We had been in touch with a German couple, Sascha and Kerstin since we got into Malaysia. While we were in Singapore, we got a message from them that they were going to be heading to Indonesia on Wednesday. For bikers, shipping to Indonesia was posing a huge problem. Shipping in the first place is a pain in the ass…the crating, dealing with customs, dealing with agents etc etc. Nick and I had thought that Indonesia would be a straightforward process where we’d take a ferry and roll on and roll off without any need for crating. Turns out that a Mr. Lim that had taken most bikers motorcycles in his onion boat (literally was a vegetable boat) from Penang to Belawan (Indonesia) had been stopped by Indonesia customs since they felt they weren’t getting a piece of the pie. Mr. Lim is still able to take bikes from Malaysia to Indonesia but in crates, although he is still able to bring bikes from Indonesia to Malaysia without crating! This had us bikers in Malaysia scrambling to figure out what our options were. Except for us. We figured we’d not stress out and head up to Port Klang when we visit Kuala Lumpur and see what we could gather since we’d researched and heard about some leads there about ferries.
Our friend’s Kelvin and Michelle had kept our bike safe and sound for us at their house. We had planned to leave Johor after getting the bike but Kelvin would not let us leave! We ended up staying at their place and going out for a great Indian dinner. We had a good time chilling with them and were happy to make some new friends! After getting out of JB, we headed for Melaka. We had heard so many great things about the city—the culture, the architecture, the food etc. So we looked forward to visiting the place. We got there on Tuesday and met up Sascha and Kerstin, took care of laundry and all that good stuff. In the evening we find out the ferry that we were going to attempt to take on Thursday was leaving tomorrow morning. Nick and I were a bit thrown off since we had a package (goodies from the US) to pick up from Alex in KL and possibly get our visa for Indonesia done since we weren’t sure about the visa on arrival situation. After doing some math we figured if we leave Melaka at 4am we could beat the KL traffic and at least retrieve the package (as for the visa, we’ll see how it goes!) and get to Port Klang around 9am. Somehow we got up and left on time and got to Alex’s house. We felt terrible to just come and go and not see them properly. We got to Port Klang on time to meet Sascha, Kerstin, and Martin—another German biker who was touring Malaysia. The contact for the ferry showed up and met us at a warung (small restaurant). The first time I laid eyes on the guy I knew he was full of shit. His name was Nazurul and he had this arrogance about him. He acted as if he was the biggest high roller with the world at his command. Meeting him made me feel that I came all this way from India without paying a bribe, and this is who my money would be going to. After talking we realized that we would not be able to get a visa on arrival at the port in Indonesia, Tanjung Balai. Not to be confused with the Tanjung Balai close to Singapore where you CAN get a visa on arrival. So unfortunately our plans for Indonesia were put on hold. It ticked us off since we had so wanted to see Melaka and visit KL in the first place…Nazurul’s demeanor ticked me off further. After saying our ‘good byes’ and ‘good lucks’ to the Germans, we headed off to KL to sort out our visa.
KL was hot. We were tired. The line at the visa office was long…ughh! While in the line I saw a man walk in with full motorcycle gear along with a lady. I couldn’t see his face but a few seconds later I recognized Harry! The last time we saw Harry was when we were with Big Tom in Thailand. This time Harry was traveling with his girlfriend. We filled them in on the latest Indonesia news and caught up with each other. Eventually our turn came at the window and we were ‘greeted’ by the absolute bitchiest person I have encountered on this trip so far. She refused to give us our visa the same day since that was only possible if we had come at 10am. Except the thing is, we were here at 9:30am, waiting. Thank goodness for the glass between us because the heat, lack of sleep, and flashes of Nazurul’s face was getting the best of me. We later talked to another employee and he gave us an 80% guarantee that it would get done today. We figured that if it was Wednesday….what if a ferry comes up tomorrow or Monday even? In the meantime we found a place to stay in Chinatown but had a problem parking the bike. Low and behold we looked out from the door of the guest house and there right under our nose was a small, old Gurudwara. Nick ran across the street and talked to the Bhai Sahib and he allowed us to park the bike there since they locked the gate every night. After sorting that out, we went to Sunny Cycles to get a new rear tire (changed to Metzller Karoo II) and got our oil changed. We spent a long time talking to Sunny Oh about Leh/Ladakh and put him in touch with Anand from Indimotard, hopefully he decides to make a visit! The next few days in KL we were able to spend with Alex and his family and fellow BMW riders. We went to the Punjab Club for dinner with Alex, Allyson, & Edmund, did some sight seeing, saw the Petronas towers, went on a weekend ride to the Genting Highlands with the BMW crew, and ate as much Indian and Chinese food as possible. We were even lucky enough to catch aunties and old bibis strutting their stuff in a catwalk show set to the songs “Lak 28” and “I’m sexy and I know it” in the back of the Gurudwara! I know. It sounds crazy, but yes, it’s true. And my camera died, so sorry…no proof! All I can say is that we missed our Moms and families that moment…! It was surreal yet so much fun!
Soo we weren’t just stuffing our face, hanging out with friends, and chillin the whole time in KL…we made a couple of trips to Port Klang. We basically just walked right into the ferry entrance and a Tamil customs officer knew why we were there. He directed us to Hakim. Hakim seemed a teeny tiny more reliable than Nazurul since that jackass had his phone switched off and never answered any calls after the day we met him and after he told us he’d contact us. But all these jerks know each other. After giving Hakim some tough language (We’re Indian we know what you’re up to! Don’t think you can fool around with us! Not proud of it, but we invented the bakwaas you’re doing right now!) and basically busting up his cell phone, he told us the ferry was going to be leaving on Tuesday…oh! My 30th birthday! Let’s just say I never imagined my 30th birthday like this….
Thanks to Alex and his family and all of our new Malaysian friends for all they have done for us and for showing us great times in their country! We enjoyed it thoroughly and please know if you ever visit Texas, our home is open!