Subterranean? Is that an English word? My first glance at that word reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You know: SUBmerged TERRApins.. Alright, alright. It’s a bad joke but good jokes were never my forte.
Now, back to subterranean. “Subterranean” according to the world’s greatest dictionary, Wikipedia, refers to something underground. It could also mean a song by David Bowie, Bob Dylan or Radiohead or some obscure English band. You will never get such definitions in Oxford, Webster’s or Oxster…you get the drift. Wiki rocks.
Now, I would not normally refer a cave as subterranean because to me, a cave is a hole in a mountainside. A cave is also where ancient Chinese swordsmen typically gets trapped when an avalanche of rocks seals off the only passage out, somehow finds himself some sort of long lost secret kungfu manual of a powerful martial arts sect and blows the cave apart after mastering the moves in the manual, thereby freeing himself and commits himself to either commit the worst devilry or be the ancient Chinese version of Superman.
Riding some 500km to a cave in Ipoh to find kungfu therapy is the closest thing modern swordsmen riding iron horses can do to emulate the swordsmen of lore. Modern horsemen are also very lucky to be able to catch up on some snooze and load up on Macdonald’s midway through the tough all nighter journey up to Ipoh. I’m sure our swordsmen of lore are turning in their graves, thinking to themselves: “back in our times, we pack buns and drink lake water stored in water gourds.” Let’s just say, we learn from experience.
Although only 300km into the journey, the weary travellers were more than delighted with their pick of hamburgers, nasi briyani and hot drinks. After all, the build up of energy must start now as the arduous trek through the ancient cave is only a couple of hours away.
As the misty clouds near the cave dissipates in the morning light, the level of activity heats up as we ditched our protective riding gear for one meant for crawling in dark, dank and wet spaces. The anticipation builds as we twist, turn, climb and slide our way deeper and deeper into the bowels of nature. Along the way, boys laugh at phallic statues of nature’s doing while the girls giggle. How degrading. I was very sure our trapped ancestors sat on top of them meditating while gathering enough qi to blow the cave apart.
Then, came the crawling in flooded spaces. Lacking the skills to walk through these rocks, us mere mortals can only hope to walk through in the quickest possible time. Some wise guy then thought that rolling was a pretty good idea since you won’t get bruised elbows. We concurred…and away we rolled through the cave.
By the time we were done, it was nearly 3 hours since we first stepped on. We did not find any manuals nor did we get trapped in the cave. Instead, we got a weird sense of satisfaction when we overcame our fear of height, tight spaces, snakes and yes, spiders, as we trekked, slide, crawled and rolled our way through the cavernous cave of Gua Tempurung. The final treat was a cool water Jacuzzi before we greet the warm rays of the sun again.
The ride to the hotel couldn’t come sooner as lunch at the cave was starting to get set into our stomachs. But the sleep couldn’t come just yet as we scouted around for a sauna. Alas, the hotel was in a semi state of renovations and the much anticipated spa treat did not happen but we did settle for a nice dip in the pool, basking in the glaring, glorious sun. A much preferred contrast to the slithering in the bowels of earth earlier in the morning.
Dinner at Hotel Impiana, Ipoh, was always going to be a greatly anticipated fare for those who have been here before on Kruzer rides. Boasting one of the better food fares in our travels, a wide range of food, desserts and drinks awaits us in a private area for the club. The late evening saw some travelling out to Ipoh’s night markets while the rest lounge around in the hotel’s new bar. A dreamy night ends a packed yet satisfying day once again.
The morning mist did nothing to cool the temperatures in the afternoon. By the time we were ready to leave at 12pm, the sun was at its scorching, piercing best. First stop, Kellie’s Castle, an anomaly sitting in the middle of Malaysia’s plantations. Abandoned by an European settler early last century, the uncompleted show of opulence became an “attraction” of sorts for the locals. (Wiki it – you’ll find some interesting accounts there)
With the heat bearing unrelentingly on us and the motorcycles, it was prescient of Isaac to plan for a cool off at a waterfall nearby. Snaking through dirt trails and “barely there” roads, locals were wide-eyed, staring at the convoy of foreign looking bikes invading their local haunt. This was probably one of the rare times foreigners came on their own accord. One quick survey of the waterfall later, the guys stripped down and jumped straight into the ice-cool waters of the waterfall. So refreshing were the waters that we didn’t want to leave until the sun makes its descent.
As quick as the day zoomed past, we made a quick stop-over at Cliff’s in Malacca for our dinner fix. No day can end well without a nice cool bottle of beer (Kenny’s End of Day theorem) and the hearty meal certainly topped it all off!