Posts Tagged ‘Selitut’


‘Hey! You’re the 3 people cycling from Europe to Australia to promote saving water and using less plastic bottles!’
We had stopped in a truckie’s stop in the palm oil plantations. ‘You’re on the radio.’ I have no idea where that all came from.
The now famous Europeans are living it up in a dormitory settlement ‘Home away from home,’ for the local aluminium smelter workers. Air-con, a canteen, a shower and a pub with pool and beer. This is the life!

Green desert outpost

Green desert outpost

Today we were caught unawares. The rolling hills through the Iban people’s lands with many long houses and lots of food and water opportunities was suddenly replaced with a freeway through endless palm oil plantations. Cycling through the undulating landscape in the blistering heat with no shade found us running out of water. There was only the occasional tin lean-to with a security guard and nothing else. A green, hot desert where once there was tropical forest. Google sattelite view is depressing. Rows and rows of orderly lines. Rows and rows forming blocks and blocks, covering the landscape from the hills to the shore, and one wide freeway, plied by palm oil trucks, snaking its way to infinity in the heat.

We were helped by a very kind man from South Africa, working at the South African magnesium smelter which is being built. Fleeing from South Africa for the safety of him and his family, we heard stories from South Africa to curdle the blood. We also heard about the magnesium smelter here, which will process South African raw materials using subsidised electricity from the Malaysian government. Situated in the middle of this hot, green desert, the smelter will join the aluminium smelter and the village made from air-conditioned container buildings for the workers.
Will and I enjoyed an evening in this place with a frontier atmosphere, dining on the canteen food, playing pool and drinking a beer in the air-conditioned bar. The night-time heat hits you like a hammer when you leave the air-conditioning, though. We asked ourselves, how did we cycle 100km in today’s 47C heat?

Pool in the miner's township

Pool in the miner’s township


Will and I have similar bodies regarding calorie and water requirements. In comparison Clement needs almost none of both. A lack of communications and an hour food stop resulted in everyone worrying about the other, and everyone being stressed. We covered some distance today, but it was a push.

The road

The road

We had an early morning tour of the garden of our lovely Iban friends in Tamin before setting off.

The jungle garden

The jungle garden

Yet again we have been welcomed by a lovely family in an Iban long house. They have been busily making balls from rice-flour which, we believe, can be used to make a rice alcoholic drink. These people have such lovely smiles and such warm hearts. I like the Iban people!

Rice balls

Rice balls

Iban family

Iban family