indian who hailed from Seremban. He left what he termed as busy Seremban 3o years ago to settle down in the interior where I supposed he found his peace.
RJ is an example of someone who had adapted well to this environment. He spoke fluent English which would be an asset to his foreign tourists. He himself act as a guide for the jungle walks which includes overnight camping in the wild.
Here he was narrating his experience and his activities over our breakfast. He moaned the near death of the lotus due to the invasion of weeds and the construction of the dam. Several years ago, Ford Foundation granted him some grants to clean up the rivers that fed into the lake to increase the flow. I supposed one man could only do so much.
While we had breakfast, our very own strongman Puzi had a puncture. No Puzi did not puncture, his bike did. Puzi is a marathoner-cum-triathlete. He only had lean meat on his body, much to my envy! He rode his MTB (mountain bike) and on knobby tires and yet he is kilometres ahead. He is that strong!
Breakfast over, we posed for a group photo and then continued on for Tasek Bera. We bade our Rajan Jones goodbye and silently, I wished him all the best for Tasek Chini
Our first task was to tackle the rolling uphill. On our last leg here yesterday, we were enjoying the generous downhill to Rajan Jone's guest house. Today, we would be in the opposite direction. With breakfast and with hardly anytime to warm up, our hearts had to work on overdrive mode the moment we started pedalling.
This is the view looking down to Tasek Chini, down there in the background, and we rode from there.
We cycled to the main-road which was about 8kms away. Along the road lived the local orang asli, scattered along the stretch of the road. The children were aware of this foreign group of cyclists and were happy for this small distraction. They waved us through
From here we would branched off into Felda Terapai.
We did come across several laterite stretches and we put our focus literally on the tracks and roads as we negotiated the cowdungs. Yes, they were aplenty in this Felda scheme.
We cycled through Felda Terapai I and Felda Terapai III. At the border exiting Terapai III, a warong was our answer for a well-deserved lunch break. Though it drizzled on and off earlier, the sun was already out and it was a welcome stop. Don had a puncture just a short distance from the warong. How lucky could he be. First thing first, Don filled his stomach and later proceeded to replace his tube.
We later passed Felda Mayam and then we passed Felda Kumai. This huge "dragon fruit" caught my attention at the entrance of Felda Kumai. I supposed it symbolised the growing of this additional cash crop in this Felda scheme. We did not ride through these two Felda schemes as we were on the Federal road leading towards Bera town.
By my own reckoning, Tasek Bera would have been pretty close by now, perhaps 10kms away. However, as I turned into the junction pointing towards Tasek Bera, the signboard showed a cool 24kms to Tasek Bera. Everyone decided to stop for ice kacang and ice cendol at the warong at this junction. Some went for double helping.
This resort complex provides far greater comfort and have good facilities. Rooms are air-conditioned, it has a proper dining hall and we took the opportunity to spoil ourselves in some comfort.
I must not forget the evergreen ride leader Alauddin, who sang the evergreens of P. Ramlee and Broery Marantika.