Friday, February 15, 2013

Exploring the deep south of The Riaus - Final Day, Karimun for 90 mins

Darren woke up feeling great! That set the tone for the whole day and we wasted no time to enjoy a hearty breakfast. One of the delights of Tg Batu is the excellent Chinese food available thanks to its size-able population of Teochew and Hakka migrants. Near our hotel each morning, there is a street with a row of shophouses that sells all the wonderful food like Chai Tau Kway (fried radish cake), Wanton Mee, Kuey Chap, Chicken Rice, Fishball Noodles, Soya Milk and so much more. The quality is second to none, and our breakfast for 4 costs us only US$5! If this is the only reason to come to Tg Batu, it is a very good reason.

Having filled our stomachs to the brim, we forced ourselves to head north, target - Urung some 20km away. We were glad that Darren recovered and could do the ride, though we took it easy, cruising at a leisurely 20-23km/h only. The journey to Urung was a very familiar one for me, having done this for the 3rd time. Quiet, flattish roads, passing by small friendly villages. One father on a scooter with his son in front, came alongside us for a bit of a morning chat. Such is the warmth of the kampong folks and we felt very honored with each wave and greetings we received from young kids to seniors.

The big pineapple greeted us at Urung and we veered right towards the jetty. Here, there is a ferry that goes to Tg Balai, Karimun. We spend some time soaking in the experience and ended up having morning tea and cakes in an old coffeeshop there. KC stopped to buy some dried anchovies and I got some too. They were delicious, and I should have gotten some more.

The weather started to get hotter and poor Darren struggled on as we made our way to Asam, some 25km away. Traffic was non-existent as we cut through the central north of Kundur, making for a very pleasant ride. It was a real blessing that the route was relatively shady. A real surprise was when we saw a wild deer. It ran across our path in all its splendour. We finally reached a provision shop in Asam and watered ourselves well with ice cold drinks. It felt really tough somehow and we took a long rest, feeling very concerned for Darren. We had hope it wasn't Malaria as one sign was the off and on fever.

After making sure Darren was well enough to carry on, we press on to the northern jetty of Selat Belia. We all seem to have our 2nd wind and rode briskly. Its amazing what a bit of rest and refreshments can do to revive our bodies.

Catching the hourly ferry to Karimun Island was a breeze and our timing was seemless. It was nice to be on the boat once again. The porters did a first class job of securing our foldies on the roof of the boat, all tied down safely.

We arrived at Karimun at about 1pm and that gave us plenty of time for a delicious Nasi Padang lunch at my favourite restaurant before we hopped on the 230pm ferry back to Harbourfront Singapore. The celebration lunch was fitting as we piled up the plates with all sorts of spicy dishes. It was sad that this was to be the last meal after such an amazing adventure in the Riaus.

But there will always be another time to come again, and something tells us that will be sooner than later. We comforted ourselves with that thought as we sat quietly in the Penguine Ferry back home, feeling a little despondent to be leaving bicycle paradise, and the great mateship we enjoyed over the last few days.

Photo credits - KC :)

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