Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Did we blend? No. Definitely Not.

January 12, 2013 was an amazing day.  Work colleague and I went for a little motorcycle ride, Singapore into Malaysia.  About 415 km, up to Mersing (for lunch) and back.  Two main themes:

1. Interesting ride ... followed by rain--monsoon rain.
This is a variation on a theme that we say in the electrical business: "Interesting test ... followed by fire."  Of course, we say that whenever a test goes horribly wrong.  Long story short, we were almost back (already back in Singapore), and then we got caught in the heaviest rain I've ever seen in my life.  The streets had three inches of running water on them--not just in puddles, but in the higher parts of the streets, just because there was so much water.  And the puddles we had to ride through were as much as 8-12 inches deep.  Cars would drive past us and our upper bodies were getting hit with water.  Didn't matter, though, everything we had was already sopping wet.  I'm still trying to dry out.

2. Did we blend?  No.  Definitely not.
This is a variation on all the "Will it blend?" videos on YouTube.  Simply put, we did not.  My co-worker and I are both 6' 3" white guys.  And one of us was riding a loud, shiny, Harley-Davidson (the other was riding a loud BMW).  Everybody was gawking at us.  Not obnoxiously, but on the highway people were driving forward with their heads sideways, focused squarely on us.  We were the big, loud, stereotypical Americans today--hey, those are the bikes I found to rent.  People don't (successfully) run motorcycle rental businesses by renting tiny motorcycles.

Maybe a third theme:

3. I had to go all the way to Malaysia to appreciate a Harley-Davidson.
Okay, don't be ridiculous, I certainly don't want to buy one.  Both of my bikes are WAY Better than the Harley (and WAY better than the BMW, by the way).  The Softail we had was nice, but it was a big wallowing pig in the turns.  More comfortable, in a way, than the BMW, but not for riding.  It's not really a good riding position, bad on the back.  Still, I can see why people like them.  Nice feel, nice sound.  And some people like being the center of attention.

We saw a lot of other stuff along the way.  Including monkeys by the side of the road, which was odd.  Very interesting day.

8:30a.  Already a HOT day.

The Harley ran out of gas a few miles south of Kluang.

 Couple pictures from the coast, in Mersing.

 Lunch in Mersing.  Cost was a little over $5 U.S. for lunch for both of us.

Interesting side note: I told my colleague where I rented the bikes.  He was a bit surprised that I didn't even realize that the motorcycle rental place was across the street from Orchard Towers.  Why is that special, you ask?  Well, it's the place that is well-known (by everybody except me, apparently) for being able to find any flavor of prostitute you might desire.  Wide open and all legal.  Singapore is an interesting place.  Extremely strict in some ways (the entry card you fill out says, "Warning Death For Drug Traffickers Under Singapore Law") and there is not one bit of trash on the streets, but then you have something like Orchard Towers.  Yes, I'm clueless about these things.

Click the link at the bottom of the map to see the (approximate) route we took.

View Larger Map