How do you describe the feeling?! Your bike is going in a crate and is about to leave the country! All the months of planning, Paul’s meticulous paperwork (lots of spreadsheets!), modifications to the bike and gear, saying goodbye so many times – all of a sudden we are leaving and the emotion is overwhelming! We’ve done organised tours with bikes overseas but taking your own is a whole different kettle of fish! Our crates are very large so they don’t remove the front wheel – they just tilt our handlebars, remove the screen and mirrors and start loading all our panniers around it. Suddenly we are left with very little to carry and the lid is going on…gulp – this is it!!
The last farewell with Sarah and Jamie at the airport – hang on – it’s the kids that go away like this – not the parents!! The checkin chick at Malaysian Airlines asks to see our itinerary – we smile at each other and hand it over – enjoying her reaction. Sighting our plane at the gate at the same time as the two bikes are being lifted into the side front of the aircraft – such a neat feeling knowing they are under us as we wing our way out of Australia.
It doesn’t get light in KL until after 7am but we decide to go straight to freight after landing and see if we can get the bikes. We don’t know the procedure and all the blogs tell us different things. We luck in at the airport as we take a limo taxi with an English-speaking, very patient, driver on board who negotiates to stay with us. What an asset he turns out to be due to the distance between each procedure. After getting a day pass for the freight area we head up to MAS Kargo and find our matching waybill paperwork – yay! The next eight hours are spent going backwards and forwards to counters, assembling our bikes on the dock floor, sneaking petrol in under the taxi’s front seats to top our empty bikes up, more checkpoints and the next minute we are hurtling down the freeway towards one of the great cities of the world! Five lanes of packed traffic all going at 110kmh – bring it on!
KL is like an old friend for us, warm and welcoming – Paul worked here for fifteen months. The Malays are so lovely, non-aggressive and obliging. I love watching their hands when they point and do things – it’s a cultural difference that I always seem to notice! Our friends here have found us a guest house which is just great and $20 each per night including wifi and undercover parking for the bikes. The boys all come round to touch base and the next day Feizal comes and escorts us to his house where we finally meet his wife and three boys for tea. Malays eat five times a day – breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper – everyone is always eating! Our “tea” is Malay style with many different dishes. Curry puffs, satays and peanut sauce, noodles, fresh vegetables and fruits, little cakes of compressed rice, chilli sauces. I especially enjoyed this tiny sweet cake called Kuih Bakar – local leaves make it green on the inside with the consistency of a firm cheesecake and sesame seeds were on top – it was delicious! This was all washed down with a sweet root beer. The oldest boy loved showing me his drawings. The afternoon storms are regular, loud and make everything nice and cool again.
Pete and Tili arrive tonight from Melbourne. They have shipped their bikes so will be delayed getting away from KL. Mark arrives tomorrow from Brisbane and his bike is already at the airport. Paul will ride out to meet him and assist with procedures.
So we are poised ready to start our journey north – Kerry Koala has found her spot – let the adventure begin…