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May 23rd, 2011 | Asia

Goodbye to a Good Friend…

Early morning over Johor Bahru... The wind had blown away the storm clouds of the previous afternoon...

Rory had hosted me for more than a week, and being the great guy that he is, would have been happy to have me stay on for much longer…

But the open road was calling again, and I had to take leave of both Rory and Malaysia, or run the risk of settling in Johor Bahru for good…!!

During my stay, he had ensured that anything I needed was made available to me, and had often carted me around town to either show me the sights, have repairs down to my computer, and encourage me to try a myriad of Malaysian and Chinese dishes, all of which proved to be both tasty and interesting to say the least…!!

And during all this, he still managed to run his usual 100 kilometres a week…!! Getting up at dawn’s crack to pound the pavements of the city, while I was still in dreamland…

Trying to get him to see a psychiatrist to cure this unfortunate affliction, proved pointless… Despite encouraging him to eat more sweets and chocolates, and stocking his fridge with large quantities of them to entice him, he stuck to his vegetarian diet, and instead, got me to eat more fruit and vegetables than I had in a long time…!! Talk about a plan back-firing…!!

I enjoyed large quantities of his home made yoghurt with the many kinds of fruit that his overloaded fridge contained…

When we went shopping at the local market, we came home with bags of the stuff, and despite my doubts that we would be able to eat our way through it all, and much of it would go to waste, we managed to polish off kilos of mangos, bananas, papaya, mangosteens and apples…

He got me to try Jack Fruit, which once the segments have been separated from this huge fruit, proved to be quite tasty… The flesh has the consistency of dried apple, and tastes a bit like custard to me…

Rory’s secretary, Margaret, had heard that I had never tasted Durian before, and one morning arrived at work bearing one of these large prickly fruit… The sickly-sweet smell of Durian, hailed as the King of Fruit, tends to permeate everything it comes into contact with, so we cut it open outside Rory’s office, and removed the sticky segments from the outer shell…

The flesh has a very creamy texture and taste, but one segment was enough for me… It was so rich in taste, that I was unable to have another… Between Rory, Margaret and her two nieces, they managed to make light work of the remainder…

The Mangosteen - Queen of Fruits...!!

Once open, the juicy segments are revealed...

Mangosteens, for me, were another matter altogether… They are known locally as the Queen of Fruit, and after showing me how to open them without getting juice squirted all over my clothes (the stains are very difficult if not impossible to remove…) I set about eating my way through the large bag that Rory had bought…

The large white segments taste similar to Litchi’s, another favourite fruit of mine… One or two of the segments contain a soft, fleshy pip, while the remainder are free of any pips, and can be chewed and swallowed as is… Great taste, sweet and juicy…!!

Rory also managed to cook up a few killer spaghetti dishes, all of which went down very well with this pasta lover…!!

Once I had made up my mind to fly the bike to Indonesia, instead of risking a nervous breakdown trying to have it shipped, my long and pleasant days spent in Rory’s company were numbered… This morning, long before Rory woke from his slumbers, I had carted all my gear downstairs, loaded the Big Fella, and was prepared to ride to Kuala Lumpur… I had been greeted by dozens of people while loading the bike, many of which I had never met before, but clearly seemed to know a lot about the “guy with the Big Bike who was riding alone around the world”…

Before staring their cars and heading off to work, or to take children to school, people came over to wish me well when they saw me preparing the Big Fella for lift off… I have to admit that I get a kick out of the interest that people show in the bike and I, and always try to answer their questions and respond to them with pleasure…

I made myself a strong cup of coffee, while I waited for Rory to shake off the cobwebs, and then we went down to his office to say goodbye to Margaret, who incidentally shares a birthday with me…!!

Rory and Margaret prepare to bid me farewell...

That done, we took the lift down to the basement parking together for the last time…

We were a long way from the Wadi Rum Oasis in Jordan, where we had met exactly five months ago… I had fulfilled my promise to visit the man who I had bonded with on a lonely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day out in the windswept desert… Together we had made light of the bleak situation we had found ourselves in, and now that I have had an opportunity to spend more time with Rory, I am certain that I have once again added to my list of “Lifelong Friends” …

Rory poses with the Big Fella...

Under his quiet and unassuming exterior, beats a heart of gold…

Thank you Rory, for your hospitality, your generosity, and your friendship… Your tireless efforts to help me get the Big Fella to Indonesia will not be forgotten… And thanks for taking an interest in my health, and getting me to take those blood tests…!! (I think…!!)

Goodbye hug as I prepare to set off...

Now learn to ride a bike so that we can visit Namibia and South Africa together in 2013…!!

©GBWT 2011

6 comments to Goodbye to a Good Friend…

  • Charmz

    Thank you Rory for taking care of GB, and we are for ever grateful for the blood tests too, we know Ronnie would never do something like that on his own…!!

  • Mark Behr

    Good friend – amazing how many awesome people there are out there.

  • You know your friend, Mark Behr said it, it is amazing how many awesome people we meet around the world and i will be forever grateful for that! It has been the best part of our trip!

  • Rory

    You guys are a bit sentimental…Haha. Ronnie has been extremely good company and easy to get along with. I am sure he would find good friends wherever he goes. Chenty and Trevor are the same.

  • Gala and Amir

    Hi gypsy biker! It’s Gala and Amir the israeli couple from Phangan. Thanks for the photo. Take care, enjoy from the rest of the trip, best regards to the canadian couple

  • Hi there Gala…!! I was annoyed with myself when I could not remember your names to put in the caption of your photo, but can now correct that…!! Thanks for taking the time to tune in and comment… Hope you are safe and sound and enjoy the coming years together… Wish we had the time to get to know each other better… Will pass on your regards to Trevor and Chenty, who are now riding across southern Australia… R.

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