By Stephen Ewashkiw | May 27, 2014

14,506 km so far.

I was awoken at 2:00am by a great shaking. The bed, the walls, it seemed the whole world was vibrating. Also, there was a lot of… bouncing? And yelling? Wait, that didn’t seem right. I’ve never heard an earthquake yell before.

It turns out it was just a group of young men who are staying on our floor, who’d decided that the rest of the world, or at least those of us sleeping in the hotel, didn’t matter.

Grr. Argh.

Later That Night

To add to my annoyance, other people, presumably part of the same group, then returned to their room above us, and my best guess in that they started jumping on the bed, and then off the bed, onto the floor. Repeatedly. This, as well as causing our room to shake, made, not surprisingly, a very loud THUMP.

Jane often sleeps with earplugs, so she slept right through it all. How the vibrations didn’t wake her I can’t fathom.

I lay there, hoping the guys in our hallway would go to bed, but they insisted on running between rooms, slamming doors, and yelling at each other. So, eventually, I got up, opened my door, and told them, quite politely, that we were trying to sleep and it would be nice if they could be quiet. One of them apologised, and I went back to bed.

Incredibly they quieted down fairly quickly, and despite our upstairs neighbours not getting the It’s Bedtime memo, I managed to get back to sleep.

Sorry We Are Close

Thankfully we had already decided to take today off and see a bit of Ipoh (pronounced ee-poe), hoping to finally kick our colds and prepare for our big day of riding tomorrow, up to the Cameron Highlands.

We walked around town, saw some old colonial buildings, as well as endless alleyways of Chinese shophouses.

street in ipoh malaysia

Watching the girls go by, Ipoh.

There is street art of all shapes and sizes…

mailboxes in ipoh malaysia

I wish the blue one said “A Chip”.

…and the alleys provide shade from the constant sunshine, making it positively pleasant to wander around.

Ipoh is a bit like George Town, but without the sea. Plus it is several times larger.

There is a flourishing cafe scene in Ipoh.

Cold filtered coffee, in Ipoh.

Cold filtered coffee, in Ipoh.

Sadly, many of the cool cafes we tried to go to today were firmly shut.

This is something we have noticed a lot in Malaysia. For no apparent reason, shops, restaurants, and cafes are closed. Midday, midweek, any old time, without a sign saying why, or when/if they will re-open. It is frustrating, and I can’t imagine what it must be like if you live here.

Maybe this is why Malaysians seem to be terrible drivers. They are just venting their frustration at having found their favourite restaurant closed.


As we settled in for the night, our upstairs neighbours came back home, and again began jumping around their room. Jane hadn’t really believed my description of the sounds they made during the night last night, but apologised for doubting me when she heard it for herself tonight.

We finally got to sleep, but then around 1:30am there was another bout of shaking and yelling, right outside our door. After laying there trying to ignore it, hoping it would stop, I finally gave in and opened the door.

There, right outside our door, were 3 adults and 3 small girls, about 4 years old. At 1:30 in the morning. I just looked at them, said nothing, and one if them said, “Oh, sorry”. Then turned to the girls, and said, “Shh”. I am pretty sure it wasn’t the little girls making all the racket. I closed the door without saying a word and went back to bed.

Not long after, they managed to find the resolve to be quiet.

Unfortunately for me, our alarm is set for 6:30am and we have 2000m of climbing a mountain ahead of us. Wish me luck.  

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Kimberly

    Kimberly May 29, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Good luck. Sleep is my best “medicine” so I can only imagine the challenge of finding the momentum to hill climb while bleary-eyed.

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