And before you wonder what did I do to get involved with police in Malaysia let me set the record straight. When I was there for Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012, we were traveling in a 30 car convoy and covering more than 1000 kilometers. The police escort was to keep us together and safe and probably others safe from us!
Initially when I got to know we were traveling under police escort I was intensely curious. After all this is the one and only time I experienced how it feels to break the traffic light the police told you to do so!
Initially I was hesitant about the presence of the police team, after all coming from India, I did not know how to interact with them. But as the days went by we started greeting each other, then asking them to pose with us and finally I even got food recommendations from them as well. Initially I also thought that having police with us was an extravagance with within a few hours of being on the road I realized that there was no other way to keep 30 cars together! So for those few days we were more used to jumping red lights rather than stopping at them!
I did not encounter a single pothole on the roads that I traveled. And once again we all from the Indian contingent marveled at it! The road to the villages would be narrow but still without any potholes.
But the police on the bikes had a tough job to do. Malaysia has a warm climate and I clicked this picture from my air conditioned car. But these gentlemen would be riding these beasts in the heat and managing traffic for us averaging 200 km or so per day. I thought they arrived very tired but when we would see them at the dinner again there would be no trace of visible fatigue.
I have to say that driving (OK in my case enjoying from the passenger seat, I only drove at Sepang F1 International Circuit) was great and traveling in a police escorted convoy certainly once in a life time experience!
A photo feature of my Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 shots is now up on the Rediff Getahead. I am also at the end of my Malaysia pictures. So it is almost time to travel again. Let us see when and where. Nothing fixed as of now.
For today’s skywatch I present two rainy day pictures from Malaysia. Of late I have developed a penchant to click pictures through car/bus windows when it is raining outside. That way sometimes I get interesting pictures!
If you search for Sultan Abdul Samad Mosque, Sepang, Malaysia on the net, you will find that it is a well photographed mosque. It is actually on the way from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Kuala Lumpur City. You can see it from the highway and I am sure like me, a lot of tourists would react by clicking a picture and sharing it on the net! This picture was clicked on our way to the hotel in Putrajaya. I had clicked the mosque on my previous visit to Kuala Lumpur as well but I find this picture more interesting because of the raindrops.
This picture also has a Sepang connection. We were traveling to the Sepang F1 International Circuit when I spotted rain and a participant of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 by the window. And I thought they made a pretty picture!
I otherwise do not like rainy days too much if I am looking to shoot pictures as the gery skies make it so difficult to take any decent pictures. But I now realize that shooting through the window of a vehicle with raindrops on it sometimes can save the day!
For more skies from around the world please visit the Skywatch Page.
Guess what did we do after driving at the Sepang International Circuit? We went cycling at Putrajaya in Malaysia. It had been ages since I went cycling and I was wondering if I would be able to cycle again! But I did fine. Cycling is one activity that everyone can identify with, the bruises sustained while learning to ride, the kindly person who taught us how to cycle or the joys and the mobility it offered once we mastered it.
When I was growing up we didn’t had the cycles kids learn on these days. My daughter for example has a small cycle with two extra wheels so balancing is not a problem for her. I learned on a cycle with just two wheels. And it was a cousin (who used to stay with us) who taught me cycling. I didn’t fall while learning but I did get a few cuts and bruises after I learned. I also used to bicycle to school after 6th standard. I learned cycling when I was in 4th standard. The floodgate of memories one simple event can open! And in my days there was no concept of helmet while cycling, I suspect in my small town no one still wears a helmet while cycling.
I used to have a cycle even when I shifted to Gurgaon and sometimes I would go to market on it. In one of my jobs, I used to cycle to the bus stop and chain it to a tree. I remember coming back one day to find that I had just chained the tree and not the cycle but no one took it away. That was the last I had a cycle.
So coming back to cycling around Putrajaya I was not sure how I will fare. I even thought that I would not do it if there were more Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 participants and less number of cycles. But that was not the case at all. So I found myself in middle of a big bunch of cyclists. My cycle had gears, adjustable seat and I was wearing a helmet this time.
We were escorted by the police team till we were on the main roads but once we came on the cycling/walking track we could go as we liked.
The cycling/walking track was well maintained. It was largely flat and went just a little bit of uphill and downhill. I did change gears to go uphill. The path was largely empty with a few walkers sitting around and enjoying the view. There was one guy who was practicing complicated dance moves (like they do in street dancing sequences) and was all concentration.
Soon we would cycle less and click more pictures!
The local cyclists who were assisting us on this day took us through a few short cuts as well. The path goes around the lake with plenty of rest stops. I initially did not take my camera out. But after a while I decided that I can cycle with the camera around my neck.
There was a point on this trip where we could see a lot of birds. I could spot egrets and yellow billed storks quite easily. There was another group of large birds that looked familiar but I could not place it. I was told that they were purple herons and what graceful creatures they are. After this bird spotting point we headed back to the bus and our hotel at Putrajaya.
I don’t think I will ever spend a day again where I get to drive around a car at a F1 circuit and then cycle in the same day!