‘Few more weeks before back to reality’, he said.
‘Let’s do a road trip; Lets go to one of the islands before you leave’.
24 hours from the time Fabien landed I found myself in the driver’s seat heading southeast to Mersing. As much as I loathe driving, long distance driving is something I do enjoy, especially when my I have my partner in crime. Having the perfect twin to execute mischief is something I miss.
*Tioman is an island just off the border of Johor. Although it falls under the Pahang jurisdiction, to get here you have to get to the small town of Mersing in Johor.
*Yes, Malaysian do love their food, and yes, we do sometimes talk about them 24/7.
The rest stops have fruit stalls that normally sell seasonal fruits in abundance and they can be cheap. From mangoes to mangoseteen, and guavas to the famous stinky-lord-of-all-fruit Durian, if its in season, you’ll definitely see them being sold.
We stopped at a few, loading up the car with fruits to eat on the drive down.
*It was great having an external arm constantly feeding me as I drove.
The GPS calculated that we should be there in 5 hours or less, but with the multiple stops… 5 hours stretched out to 6. From cityscape to tropical forest to mountain range, the backdrop changed. In the midst of all this, someone was busy playing musical seats in the car.
*Also someone had a rather nice long nap as I drove… (video here, courtesy of Fabien)
A few hours later we got off the highway and hit the small town of Kluang. After a few wrong turns, we were back on track…
*GPS went a bit nuts and froze on us
Soon the little town was far behind and we reached single lane country road. To get to Mersing you’d have to drive through a palm oil plantation. This particular ride was interesting… and it couldn’t get any better than this!
*Did I mention that it’s rather fun having a personal disc jockey in the car?
Speed limit signs… almost non-existent but if you’re wise enough, you would not want to speed as these roads are winding. More than anything I drove a little slower hoping that I spot a Tapir or an Elephant.
*I got very excited when I saw the first sign indicating drivers to watch out for Tapirs. A few meters later it was a sign for Elephants. As much as I hoped to see one, I knew it was a long shot as Tapirs are normally active during the night and Elephants… I could only hope.
The one thing they forgot was to add to the list of signs were ‘Snake Crossing’ and ‘Monitor Lizard Crossing’ as they seem to be the ones crossing the road more often, especially at night.
*On our drive back during the night, (there are no street lights in these plantations) seeing something looking like a little gator crossing the road can be a bit of a heart stopper. Plus seeing something from a far looking like a thick piece of rubber tubing, and finally realising you just drove over (key word here is over. No animal was hurt) a snake isn’t exactly pleasant either.
It was one long drive as half the time we were stuck behind a very slow moving truck carrying palm oil kernels, and to over take them… you might want to wait till you get to a long straight road, which is this case is rather rare.
Having said that, driving through palm oil plantations are rather interesting as you will never know what you’ll come across.
*Young palm oil trees do look like large pineapple growing out of the ground.
Just like that, the plantation opened up to a small town; Mersing.
As I parked the car and got my bags, it hit me… this marks the last road trip of the year with the Frenchie.
To the next road trip Frenchie… and this time in your hood!
From Kuala Lumpur you would have to get onto the Kuala Lumpur – Seremban highway then onto the North-South highway. You’ll exit at Ayer Hitam before making your way past Kluang Town and then to Mersing. There are other routes to getting to Mersing but this one the one we took and it rather fun.