October 10th, 2017
My body was already beginning to adjust to being on the bicycle all day, but I needed to find a way to protect my skin. I stopped to buy a hat at a convenience store, and this camo print sunhat with the neck protecting fabric really was my best option. I put it on under my helmet. I considered the pros and cons of the hat (pros being that it protects my face from being fried, cons being that it’s ugly and obstructs my peripheral vision). I decided to wear it.
My face was frying without the hat. With the hat, my head felt like it was baking.
I arrived to Tan’s Cyclist Home in Melaka, a beautiful new home that he opens up to cyclists. He took me out to dinner with his family, some family friends, and a bike touring couple from Holland and El Salvador. One of them has been traveling for more than 4 years now on a bicycle, and they both had great things to say about biking in Thailand, which was exciting!
After dinner Tan took the time to show me around the city. He explained how it’s changed a lot since being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. It seemed like every old building had been converted to a hotel, and there were stands selling souvenirs, and light up bikes blasting music everywhere. It was interesting to hear about the history of the place—how it was occupied by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, then the English, and for a short period, Japan. I later found out that it was Tan’s birthday, and he had still devoted much of his afternoon and evening to showing me around and helping me out.
I was alone in the big, empty cyclist home when I heard the news about Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins. I didn’t know Hayden well, and I’ve never met Inge, but my heart was so heavy hearing their story. From the sidelines, I’ve seen how much loss the alpinist community experiences every year. I don’t know how they’re able to cope with it.
A week before he died Hayden’s wrote about this in his local newspaper: http://eveningsends.com/the-day-we-sent-logical-progression/
“Over the last few years as I’ve watched too many friends go to the mountains only to never return, I’ve realized something painful. It’s not just the memorable summits and crux moves that are fleeting. Friends and climbing partners are fleeting, too. This is the painful reality of our sport, and I’m unsure what to make of it. Climbing is either a beautiful gift or a curse.” – Hayden Kennedy
As I continued on from Malacca the next day, all my thoughts were with Hayden, his family, and his friends.