A Malaysian in Macapá: Charity, motorbikes, and unexpected friendships in Brazil

Malaysian biker plants trees & meets kind strangers

08 Jul 2024 01:02pm
Kaitravan, who hails from Melaka, began his journey in January 2023 and has now crossed 44 countries, each offering unique landscapes and enriching encounters. Photo credit: Katiravan Subarayan/Facebook
Kaitravan, who hails from Melaka, began his journey in January 2023 and has now crossed 44 countries, each offering unique landscapes and enriching encounters. Photo credit: Katiravan Subarayan/Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR - Katiravan Subrayan’s journey across the globe so far has been nothing short of extraordinary, marked by incredible experiences, new friendships, and a profound connection with diverse cultures.

The biker who hails from Melaka, began his journey in January 2023 and has now crossed 44 countries, each offering unique landscapes and enriching encounters. He is now in Brazil, the largest country in the Latin American continent.

From the warmth of the Venezuelans to the rich cultural heritage of Suriname, Katiravan has immersed himself in local customs and traditions, proudly representing Malaysia wherever he goes. His arrival at various destinations is eagerly anticipated by local biker groups, whose significant roles in their respective communities had deeply impressed Katiravan.

When Bernama last spoke with Katiravan, he was departing Venezuela which he described as his favourite country on the journey so far despite the negative publicity surrounding the nation.

Travelling on his BMW R 1200cc GSA motorcycle, nicknamed Parameswara, he has since passed through Guyana and arrived in Paramaribo, the capital city of the Republic of Suriname.

In Suriname, a small country on the northeastern coast of South America with just over 640,000 citizens, Katiravan met friendly locals Denis and Santia.

They treated him to the country’s local cuisines and shared insights about Suriname's diverse population, which includes many Indo-Surinamese people whose ancestors hail from India. Hinduism is the most practised religion, followed by Christianity and Islam.

During his five-day stay in Suriname, Katiravan planted two trees as part of his mission to spread environmental awareness and promote Malaysia.

Next, he ventured to French Guiana, his 43rd country, where he coincidently witnessed the Olympic flame for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games being carried through Cayenne, the capital.

In Cayenne, Katiravan found the hotel prices to be a bit steep for his taste. Despite opting for a single room at a guest house, he paid €64 per night, equivalent to RM325.

"On June 10, I headed to Brazil, travelling from Cayenne to Oiapoque in Brazil’s northern state of Amapá.

"The 200-kilometre journey was on a very secluded yet well-maintained road flanked by forests on both sides, with very few vehicles and no shops along the way," he said.

In Oiapoque, Katiravan met Helinton Joias, who was introduced by his Brazilian friend only known as Alex.

Helinton and Alex helped him set up a new SIM card for use in Brazil and took him on a tour of the area. Katiravan then travelled 282 kilometres south through off-road conditions due to heavy rainfall to reach the city of Macapá.

In Macapá, a group of Brazilian friends showed him an area with old World War II trucks and military tanks left by the United States (US) Army.

On June 12, they planted the first tree in Brazil, a 'Palmeira Açai,' making it the 82nd tree Katiravan has planted in his mission to spread environmental awareness.

During his time in Macapá, he met resident Abintes who took him out for lunch and arranged for an interview on a local radio station to discuss his journey across the world. Katiravan also visited the Sacaca Museum and the Macapá Zoo.

Katiravan also learnt of the significant roles played by local bikers within their communities.

"Later, I met Jeorge, a local biker from Macapá, who invited me to a biker's charity function. He picked me up from my hotel with 20 other bikers escorting us," he said.

At the charity function, Katiravan met hundreds of local bikers from various clubs. The event raised money for a woman named Girlane, aged 35, who was involved in an accident in November 2023.

"The bikers from Macapá gathered together, donated by buying food and drinks, and set up a fundraiser to pay for her treatment.

"It just shows how united and helpful Brazilian bikers are to their community members, which makes me proud to know them," he said.

On June 16, Katiravan visited Curicaca with three new biker friends, who treated him to lunch on his last day in Macapá before heading to Belém the next day.

In Macapá, Katiravan said he had a wonderful time with the local friends and bikers he met. They were exceptionally friendly and helpful, defying his initial expectations of Brazilians.

The warmth and kindness of the people he encountered left a lasting impression on him. He greatly enjoyed their company and appreciated the beautiful places they showed him in Macapá.

His friends in Macapá came to bid him farewell at the ferry terminal, which he found touching as it was a working day.

On June 18, Katiravan reached Belém, the capital of the state of Pará, Brazil, after a 24-hour ferry ride along the Amazon River from Macapá accompanied by his friend Abintes.

As he continues his travels through Brazil and beyond, Katiravan remains driven by his passion for exploration and his desire to promote Malaysia on the world stage.

His encounters with people from various walks of life have reinforced his belief in the kindness and generosity that exist across borders.

Each interaction, from sharing meals with locals to participating in community events, has enriched his journey and highlighted the universal values of compassion and solidarity.

As Katiravan continues to ride Parameswara across new horizons, he remains a proud ambassador of Malaysia bridging cultures and fostering mutual understanding. - BERNAMA