Tuesday, January 5, 2010


DAY 2 (2 Jan 2010)

Mornings in lush vegetations are always cold, very cold. No difference at this Rajan Jone's Guest house. Going to the shower is always a challenge. The first bucket of cold water is the toughest. But once over, you feel good, fresh and ready to tackle the day ahead of you.

On this day 2, we would leave Tasek Chini and head for Tasek Bera. Alauddin had with him the map of Pahang, bought sometimes in the 90's! We had relied on this map and got us to Tasek Chini. Today, we planned to detour through a Felda scheme. Alauddin argued that there should be roads within the maze of the Felda scheme that would lead us to Tasek Bera. Yesterday, Alauddin had asked some locals who confirmed of such route through Felda Terapai.

Everyone was ready at 7:30 and our first stop was at Rajan Jones canteen for breakfast. The view of the lake is visible from here. But what a view. Let me rephrase, what a sad view.

The jetty was the focal point of this part of Tasek Chini. It showed signs of neglect. Parts of the ballustrades were gone and some of the timber walkways were rotting or totally missing.

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
and even offered a high 5 which some of us obliged.

We decided to relax at the junction leading to the main road. A clean warong was pretty inviting and some desired a "refill" of the earlier breakfast. We were also waiting for our marathon man Puzi who had a second puncture. We left Tasek Chini at 8:30 and we only left this junction at 10:30. There was no sense of urgency and there was really no reason to hurry.

Our next destination was to reach the junction at Felda Terapai, which we did about 2 hours later. By then we had clocked 31kms.

From here we would branched off into Felda Terapai.

Permission was granted to ride through the Felda scheme.

This section of the ride offers a fresh change of scenery. We could not expect good roads within the scheme and for most of us on comparatively fat tyres, it would pose little problem. We did expect some shades as we meandered through the matured oil palms.

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.

Regretfully though, I missed the chance of capturing a stampede of cows which cut across the road from the oilpalms. Aliyah was ahead of me. There were about 80 - 100 cows which stampeded across. We were both transfixed and neither of us had the photgrapher's instinct of a great moment.

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.

Exiting Felda Terapai III, we were back on the Federal road and there were rolling hills too. By now, we were accustomed to the rolls of the roads.

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.

Ride leader Alauddin called the Tasek Bera resort to confirm our arrival and more importantly, to pre-book dinner with main menu of GULAI IKAN PATIN MASAK TEMPOYAK. Everyone was within hearing distance of his conversation and it was a great motivating statement to put our butts back onto the saddles.

This we did with much gutso but it was still a cool 20plus kilometres of rolling hills. The very last stretch of 4 kms were some short killer hills before we finally arrived.
Overall there were more rolling hills on this Day 2 compared to Day 1 though less steep except for the very last leg.

Waiting for us at the resort were 2 other cyclists, Loke and Pauline who rode from Temerloh a day earlier. This was their second night at Tasek Bera.

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 arrived at about 5:15pm and the odometer clocked 94kms.
Everyone was looking forward to the most important program for the night. After a generous washup, we were ready to do justice to the food laid down on the table.

Lucky thing I took this shot before the dinner. The moment we sat down, no one thought of capturing ourselves enjoying the Ikan Patin and several other fresh water species that were prepared in the gulai tempoyak. We were too immersed in our food!

To wrap up a really fantastic riding day and a really sumptous dinner, we had our very own karaoke kings to entertain us.

I was literally shocked when veteran Boh belted A. Rahman Hassan's "TAK MENGAPA" and A. Halim's "SALAM MESRA". Where on earth did he master lagu-lagu 60an. If he is a Kelantanese Chinese, I would be less terkejut. His dictions were perfect.

Don told me Boh was a favorite during PCC outings in the pasts. I agreed whole-heartedly.

I must not forget the evergreen ride leader Alauddin, who sang the evergreens of P. Ramlee and Broery Marantika.

The rest of the riders were just happy listening to our own talents. However, later Pauline came forward and did a duet with Boh of that famous Celine Dion's Titanic song.

And for the sake of my name, I had to lend a few songs too. Unfortunately the collection of cd's were very melancholic and slow numbers and we did have a tough time flipping the covers to find some faster numbers to prevent our colleagues from dozing off.

Nearing 10pm, I bade those still at the hall good-night as I made my way back to my 3-bedded room. Boh was still serenading in the background.


Don said...

Tuan SURamLY,

It wasnt me snoring lar. Was Aliah nxt door ... or, was it our other neighbor Steve? Actually hard to say coz walls were thin plywood mah.

Fyi lah, I dun snore ;)


ARZ said...

Hei Don,

How do you know you did not snore, you were asleep and I wasn't :-)

Anyway, I find comfort and solace with you as room-mate...so ok la

And thanks for the newly coined name

June Malik said...

love the blog and pictures .. the trees actually depicted a horse on its hind legs and the bukit reminds me of my 15k run !!

Acid said...

Been a long time I since logged to your blog, My laptop went busted with the address added to it as well lah.

It nice to see your adventures here, nice pictures make me miss my tour cycling moments. Time is the crucial factor holding me back to redo cycling tours. Though every sat and sunday morning I would cycle alone for a good 30 km and imagine myself doing tours again.


pishyue said...

Hi, do you have the contact details for Rajan Jones Guest House? Would love to visit tks!

ARZ said...

Hi Pishyue,

Hope you are reading this again. Can't ctc U direct to give you the number.

Rajan Jones 017-9135089