Total Distance: 5,705 km
Distance in SE Asia: 476 km
Backsides out of 10 (bliss): Mike 7.5, Judy 7.0
Snakes as Road Kill: 8, Live: 1
|A wooden house on stilts - my memory is of a military
compound with rows of neat houses, geckos chasing insects
on the bedroom walls and a badminton court a short walk away.
The film’s still around but our parents are not, so those pictures remain one of life’s little mysteries.
|The museum was closed when we visited but the manager
ushered us into the grounds so we could take photos. He said it
was going to take a year and RM2m to repair the damage caused
by termites which had attacked the all wooden structure.
|Former Perak Sultan's home,
now the Royal Museum of
Mum, Dad, Chris and I lived first in Taiping, I have memories of a wooden house on stilts, and then in Ipoh – both towns which owed their existence and their wealth to the nearby tin mines. Now the tin has gone, and the towns are slowly fading, as Judy and I discovered while visiting them both while en route to Penang.
|Some of Taiping's old colonial buildings are holding up well
despite the passing of time. This one is used to house a
variety of local government offices.
I recognised nothing – no streets, no buildings, not a
thing. We made a few tentative inquiries of people we bumped into, but it was
more than 50 years ago and a woman in a tourist office just looked blankly when
we mentioned the emergency and the fight against the CTs. There’s still a big
military presence in Taiping, but the Brits and Aussies and Kiwis went decades
ago and the sentries on the gate looked far too young to ask. We found the officers’ mess, a comfortable
looking building, and hung around for a few minutes in the hope of talking to
someone. The outdoor tables were beautifully set, but the place was deserted
and we gave up.
|Other buildings haven't withstood the ravages of time - mould
and decay and eventual collapse.
Despite discovering nothing of relevance to that short period of my childhood, we enjoyed both towns. They seem quintessentially Malaysia, and after a few days on the road in SE Asia we felt comfortable poking around the markets, museums and eating at the hawkers’ stalls.
Notes from the Road – Ipoh to Penang
|Street scene - Taiping
Once you get used to the heat, humidity and thunderstorms, this is easy cycling. We stuck to Highway 1 pretty much all the way, and it’s flat with just one exception. North of the Perak royal town of Kuala Kangsar, there is one stretch of stiff uphill which probably lasts 20 minutes. At that point it runs parallel to and right alongside the E1 motorway. Highway 1 varies in traffic density, with some quiet patches but mostly it’s reasonably constant. The only issue we had was with trucks coming up behind us on narrow bridges - a mirror might be handy.
|Soft boiled eggs presented with a cup -
break them into the cup and drink.
|Yum.. mantis shrimp
|Soon after our arrival in Penang - enjoying a seafood lunch
with new friends.
|The grave of an unidentified
Indian soldier in the
Commonealth War Cemetery, Taiping.
|Taiping's undercover market - in a big, tin-roofed shed.