Thursday, 8 June 2017

Foldies Day Out (4 June 2017)

Making charcoal is NOT burning the wood
...but to remove the moisture from the wood...
...charcoal is the remaining carbon residue when water is removed from wood!
Mangrove trunks have to be debarked before they are arranged in the kilns
Inside a kiln made with at least 30,000 bricks
Goofing before rolling
Gearing up
Rolling on Iskandar Coastal Highway
Rolling on Iskandar Coastal Highway
Lebuh Kota Iskandar, turning off to Gelang Patah
Junction to Kg Sg Arang
Fighting for space with the lorries
Roads can be very bad!
Just by the nursery
Even foreigners frequent this place!
Foldie galore
Ladies galore!
River view
Note our support car in the background
Banana break
Guns and muscles?
With Pak Dollah
On the way to breakfast
Restoran Xing Ho
River view
River view

Arriving at Kg Simpang Arang, we were relieved the village is still pristine and untouched. Not a single tree is chopped, not a single brick is laid! Everything remains the same including the piles of rubbish along the road. 

This village differs from the many kampungs we frequent. Located at the river estuary along the coastal area, the Chinese and Malay lives in harmony with the Orang Asli of Temuan descent. Modern day, they no longer don their tribal clothings but it is easy to pick them out from the standard Malays.

Riding through the village, the smell of durian trees opposite the Muslim cemetery, permeates the air. Together with the hot weather comes the fruits season where we are spoilt for choice! Taking a closer scrutiny, the rambutans nearing the Chinese cemetery were turning a red hue; and the lime plus jackfruit, a sun kissed tinge of yellow!

At the end of the road are two charcoal factories that lay side by side. Entering the one straight ahead, we were greeted by the noise of heavy machinery. A forklift was busy lifting thin mangrove trunks onto the bed of a lorry. These will be used for constructions.

Parking our bikes at the fork of the road, we entered the muddy compound. A motorboat was just leaving the jetty with our young cherubic girl and her parents. The father, a worker of the kiln waved to Claudine as they left on their only mode of transport out of the village!

Hailing from Endau, Pak Dollah has been in this trade since 1965

Soon Pak Dollah appeared from the brightly painted office at the edge of the river. The Buddhist altar hung to the wall on brackets, gave the telltale signs of a Chinese ownership. As usual, he was eager to share with us the trade secrets to charcoal making.

Once we had had enough of this factory, we went to the adjacent unit which has a better river view. By the side of the gates were piles of neatly stacked timber remains, waiting to be picked up for sale as firewood. A man was lugging tree logs from his sampan to the riverbank. Watching his nimble walk, balancing himself on the bobbing boat with burden on his shoulder as he leaped across the waters, made our hearts skipped a beat! It was not easy as each log weighs at least 20-30 kg!!!

Hungry, we soon left the village, rolling past the Taoist temple and the surau which are located less than 50 meters from each other. Then, we rode parallel to the unassuming railway tracks, went under the railway bridge and were out of the village!

Riding past the nursery, our eyebrows automatically unfurrowed as we enjoyed the serenity and tranquility of the whole place. However, halfway through the palm oil estates, our eyebrows soon knitted again as we fought for passage with the dump trucks that plied the road all the way to Gelang Patah town. The highway is coming and together with it, comes development and gone will be the days of village life!

Click for a short video by Desmond Lai :
Charcoal Factory Tour 

A short detour to Legoland
Legoland Hotel
Friends from across the border
Friends from across the border

Photo credits :
1. KC
2. Desmond
3. David
4. Daniel

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