Day 12: Jertih

I rode 122km today. I was only intending to ride 105km but my back wheel burst so I had to patch it as best as I could and sporadically pump it for 17km until I got to the nearest bike shop.

I had a lot of time to think today. I do most days, it’s a natural symptom of being alone, but today in particular because I spent five hours just chugging down the highway with only a few hollers to interrupt my thought.

It has been quite lonely so far. Most of the people I meet have good enough English to have a friendly conversation but topics beyond where I come from, why I’m on this trip and what I think of Malaysia can be quite jarring. With the exception of my night with Farhan and his housemates I haven’t been able to share anything with anyone. I thought a lot today about how a companion would have changed my trip and my attitude. A lot of amazing things have happened and it’s hard for me to define those experiences alone. For most of my life I’ve relied on the story creation that comes with companionship to understand and enjoy my experience. Without anyone with me to laugh at my shitty hotel rooms and how dirty I am I don’t end up laughing at all. It’s like my experience has been covered in a thin cloth – I can still hear and feel everything but it’s all a bit softer and less visceral.

Writing this blog has helped me feel connected but there is still something missing. I’m not suggesting I’m not enjoying my experience, just that it is a regret that I have no one to share it with.

My usual routine when I arrive in a new town:
First I visit every hotel I can find (sometimes even the fancy ones with clean foyers and nice views) until I get a good deal. I then lock my bike up, go straight to my room and take all my clothes off. Usually I just lie down for twenty minutes either doing nothing or reading and then I wash myself. I hang out naked in my room reading emails and making notes of what happened in the day. When I’m suitably primed for snack I explore the town. I only put my clothes on when I absolutely have to, and then I free ball anyway, it’s too hot for underpants.

Today the my ride finished in Jertih, a average looking highway town surrounded by beautiful rice fields. My usual routine went pretty quickly because 122km of riding makes you pretty hungry. I’ve found it hard to get a hold of snacks in Malaysia, most things worth eating are usually meal sized and most hawker stalls aren’t set up for takeaway. So usually I just eat two dinners.

My exploration of Jertih today was the opposite of what I usually find. After searching three blocks on both sides the only food I found was a KFC, a Pizza Hut and an overpriced Chinese seafood restaurant. Usually I would be choosing between a sea of invitingly cheap restaurants and hawker stalls. After a taxing day, this wasn’t the kind of stress I needed. I was about ready to crawl into my bed and have a indulgent weep when I luckily took a wrong turn and discovered what can only be described as snack land.

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It seems all of Jertih’s food is centralised in this amazing air-hanger like bazaar and strangely, unlike most other Malaysian cities I’ve been to, everything is served snacksize. I was so excited by all the treats and meats I ended up having dinner anyway.

Now that I’m back in my hotel room writing this (naked), all I can think about is going back.

What does Superman’s weenus feel like? Is it elastic and scrotummy like ours, or is it tough and stuck to his elbow like affectionate steel lump?

I wish I knew more song lyrics. I sing a lot on the road but I never get passed the first verse or the chorus. Today I sung Everlasting Love, I Want You Back, Unknown Brother, Ghost Town and the Pokemon theme song.

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7 thoughts on “Day 12: Jertih

  1. This is so great! Just had a long trawl through your posts. Wonderful stuff! Excited for what’s next. Interesting about the loneliness, maybe your blog can be the simpatico best friend you can tell err’ting to.

  2. love that description of travelling alone. and the odd thoughts that come into a mind not distracted by conversation.

  3. I’m so glad you’re writing this it is completely fantastic. I can’t believe you rode 122 km or whatever it was. The most I ever rode was 65km in one day and that was far. That sounds like a normal day for you.

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