Abundance, that seems to sprout in spurts as if it were an erupting volcano, but it spits… life. Pure life that in so many different green colours, was difficult for our eyes to get used, to this new scenary: the rain forest. An endless succession of, water, flowers, trees, plants, entangled in other, rising together to the sky.
The passage from the Tibetan plateau to the Malayan tropical paradise has been so drastic, that even after 4 or 5 days of pedaling, we were still unable to believe what he saw, still eyes asked us to blink a little faster to clarify sight and be sure that it was not a mirage that had there before. After a few days, the senses were finally, normalizing what they received.Our conscious, our thinking mind, was aware of the problems with the Chinese that led us to having to fly and travel nearly 4000 kms to fall suddenly in the tropics, as well, as who falls into a swimming pool. When we walked down the plane we mentioned the unnatural and even insane, the drastical change that is to travel in so fast transports that make you land on the other side of the world just in a few hours.
We are so use to a progressive change,to go tasting and discovering little by little, feeling, seeing, smelling the differences one by one. This buffet os new things was almost indigestible for us.
In Kuala Lumpur (capital of Malaysia) Akmar and his sister Amalina welcomed us into his home-bikes shop in a so open and natural way that was like being in our own workshop. Yes, there, in the workshop of the shop we slept next to Maria and Zigor who arrived with 4 bikes and all the bags, after a couple of days of our landing. With all stuff rescued by our friends at the “Chinese kidnapping attempt” we could not be in a better place than in the workshop of a bike shop to put everything together, and so we did.
We headed towards inland with the intention of knowing the farmland of tea, which are located up in the mountains, and in the first days were realizing of how much we had to relax and transform the customs we had in the high planes of Tibet.
Every day, we were discovering new needs, new situations that required solutions: strong heat, extreme humidity, mosquitoes… all this did change our routine and we began to get up before dawn, to take advantage of the cool morning to advance before the hottest hours make us to stop or to slow down.
The threat of rain has been something that has also motivated us to jump away from the bed when still is dark.. Now is monsoon season, but here in Malaysia this monsoon is very light and regular that many times remind to us those days in Ethiopia that the rain started every single day at 1 p.m and lasted until night.. In the same way, this Malaysian monsoon seems to have schedules with such precision that leads me to think that it has to be a guy well occupied, with a schedule so tight that it can´t change plans, or transform it´s routines.
It´s punctuality, the Mr. Monzón´s one, made us easier pedaling and with getting up early we have advanced. At the same time we try to skip the downpours which falls in such a way, that in a minute we could be totally wet unless we find a roof where to take refuge. This one, a roof, has been another of our changes.
At night the dowpours falls everyday, and knowing that our priority has benn to sleep under a roof. That has led us to approach every day to the people, to ask for a place, and this has made us to sleep in churches, mosques, with the police,
with firefighters and even gave us a very special moment in which he could celebrate with the Chinese community, the celebration which we had been hearing about the “moon -cakes festival”, a small round sweet with wihch (we were told) were used to get rid of the Tatar people. It seems that the Tatars were so afraid the Chinese rebellion, that the chinesse were not allowed have anything that could be used as a weapon, to the point that many families were sharing one knife for cooking. They did, coinciding with the 8th moon of the lunar calendar (which claim to be brighter than any other), the chinesse handed out the moon-cakes to everyone, inside a message was hidden in which proposed a day, an hour, a moment so people get out and use whatever they could reveale against the Tartars and they did so. That way was how they got to get rid of them.
-This is the example – told us our friend when she told us the history – thisnis the remembrance, that all together we can go far, but has to be, well, all together.
It is strange, isn´t it? that being in Malaysia I write about the Chinese festivals. But malaysia is like that, a country populated by a variety of people, races and tribes so different among themselves that is surprising us greatly. Malays formed by a multitude of tribes, Chinese, Hindus, Christians and Muslims, Buddhists and animists, a seeded country of mosques and Catholic, Orthodox, churches that are mixed with Hindu temples and Gurdwaras of the sicks and everyone, everyone seems to live in harmony.
This diversity and mix, not only has been enjoying our eyes but also our palate. In Malaysia street food is cheap, that for us is more economic to eat at restaurants than to buy and cook ourselves, so, with so much choice of different styles and flavors, each meal has been a special moment try and savor, discover new things so delicious, normally so spicys, and is, with the exception of Chinese food, so hot and spicy that again it makes us sweat, to be totally wet again. Constantly wet, day and night, the only thing that changes is what keeps us wet: sweat, rain, showers which we have had every night, and swet, and rain and sweat, and always wet.
Malaysia, a country of smiles, joy and color. There is only one thing which made us sad. The palm plantations at first seemed impressive and even beautiful that in some areas, occupying everything around us, the green, the exotic and the surprising thing about the monoculture had captivated us, but soon that became almost sickly and we realized the destructive aspect: the jungle had disappeared entirely and just surrounded us Palm trees.
A type of Palm tree that only give benefits their fruit, from which is removed waht is more a poison than other things: Palm oil. A type of oil used in the worldwide today and the half of the products that are sold in the supermarkets contain it, an oil that begins to destroy since planted because first the jungle has to be destroid to plant it, (which sadly we could perceive in each pedal stroke) and finally it destrois to whom consume it. Because it has high concentration of malignant fatty acids that make it dangerous for human consumption..To see how they burn and cut all the forest to get economic benefits for a few, is something that transforms and makes again rethink the world of consumption, that bubble where few people live on the rest of the world, on nature, on ….
What to consume?,make difference to the world if i by this or that?… one day, I confess, I thought that one person could not change the world, but today, we have in clearly in front of our eyes the same world, telling us that the sum of few “one person” are destroying it.
The beauty, the life, the freshness and the abundance of jungle, converted into numbers in the bank account of any bussines man and… thanks to who?… yes, thanks to us who are ultimately those who consume.