The end of the ride… back to the comfort…
After a few days of staying in my friend’s house in Aberdeen, I started to feel like home. I don’t know how to compare, but I guess many travellers feel the same way. After a long time being on the road, it feels like my body and my mind can’t differentiate between being at home and the foreign land. I feel so comfortable being on the road, I started to feel that the road is my real home now. Sometimes I have this fear, when I go back to my real home in Malaysia, I might feel weird and strange, like I will be a stranger in my own land. Im afraid that I will be soft again living the comfortable life once im back home. I will sleep in a nice proper bed with soft pillows, safely under a roof with very comfortable temperature. I will get use to the comfort to use an umbrella to cover myself under the heavy rain back home even to walk towards my car which is parked only some 30 meters away. All these while, Im so used to fighting the strong wind and fierce rain head on without knowing where to sleep when the sun starts hiding. Surely I miss many things back home, family and friends, ohh and the good food. Talking about food, I’m not being biased, but maybe because I’m Asian, I think Asian food is simply the best. It has its own characteristic. Its far from being dull, Asian food is always spicy, once it enters your mouth, every single nerve cells on your tongue is working hard, sending the signals to your brain, telling that its spicy and rich with taste, and your whole body started to react to it! Your eyes started to produce tears, the skin of your face turned red and you breathe faster, reacting to the spicy taste. Your body comes to life and active which will slowly shape your characteristic and behaviour. And one thing about Malaysia, we have different races living here. So imagine the result when the best of Chinese food, Malay food, Indian food, Thai and even Indonesian mixed together. It makes you spend more time in the kitchen rather than any other place! Right after you’re done with lunch, you’re actually looking forward for dinner!
When I was about to leave Aberdeen, I find it hard to say goodbye to them. They treated me so well and I felt like theyre my brothers and sisters. The last day of my ride in Scotland was from Aberdeen to Dundee, with the distance about 100km. But I’m not sure to say that it’s a ride. I find it more like to get from point A to point B. It was the worst ride for me in Scotland, even though I was riding under the clear sky and good weather. I took the wrong road, I took the busy road instead of the coastal road. Riding in a road that connects between 2 busy cities is not a good idea. Cars were moving fast, lorries passing by me so close as if they want to kill me. Instead of enjoying the ride, I had the fear of getting smashed by these fast vehicles. I only looked straight, concentrate on the road and forcing my legs to push the pedal really fast so that I can reach my destination early. I was riding as fast as 30km/hour with the strong headwind, lucky me the road was quite flat and only a few of easy climbs.
A few kilometres after Aberdeen, I reached Stoneheaven, a tourist attraction place where they have beautiful castle. I didn’t find it interesting at all to look at those bricks, so I stayed there only a while before decided to end the ride on the same day by taking train back to Glasgow. From here on, the ride wont be nice anymore. There are many big cities down here in the south of Scotland, so I decided to travel by train. It was Sunday and the train station in Stoneheaven was empty. Nobody was working there and I didn’t know how to purchase the train ticket. I then decided to cycle fast towards Dundee and take a train from there back to Glasgow.
I then reached Glasgow via train on the same day at night and cycled back to my friend’s house in Glasgow from the train station. One big difference I realized now is the weather. Once I ended my ride here in Scotland, the weather suddenly turned to be really good. The blue sky was really blue! I wonder where is the headwind that always making it hard for me to move forward all these while. Suddenly here in Glasgow, everything turned out to be so calm! My friends took me for a short hiking in the Loch Lomond area and it was great! Like I said before, once the clouds here giving ways for the sun to shine, Scotland really feel proud showing its natural beauty! I stayed a week in Glasgow and I had enough of it. The last few days when I was in Glasgow, my mind was all about my wife. I had been away from my family for too long now. My body was still in Scotland but my mind is already in Central Asia, deep inside between Tian Shan and the Pamir, with my wife.
I then flew back from Edinburgh via Turkey crossing back to the realm of Asia. The distance of thousands of kilometres which will take me months to cover with bicycle, only took me 11 hours to cover by flight. I realized the change of culture when I crossed into Turkey. Once I reach Ataturk Airport, people are getting aggressive unlike the smiley Scottish people. But I didn’t stay long there, only 2 hours to change the flight to get me to Manas Airport, the international gateway into Kyrgyzstan, home of the horselords! It feels good to be here again in Kyrgyzstan, the country with beautiful mountains and valleys and most unique culture and most beautiful girls in all of Soviet or maybe in the whole world! When I crossed into this land 2 years ago from Kazakh border, I was a complete foreigner, knowing nothing about this land and wondering where to sleep each night. Now its totally a different story. My Kyrgyz brothers were waiting for me at the airport. They don’t treat me like a foreigner anymore but like a very close family. The connection of brotherhood between me and these people of the mountains are strong here since I’m married to one of their sisters.
I will stop writing temporary for now, Im no more traveling for a while now. Even tho Im now in a country where I don’t really speak their language, but this is home. Im busy spending time with my family here, almost every day my Kyrgyz relatives will come to visit me. It feels great to be part of these people. For now, I have this fear of my next journey ahead. I will continue my journey somewhere on December/January due to the strict visa rules in the Schengen areas. By that time, its already winter and crossing into Arctic on winter is not something I can take lightly. But surely, I will face the cold head on. The Kyrgyz, theyre people of the mountains. Surely they can read the snow by its colors and patterns just like how some Malays who live in the jungle can predict dangers from the sound of birds and monkeys in the forest. I need to learn all these, in order to survive in the wild. The Kyrgyz will surely teach me all these. Sometimes, having fear is a good thing… it will make you prepare well. That’s all for now… peace upon all…