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Escape from Alcatraz (Without a Passport)

27 Oct 2011

We reached the docks of Butterworth just in time to witness our metal steed being unloaded from the “Golden Lestari”, the leaky freighter responsible for its transport across the Straits of Malacca.

The 'Golden' Lestari

The crew - always on the ball

Upon inspecting our vehicle, it turned out that most of the petrol had magically disappeared, along with our spanners, screwdrivers and a Cambodia Trust sticker.

Instead, the storage space of our rickshaw now featured a grubby water bottle and some food leftovers in an advanced state of decomposition, undoubtedly placed there as a compensation for this vile theft.

The other teams endured comparable degrees of hardship. We saw one rickshaw with its engine missing. Another one was held together entirely by duct tape.

Preparing the epoxy

Repairing the rickshaw

The 'shaw with stickers from our new friends at BFM Radio

Before setting off

After the entire convoy of rickshaws was repaired and tested, a rather dictatorial police unit escorted us to Kuala Perlis, where we spent the night.

Ready to begin again

Our police escorts

Travelling in convoy

Stuff that broke down: windshield wiper

28 Oct 2011

Despite a rather nerve-wrecking passage through the limestone hills of northern Perlis, the road from Kuala Perlis to the Wang Kelian border crossing was easily navigable.

The Thai/M'sian border

At this border crossing, we caught up with some of the other teams and their ravaged rickshaws. Xin Hui’s family also came along and brought us sticky rice, bananas and my passport that I foolishly forgot.

Xin Hui takes a break atop the 'shaw

The Tom Hoogervorst Fan Club in Wang Kelian

The roads on the Thai side of the border were relatively good, albeit with large holes at regular intervals, which, according to Xin Hui, substituted speed bumps in their functionality. Nothing quite as atrocious as the infernal roads of Sumatra, though.

We made it to Trang without the help of a pick-up truck, which is quite a feat at this stage of the Rickshaw Run.

In fact, our rickshaw is in the most horrendous state imaginable, not being able to start without people having to push it and equipped with a gear stick that leads its own turbulent life.

Will this piece of junk get us to the finish line at Ao Nang (near the city of Krabi)? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update!

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