Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The campfire.

The surrounding was very quiet.

You can only hear the nature – the insects and crickets. And of course the sound of water from both rivers on both sides of the campsite.

if only you can hear the sound
(shot using my compact pocket camera)

The air was fresh. I could even smell the freshness of the air. Cooling and pure.

Most of us were sitting around the campfire - like the Red Indians, like that-, to enjoy the heat. I like the smell of burning wood. Reminds me when we balik kampung to our grandma’s. Soothing.

I sat on the rock with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, a smoke and a camera
(other things matter anymore?)

Sometimes the burning bamboo cracked, quite loud that caused some of us to startle.

now I can relate the expression : older than the trees..

Uncle Meng, aged 54 year’s old. Despite his age, he is fitter than most of us – and quite talented too. Very sporting, he sang some songs too.

our little muhibbah "kampung" for one night before returning to KL to face the reality of racial politics.

He sang a couple of Chinese songs. He even asked me to sing Malay song. Too bad I was too shy. Since I didn't sing he decided to sing a Malay (Indonesian) song - Benci Tapi Rindu - Not bad this uncle!

my faithful trailer

And then I requested him to sing my favorite Chinese song - The Moon Represents My Heart by Teresa Teng. I was told Teresa Tang died in Chiang Mai Thailand and they still play the song there.

Good choice of song – we all sang along after that.

I like all my bikes. All of them. They serve their purposes well. And this one is no exception. Captured as if it was sent from heaven.

All of the campers were very nice people. Out of 23 people, there were only 2 Malays and I didn’t feel left out AT ALL (not that I care, but I just thought about this). This is what I like about people with the same passion. We just see each other as cycling buddies.

Back to Uncle Meng. As eccentric as he appeared to, he is actually a man with enormous achievement. This old bugger cycled from Beijing to Paris at the age of 51!!!! He covered continents over 17,000 km in 7 months.

solitude, a cup of coffee, fresh air, beautiful scenery. worth the long 18km off-road climb. Every each if it.

And the cost of cycling, everything included from Beijing to Paris (and he decided to cycle to London - oh well, after all to him it is just anther country. What London from Paris if you have cycled from Beijing) - is RM17,000. That's like RM1 per kilometer covered.

Hmmmm. Don't you find that interesting?

His stories covered cruelty, generosity, sexual, bribery, excitement and the list goes on and on and on. He even got molested by women and a MAN while camping by the Black Sea on the coast of Turkey.

When he told us about all these, he looked very natural, no ego or arrogant expression in his face. He seemed to enjoy and excited telling the same stories for over thousands of time. But the passion that he has in his eyes said it all.

ONE: He enjoyed every moment of his 17,000 km ride
TWO: He can tell the stories again and again but the excitement of telling the stories is there all the time as if it was still telling it for the FIRST TIME.
Do you know what I mean?

The sort of peaceful and calm definitely humble but the is an elegant winning face that he implies. Satisfied. Like, “Yeah!! I did it!!”

To me, Uncle Meng is almost like (OK may be not as sexy) that Branson bloke who bloody owns an airlines and an island, among others – of Malaysia.

I am very honored to have met Uncle Meng.

You must be wondering how he looks like. This is the great bugger:

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