21st May 2023
Today didn’t start off very promising with low clouds, rain and thunder but as the morning progressed the weather cleared to a warm, sunny afternoon.
Because of the possibility of rain we first drove to the Charcoal Factory at Kuala Sepetang. It appears that you are just allowed to wander round freely. It was interesting to watch one person loading 40kg logs into the kiln, carrying them from stacks of them outside to neatly fill the kiln with several thousand of them, each standing on a brick. He must have the stamina of an ox.
The entrance to the adjacent kiln was being being bricked up in preparation for firing.
The kilns take a month to complete their work, about a fortnight of firing, then sealed up to finish the job for another fortnight. The charcoal is exported to Japan. The wood arrives by boat along a narrow tidal creek, it is Mango tree hard wood from plantation timber approximately 30 years old.
We learned all this from a Chinese fella in one of the factories (factories is a bit of misnomer they are just giant blackened sheds). He was saying that he is no longer a guide and just does odd jobs because he doesn’t speak Mandarin only English, his dialect and Bahasa, the modern Chinese kids don’t want to learn many languages and dialects any more so they only learn Mandarin.
After visiting the factories we drive to the fishing village for food.
Talking to the lady in the shop she organised a boat trip to see the Eagles and the fish farm just for the two of us. It was only an hour and we saw lots of the Eagles swooping on the fish stirred up by the boat as well as holding a baby puffer fish. I was very pleased with it, most boat trips last far too long, it only cost RM60 ($20)
Driving back to Taiping we headed for the Taiping Lake Gardens where we parked and spent a few hours exploring before returning to the hotel pretty worn out. In the park you could hire bicycles, tandems as well as pedal boats on the lake.