Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hello Ang Moh! - the Swiss Motorcycle Traveller

Master Goh and Samantha often host overland travellers passing by Singapore. He would organise sharing sessions over cups of his home-brewed beer. Last year March, we had a session with Swiss traveller Jannick, (pronounced as Ya- nick) plus the regular aspiring world tourer and also Dr Philip Iau. He and his partner Dr Hartman are planning a ride from Singapore to Sweden to raise funds for breast cancer research and raise awareness in developing countries. Do check out their sites and blog.

Master Goh's African Twin, Hope Too and Jannick's African Twin met in South America during the round the world trip. It was Jannick's sister and now brother-in-law who were navigating the bike back then. Both couples spent memorable times as they travelled together for a few months. Jannick took the bike for his round-the-world trip after they returned. 

Before coming to Singapore, Jannick had travelled 32,000km, from Switzerland to Eastern Europe, cutting through, Mongolia to Vladivostok in Russia. From there, he shipped his bike to Bangkok, explored South East Asia, parked his bike in Samantha's place in Johore. There is a lot of hassle and cost to bring oversea registered vehicle into Singapore. All of the overland travellers I met, parked the bikes in Malaysia and came into Singapore by coach.


Beside sharing tips on bike technicality, we also discussed about the bureaucracy issues for overland travel - visas, Carnet de Passage etc. I will delved more into that in another post

Jannick shared with us an incident at Ukraine border. He was detained for possessing a hammer and axe, which was deemed a weapon.

The custom officers were giving him a hard time. Jannick was very down, on the brink of giving up his trip. He called home and was told, "These people are mostly likely to be doing the same job and making other people's lives difficult for the rest of their lives. But you are going to travel and see the rest of the world for the next 1 or 2 years. Why let them make you give up your trip?" 

So here Jannick was, in Singapore sharing his stories.

Later that evening, Cherie, Wei Jie and I bought Jannick to Arab Street for some Sheesha and bellydancing babes. He talked about his travel in South America and the very profane football commentator, about the Japan-imported motorcycles in Russia harboring radioactive substance from Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, users having to amputate their limbs as a result. 

The Singaporeans went on with our prattle on silly incidents at mechanic shop. Sometimes we got too carried away with speaking in our colloquial English and we had to repeat in proper English. For a moment, I realised the merit of "Speak Good English" campaign. Somehow, we started calling him Ang Moh and he started calling Cherie, CCB. 

We taught him well. In fact, too well! Months after he left Singapore, CCB still pops up in our chat greetings.

A few days later, Samantha invited us to her place for dinner as Jannick would be cooking Mexican food.


Jannick demostrating the art of cutting mushrooms.

Swiss cooking Mexican food with Chinese wok

The brilliant colours of the ingredients

Warming up the bread wraps

Sicilian salad, the most dangerous salad plus Guacamole on the top left.

Fillings for Fajitas



Jannick demostrating how to eat Fajitas
 
After his sojourn in Singapore, he travelled to Kuala Lumpur and then to Penang where he would ship his African Twin to Indonesia. We planned an impromptu trip to Malacca to send Jannick off. Samantha made arrangement for accommodation at Apa Kabar Home & Stay. However, there was only enough beds for three but they allowed us to camp at RM5 per pax, breakfast included. That was really a steal! Master Goh and Samantha brought their tents along.

We had lunch at Samantha's uncle's Penang Char Kuay Teow Stall and went to a shop to replace Jannick's tyres. Instead of taking the North-South Highway to Malacca, we took the slow and winding trunk road. We rode through the plantations, at the same time, scaring some cows, avoiding potholes and cow dungs.

Weather was not on our side, we met with a heavy downpour. As it was getting dark, we decided to use the highway again. At 9pm, we finally arrived at Apa Kaba.

Hope Too carrying new tyres for Jannick's African Twin




It was so hot and so.

Fully loaded and ready for the next adventure!
At Samantha's uncle's kuey teow stall.
Waiting for the rain to subside before we took the highway.
Finally, we arrived at Apa Kaba at 9pm.
It was very late and yet we were received warmly by the owners of Apa Kaba. Warmly was what we really need after a evening of riding in the rain. One of them passed us some cardboards to cover our seats as there are cats in the vicinity which may scratch them. After a quick shower and change into dry clothes, we made our way to Portuguese Village.

Back in the 16th century, Malacca was a Portuguese colony until the Dutch overthrew them. There are still a small community of Portuguese descendants living in Malacca. Over many generations of inter-marriages, they do not resemble the Caucasian we see these days. Very often, they get mistaken for Malays. In the core of their identity, they are still Portuguese, defined by the languages and traditions that are passed on for 500 years.

Samantha spoke of Papa Joe as a prominent figure in Malacca's Portuguese community. He owns a restaurant and pub and would sometimes perform with his guitar and sings Portuguese songs for tourist groups. After dinner, we drank at Papa Joe's pub. I guess we were the last patrons there.

The restaurant and pub were donned in colours of the Portugal flag. In the backdrop of the bar, a Portugal football fan scarf was conspicuously displayed. Papa Joe served us our beers before reclining on his chair. We chatted a bit and then he laid out a photo album on the bar. The photographs were of his many performances in Malaysia and overseas. He pointed out a photo that was taken with one of our late presidents.

"Do you recognise him?" asked Papa Joe.

"Hmmm.... "It took me a while to recall his name. "Our late president, Mr Wee Kim Wee."

He pointed another photo of him performing on a huge, rock concert-like stage.

"This was in Portugal. They were surprised to find out that there is still a community of Portuguese living in Malacca. I was invited to perform there. I spoke Portuguese there, everybody understood me."

"How did you all managed to preserve your language here? Even among the Chinese in Singapore, we are slowly losing it," I asked.

"Everybody in the family speaks in. My grandma speaks it."

It is very amazing how the Portuguese community managed to preserve their language and traditions for 500 years in Malacca. Their native roots are so strong that it has not yielded to the effect of cultural waning in the progress towards racial congruence. Back in Singapore, the younger generations are already losing the ability to speak dialect and even Chinese. It took less than a hundred years for that process.

Papa Joe usually do not perform just for anyone. After much wheedling and shoving the guitar into his arm, he relented. When he sang, it felt like we were in Portugal for while.

Impeccably chilled beer at Papa Joe's pub.
Me to Jannick: Whoa, you drank so many jugs of beer.
Jannick: It's ok. Hey, I am German.

Impostor Papa Goh in action

The real Papa Joe singing
The next morning, in the bright daylight, we were able to better appreciate Apa Kaba's rustic charm. Armed with my newly purchased Canon S100, I went around snapping photos.

Rise and shine
The entrance of Apa Kaba Home & Stay

Camping for only RM5 per pax



The ducks making their rounds in the morning




I think this oven is older than me



The little pavilion for guest to loll


We spent the afternoon lolling around. It was a bliss to be doing nothing. Jannick shared more travel tips and places to ship the bikes and of the two Korean girls on scooter he met in Russia. Then, it was time to send Jannick off. 


Adiós Ang Moh. I will see you again in Switzerland during my big trip.

Apa Kaba Homestay
Kampung Banda Kaba, 75000 Malacca, Malaysia ‎
+60 6-283 8196 ‎ 
http://www.apakaba.hostel.com



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Papa Joe Restaurant
18/B Lot 2, Medan Portuguese, 75050, Ujong Pasir, Melaka, 75050, Malaysia ‎
+60 6-284 3276 ‎

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