Malaysia - The mystical country of people living on trees and pushing in at the counter – Part Two

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Whoa mates,

I’m exhausted now. What a freaking long post about the rest of my trip through Malaysia. But finally its done now. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I visited this country. One thing in advance: Nobody here lives on Trees. But it is a bit mystical and the people really push in everywhere they can. Not only at the counter.

Cheers Jakob

 

Bye bye KL hello Pulau Penang - 12.9

Last night I changed rooms because of the air conditioning. And then within that room I swapped again because of these fucking bed bugs. So this morning I expected problems checking out. Honest as I am I told them. Usually you have to pay the “upgrade” but here they just said no problems. There was nothing like a good breakfast worth eating and I still didn’t feel too well. So in essence I went to the Pudi bus station and just hopped into a bus going to Butterworth. From there I had to take the boat to get onto the Island (Pulau) Penang. I have no clue why not one bus is going directly there, there is a bridge.

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The bus ride felt long. 5h with a lunch break at some place in between with Indian food. I was craving for some western food. Subway or something. Every know and then when you take long rides you pass accidents here. I think in my whole life I didn’t see as many as here. This time somebody was lying motionless on the ground next to a pretty damaged scooter at a street crossing. He must have turned into the same road we did. We just drove around him. Nobody seemed to care that this man is probably dead. Every time I see that I think about never riding a scooter again. But it is just too much fun.

IMG_2545In Butterworth the bus stopped suddenly. No boat, no water, no signs in sight but we had to get out. I took my backpacks and asked the driver where is the ferry to Georgetown on Penang. Stressed he pointed into the direction the other guys where walking already to so I followed and ended up at the real bus terminal. I have no idea why he didn’t dropped us there. Another short walk onto the jetty paying 0.25€ for the 20 min ride with the car/passenger ferry over to Georgetown,

 

 

 

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IMG_2549Then I hopped into the free shuttle bus (thanks world heritage status) and asked the driver where my hostel is and if he can drop me of there. Sure he can Smiley. When we passed bye he shouted:”there” and continued to the next bus stop 200 m further. How nice is that. I knew the hostel Red Inn Court is nice. The internet is always right. But again I was positively surprised. The rooms where cozy had good beds, ac, lockers … and the receptionists are friendly. What else can a backpacker ask for? Breakfast maybe. It’s also included Only problem, nobody is here. My 4 bed share so far blessed with emptiness and the rest of the location anything but busy. Maybe later.

 

Like I said before I was craving for some western food. And when I went with the last free public bus I did see Subways at the central bus stop in Georgetown. I know it is a shame not eating the delicious local food. On my way there I passed bye all these nice stalls and open food kitchen where a meal is round about 4-5 Ringgit (1€) until I arrived at the central bus stop and in the small mall to get a chicken teriyaki foot long for 20 Ringgit (around 5€). Almost as expensive as it is at home. I could have eat local with this money for around 3-4 days. How silly is that, but I just cant stand it at the moment and it was necessary. Every now and then some bread, cold cuts, cheese …. I’m just too German. After my hunger was satisfied I walked around for a while and on my way back to the hostel, when I went into a shop to get some coated nuts and coke, I bumped into the two Chinese girls Cici and Jenny from Melaka again. And what a funny and just random coincidence. We didn’t talk much but I wouldn’t wonder when we soon bump into each other again. They can pronounce the r by the way.

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My first impression of Penang is it is completely different than what I expected. I thought its more of a nice island with beaches, less crowded, laid back …. Its not. It is more of an industrialized islands with a lot of nice old buildings but also heaps of shitty ugly normal ones. But in general it looks nice. As everywhere in Malaysia so far its obvious they have some serious issues with their health system and bad ass poverty here. Everywhere you go you see people in every age with weird diseases, crippled legs and arms, bended spines, no feet or hands at all and bad teeth. They are begging for some donations cause they have no other choice. When I compare that to our country even the poorest homeless dude is rich. I mean in Germany they do it by choice. Because they don’t wanna get a free paid flat. They prefer to live on the street. Here in Malaysia they do it cause if not they starve to death or die because of their diseases.

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In the evening I met my roommate. A friendly and nice but a bit strange American with the most perfect Oxford English pronunciation I’ve ever heard in my young age. His occupation almost obvious. He taught English in Indonesia. And he complained about all the other untrained teachers out there with no degree and no knowledge about how to teach or how to speak a proper English the British way. We talked a bit about the usual introduction crap, where we are from, what we do, where we have been and where we go after …. Even though everybody know it is like that its hard to break out of this procedure.

 

 

Sightseeing on Penang - 13.9.2012

I woke up early. I had so much to do, to see, to visit … ahh fuck it, I won’t lie here. I woke up late for no reason, had the leftovers for breakfast around 11 and tried to find the bus to the famous Kek-Lok-Si temple. I went into across the bus stop where I supposed to wait to buy something to drink and oh wonder Smiley bumped again into Cici and Jenny. both packed with their luggage coming from downstairs. They seemed to have checked in down there somewhere. But it wasn’t too good cause they moved out already to another accommodation I concluded. They wanted to do the same stuff I wanted today so we had a loose schedule where to catch up.

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IMG_2557But for the moment I took the bus alone to the temple and drove for a while through the neighborhoods, small streets, food places, living areas … until I arrived at the last stop. On the hill I already did see the huge temple, so no point in loose my way there. In the beginning I had to pass a lot of food stalls then some stairs, shitloads of stalls in the only alley leading up to the temple selling shitloads of shit until I arrived at somewhat like the entrance with a tiny pond filled with shitloads of turtles bumping into each other and a tiny bit of water. Sickos. Who does that.

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IMG_2560Further up I had to pass a main entry hall, all free admission, with more stalls selling Hindu stuff (I won’t use shit in this instance to not offend anybody) and a vegetarian restaurant. Everything in there seemed to be somehow a bit fake. But no prejudice. Leaving the main hall I reached the nicer part of the temple. The temple area itself. No commerce from now on. Wicked. The gardens where nice with their fountain shaped like a mini temple itself, all the nice carved hedges and bushes around and the buildings with these typical Chinese tiled roofs curved at the end. And from everywhere the view open to this big white pagoda looking like Walt Disney designed it himself. It looked like out of Arabian Nights (1001 Nacht).

 

 

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IMG_2567When I continued my tour I couldn’t get around noticing also here the swastikas everywhere on the chest of the statues. Still as weird as it was in Bali. As usual it was hot as and I tried to avoid stairs whenever possible. What a happy coincidence here they have a lift lifting you up to the big monumental statue further up the complex. I bought a one way ticket knowing climbing down will be much more fun. The statue did look from below already freakin’ huge. But from up there in the right scope the eye can compare the surrounding environment like scaffolding and cars … a little bit better and far out, its massive. As well as the monumental guarding building around it. They could have fit in an even bigger statue here. And I am sure they will.

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IMG_2597From up there I had a good view down town. But it will be better on Penang Hill later. Here on top they had a few more temples and sacrifice places with a few people sacrificing something from the shops up here. Yes correct. There are more shops up here ran buy Buddhist people selling religious stuff or just fruits or scented candles for the believing crowd who is up here praying to their gods. Very interesting. As expected the temple is not old at all. Its from 1890. I always expect temples to be old. Really old and nowhere near as old as usual apartment buildings. Like in Bali with their 1000 year old stone made ones. It looked nice so I have enjoyed that.

 

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IMG_2635Now I walked from up there back down to where I came from, rested a bit on the bench in the inner courtyard and in the end left this place at all back down ignoring the trader and passing the food stalls heading directly to the place where the Penang Cable Railway is. On the way there I stopped to buy a phone DDI card for cheaper calls to Germany and New Zealand in one of the few phone shops.after trying it on my ongoing way I headed back cause it didn’t work. At least an hour it took until I left the store the second time wasting my valuable time in there. Just to find out it works with any phone but mine. Thanks Steve Jobs. I also tried to use the widely spread public pay phones. But thanks to whomever in Malaysia ripped all the handsets off the cord. Probably a good way to support the mobile phones industry. So I gave up on that and just kept on walking to the cable car station to get up the hill where its supposed to be some degrees cooler then down here.

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IMG_2637The ride up the hill had its price. 30 Ringgit up and down the hill is around what you pay for one night in a good hostel here. But for my currency NZD/€ affordable enough to not miss out. This small train took us in around 10 minutes up to 800 meters and 5° less then on sea level. So chilly 27°. I went around for a shooting session and walking tour around the walk able spots. The view was great for the circumstance that you always have a relative high humidity and allowed to see the two bridges (one was just build and should be finished by now), the ferry I took from the mainland and the whole Pulau Penang with its numerous salient high rising concrete blocks. But also the other side of the island with its nature reservoir.

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IMG_2666They even had monkeys up there Smiley. They where less naughty and socialized (or better unsocialized) than the one in the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. The seemed to be wild and scared of other people. After late lunch, almost freezing up there I took the train back down and guess whom I met in the bus on the way back to the city center. Cici and Jenny, the Chinese girls. They didn’t went up there cause it was too expensive for them.

From now on we carried on together. Next stop the famous blue colored Cheong Fatt Tze House. A must visit if you are here when you wanna believe your travel guide. But it closes unexpected very early at around 4pm. Our only chance taking some pictures together in front of as if we have been in there. Then we strolled around a while to find a ATM for me and had some Indian dinner. Yeehaaa, Masala Tosa again. Not as good as last time but still good. The girls tried to talk their food sweeter then it was. Next stop Jims place.

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IMG_2633Jims place actually deserves a special entry. But I wont honor him like that. There are so many stories about him this 60 year old Jim. Storys told by himself about him, it is hard to believe only one of them is true. No offense. We ended up there cause team China came here yesterday and had a few drinks with this charming guy far older then to blame everything or anything on a midlife crisis. He runs a guest house covered in finger thick dust nearby the famous Love Lane. A pretty shabby and dirty one but cheap to be completely precise. On the couch and chairs some other faces except Jims. Among others Lexie and Jamie, a very nice couple from Canada and holy shit James/Jamie is from good old New Zealand. So he directly had a big plus over his head. But Lexie too, cause she went there for a year too. And Barbie, aeehhh Robin from Canada and lives on Koh Tao had a big plus anyway Smiley. So we where all sitting there talking the normal introduction crap until Jim couldn’t stop to join into the conversation. Or lets say he took it over. Yesterday it must have been already very interesting as the Chinese girls told me. They where watching some documentary. Jim, as he say’s sees himself in the easy position of solving all the problems and all the diseases we have on earth with his wisdom and his healing hands. Good explanation of his possible need of touching all women. Good on him, and good for us he is writing a book about it.

He had a part of his wall covered in the crème Della crème of his highlights. He did see I was looking there for a second and asked like he expected somebody to look there to ask him questions about it. Even though I said no, I don’t wanna know the explanation of:”wanking in the morning helps your relationship” it was to late to stop him. So he gave us a detailed explanation that the man is very more rela … ahh I don’t give a shit. It was too ridiculous but still not over. He forced us to select some other sentences for him to explain. In this context he explained he is Mr. Booombastic and women all over the world invite him, fully paid expenses including flights, hotels …) to get pleased by him. I might explain this guy is neither handsome nor good looking, sexy or anything else positive. I think this guy just drinks way too much but that’s just my opinion. I wish I could remember more of that but I might was a bit drunk too or didn’t give a shit.

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IMG_2629Jenny and Cici left earlier to grab some food with a big local guy who suppose to give them a free ride the next day to Langkawi, an island northerly of Penang. We, Jamie, Lexie, Robin and I left to go drinks somewhere something. Now Jamie needed an ATM. Fortunately I knew one and still remembered the way. And what a big coincidence there is a pub right next to it. So we sat down and drank some bottles beer and chatted about Robins visa run. She lives since a while on Koh Tao an Thai island perfect for diving. Even though you own a half year visa you have to leave within this timeframe twice the country to keep the status valid. She did that and came for one night and way too much money to Penang. Almost a 20h trip in a minibus and a slow boat. So she was a completely mess and fucked already even without drinking. Other topics of course have been New Zealand and our experiences there. It was very nice and we all decided to meet somewhere in the near future on Koh Tao in Thailand. Awesome. We had to hold out longer then we wanted because of the continuing heavy rain since we arrived.

When we couldn’t withstand it anymore we left to the nearby umbrella covered food court with live music. I didn’t use the word nice by intention. It was western music sung by some mediocre Asian singer accompanied by some background dancer. I wasn’t hungry nor in the mood of giving my stomach more food to not deal with so I just waited until I sent the drink runners 5 times away with ordering nothing and until everybody ate. We headed back with a short stop at Jims place taking Cici and Jenny with us. Jim wasn’t very amused we took his potential prey away he so nicely filled up with drinks already. And you should know a lot of the Asians don’t drink or at least don’t drink much.

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IMG_2611After we snatched the chicks out of Jims bare hands and saved them being pleasured by him (hey, they never thanked us for that Smiley). Altogether we now went to love lane and to the here famous Reggae Bar. Okay that could be anywhere. Every hip bar in Malaysia seemed to be named like that. But here it was nice. We got a nice table and some even nicer cocktails and beer delivered. We drank and talked a lot crap and Robin stumbled back “home” to Jims place early. She had to take the bus back to Koh Tao tomorrow at around 5am. Bugger. We enjoyed the evening and did sing a happy birthday for Cici after midnight. We finished our three buckets of Long Island Ice Tea and also stumbled home when the waitress kicked us out/off the veranda. Jamie and Lexie had to suffer in Jims rooms and the Chinese ladies needed to go to a place nearby mine.

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IMG_2588So I brought them there. Cici was so drunk she had to hold on to me to not fall over Smileyand to calm her down. I liked it. It must have been 2am already cause their place were closed up already. The metal rolling gates shut and it looked abandoned. When we took a closer look we spotted somebody sitting creepy as in the dark behind a desk in the corner. First we thought he is dead but a bit of clapping the gates and shouting made him move. But really weird. This situation could have been directly out of an horror movie. When he dragged himself close enough we did see his distorted face with still half closed eyes, his shaved head and crippled pose wearing just some pants. A very disturbing picture. It took him minutes to figure out the correct key of his big key ring and struggled every other try to get the key in the lock until the padlock clicked open. We hurried up to get upstairs and the Girls showed me their room. It was in general a very scary place. The rooms where somehow build into a big open room but didn’t closed up with the ceiling. So actually every room was open. This and that Cici was a bit stressed out being drunk was also causing the a bit longer enduring farewell. It annoyed the other guest that much so that they woke up and shouted shut the fuck up and other stuff. I will miss them they were nice girls.

IMG_2613Then I headed downstairs again passing this scary dude who locked this place behind my back. Puh, I’m glad to be out again and still alive. Now I had to find my way back home and cross my fingers for it to still be open. Fortunately mine was wide open and busy. In my room the American with its indeed Oxford English still awake sitting in his bed at now already 3:30am listening to music.

It’s a shame nobody took any pictures of this night.

 

 

 

Saya dari Ipoh- 14.9.2012

Of course I woke up late, 11am. As usual when I want to leave as early as possible. But after last night no wonder it takes a bit longer to get ready to leave. It was weird that my room neighbor was sitting in exact the same position in his bed as he did 3:30am last night, around 7am when I woke up once and when I really got up. I took my morning shower to get a bit clear in my head while suddenly outside the heavy rain started and a bit of thunder and lightning made this hostel even more cozy and nice. But fortunately it was over when I left back to the harbor to take the ferry over to the mainland to catch some bus to Ipoh. Only problem it is not one of the main destinations but a lady forced me to buy a ticket of her, supposed to be the only organization driving there. I was happy to have a ticket soon leaving at around 2pm.

 

IMG_2615When the bus showed up at the correct port I showed my ticket, placed my stuff in the trunk there and went in. 5 minutes later a guy came through the rows checking our tickets kicked a few of us out. This Bus goes to KL, I took my stuff out of the trunk and waited with another group of people a few minutes until a guy showed up screaming Ipoh KL, Ipoh KL, A now even bigger group went for a walk together in the bare sun with all the bags and luggage from the bus station somewhere a few minutes away at some main road where three busses where already waiting. One uglier and more dangerously looking then the other. The guy who initially checked my ticked told me to go in the first one. I packed my stuff in the trunk and jumped in. Another five minutes later I had to get off again. Guess what, it was the wrong one. Same thing I took my backpacks and was sent to the next bus. I was already pissed off and asked the guy if he is sure, this one is the real one to Ipoh. I walked in and there where no seats left in this bus. Actually the worst of all of them. So maybe I was lucky not getting a seat. Again I went out and then, finally the next one where supposed to be the bus I have to take. Yippie. I grabbed a seat and hoped for the best it is really my bus. We where all sitting in there and waiting for our ticket to be checked the 5th time until everything seemed to be right. But I first believe that when I will really arrive in Ipoh later. Its not nice to be a bus wanker (the Inbetweeners) here in Malaysia. Especially when you sit next to an annoying guy who sleeps and always gets overt to my side so I have to sit there like a cripple.

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IMG_2672Amy arrived a bit earlier from Kuala Lumpur in Ipoh that day than I did. She picked me up there and on the way home I’ve got a small city tour while driving home to her place. I somehow expected she would live different then we would for example do here. But they are definitely not living on trees swinging from one to the other. It is very similar to here. Her parents have a nice quite big house with a small tiled open area where the animal part of this family usually lives. I forgot their names but there are two friendly parent dogs and a cute little baby dog. Amy’s mother is Chinese and her Father Indian Hindu. It was very interesting to see his vesper tine ceremony.  Both where really friendly and I felt very welcome. After having a rest we went altogether to some restaurant where we ordered altogether some food and shared it with each other. Unfortunately I didn’t got it in the first place and it seemed I wanna have my own food. The restaurant was a bit unusual compared to home. It has almost no theme. Nothing around covering the bare walls like pictures or any statues. It looked very plain just with some chairs and tables. The food was very delicious. Definitely typical local food. Nothing they adept to our tourist taste. I’d love to pay but they refused and invited me. I felt bad cause for them its quite a lot of money and for me just a quarter of what I would have paid at home. Back at Amy’s home her sister with husband and baby where already there and we chatted for a while and then with Amy until I went to bed at 2am. What a luxury of having a free nice double room.

Being a bus wanker again – 15.09.2012

IMG_2678Amy wanted to show me a bit more of her nice hometown. In connection with the need to have some breakfast we picked one of her friends, Mei, and went to Old Town, one of the local coffee shops here famous for white coffee. I had a typical brekky. Typical for me, not for Amy Smiley. I still had to stick to some food I’m used to and skipped on having curry chicken or noodle soup. We chatted for a while an decided to drive to the Cameron Highlands tea plantation later. But until then we finalized Amy’s and my trip to the Perhentian Islands bought some bus tickets for this evening and went through some mall here in Ipoh. Then we picked up another friend of Amy, Celine. So Celine, Mei, Amy and I headed now to the famous Cameron Highlands to have some high tea. It took us at around 2h to get there. Poor Amy had to drive and I drifted away almost taking a nap on these very curvy roads. And then after some issues finding the place the girls wanted to go to we ended up on a very nice tiny road further up to the BOH tea plantation. The travel guide, Up in the hills it is way more my type of climate. less hot, less humid and a nice fresh breeze.

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IMG_2675The landscape up there was beautiful. All the tiny bright grass green tea bushes on lush smooth soft curved hills. Further up the parking lot was an elevated building with a big open veranda reaching over the tea fields. We climbed up there and got some seats out on the veranda with some cups of tea. It still tasted like normal tea, nothing special, but nice when you sit right next to it from where it was picked. We relaxed out there until it started to rain heavily which is a good explanation for the lush green hills up here. Not only that some serious water poured down also the temperatures went down to approximately estimated 24° it was freezing. Either its to hot or too cold. Amy picked up the car running through the rain to pick us up dry and to ride to our next stop a local chocolate manufacturing store with local ingredients. Nice strawberries covered in chocolate nicely decorated with some more different colored chocolate. I bought a few packages but for Malaysia it was quite expensive and not to good to bring it all the way down back to Ipoh where its hot again. So we ate a bit and also some ice cream with a kit-kat in the center. Yummy. And a nice loooong nap again while poor Amy had to drive.

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IMG_2688Back at Amy’s place we had to directly snatch our stuff for the trip and drove to the Ipoh bus terminal. We made it just in time to hop in the bus around 8pm almost without waiting and looking forward for a good long sleep. Right? No, not even close. We where hoping for some empty seats and yes everyone got a row but this stupid bus had some not moveable armrests. Finding a good position to fall as sleep impossible. So I was sitting there upright trying to close my eyes and fall asleep. But as soon as we had left the suburbs of Ipoh and rushed through the countryside I was scared shitless anyway. Not literally but seriously every time this insane clown of a driver was driving fast as hell on the wrong lane to get the ideal track around the curves without seeing what comes behind it or to overtake the other normal driving coaches also in curves where I did see from my position the coming car on the other sid


 e already.

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 Fortunately his reactions where fast enough for rescue us last minute before our certain death. OMG, and I did drive on Bali before and they where crazy driver already. Even though it was like in a rolling fridge in the bus but I was sweating scared to death every of the 7h of driving not closing my eyes once. Somehow the other locals managed to sleep (probably they are just used to this) but even they woke up every time their head when the centrifugal force made their head and stuff like bags moving to the other side of the bus.

 

 

Just around the corner, Perhentian Islands – 16.09.2012

It wasn’t my longest bus ride ever but it felt like it was. Stressed out, I needed the holidays on a tropical island. So when we arrived in the early morning hours at 2:30am somewhere in a tiny town named Kelantan in the middle of now where. Amy knew already that we have to take a taxi from there to the port to get on to the boat. It wasn’t even close to each other. Here it is a big advantage having a local with you Smiley. When we hopped off the bus there where a few taxi driver waiting for paying customers. But we weren’t in a hurry cause the boats didn’t leave before 7am. Way more time at our hands we needed. We had enough time for Amy to try to beat them down. We where sitting down next to them waiting for a better offer. It was a ridiculous situation, 7 taxi driver ready to leave staring at us and trying to convince us to go right now with them. People stare at Amy anyway she told me, weird no idea why. we left cause they where annoying Amy after she started speaking mandarin or Malay. We went for a minute through this town to the nice mosque nearby and when we didn’t had to to do anything anymore we decided to take the offer getting a lift there right now and may have a sleep in this tourist office where we where supposed to get our boat tickets.

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When we came back they directly started harassing us again with offers to take us. We made a choice based of who annoyed Amy at least.and looked most trustworthy. Unfortunately it didn’t apply to his car. It looked like the most rusty untrustworthy most unreliable car ever. But I survived this bus ride before so how bad can it be in a taxi like this. In Germany a car like this wouldn’t even be allowed to park on public roads.

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IMG_2698But it was cheap as. And the around 60 year old guy seemed to be nice. At least he was making jokes with Amy about me Smiley. It might did take 30 minutes until we ended up in Kuala Basut where the harbor is. He dropped us there and woke the poor transport agency guy at around 3:30 am. But now we had a place to rest on the couches. And we directly got our speed boat tickets for 35 Ringgit return to the Perhentian Islands. We where the first once and alone in the shop so I directly took over a couch and a nap. Amy did sleep a few minutes in the bus already. I was so tired I didn’t noticed any of the few People coming into the shop and looked weird at me. Maybe I snored or even worse drooled, haha. As long as I can sleep I don’t care. But I was a bit surprised when I opened my eyes lying on this couch with a couple of people sitting opposite of me. Then it was seven and we walked as a group a bit to the port, paid some ocean reservoir fee and jumped onto the tiny speedboat. Nothing compared to this big ass speedboat to Gili. Tiny and nice but not too god for Amy who gets seasick pretty fast. Even though it was just a bit bumpy but except that calm. The weather was nice, warm and just a bit cloudy.

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IMG_2720The Perhentian Islands are two separated but nearby located Islands. Pulau Perhentian Kecil has the party strip Long Beach but is actually the smaller Island. Pulau Perhentian Besar is a bit bigger but there is not much on it except a few dive sites and resorts, including ours, the Flora Bay Resort. In general these islands are way less overrun by tourists then e.g. Bali or Gili. They are very relaxing cause you cant really do anything except swimming, eating and drinking. You can’t drive over the island its just too small. There is almost no reason to walk over the island. Its nothing. But that’s a big pro in my opinion if you just want to spend some nice days being lazy. My favorite occupation.

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IMG_2756In the first place our resort looked nice but a bit later when we got our room it was easy to spot it had the best years lying behind. We took it anyway for 60 Ringgit, but just one night to look for something nicer tomorrow. For now we just needed to stuff our tummy’s and chill out. Need number one was fulfilled by having same muesli with fresh local fruits and pancakes for breakfast. Way too much to finish.

 

 

 

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IMG_2750The second need kicked in directly afterwards. Taking a loooooong nap at this beautiful beach I didn’t even undress. I was so knackered and lazy and it was so good just lazing here on this tropical island surrounded by this beautiful landscape, tropical palm tress, ferns, funny rock formations and amazing colored water. Amy was more pro active and checked out this place while I didn’t move a centimeter until even I had enough thinking we only have a short time here and have to use it more wisely. Late afternoon even I went for a good long swim and snorkel trip at the other end of the beach in this perfectly temperature water. This place was really cool and mystical. IMG_2746It had monkeys sitting in the trees at the beach. We did also hear them out of the bush. And then this gigantic reptile LIZARD joining us swimming. Unfortunately we didn’t have a camera handy. Also the weather was interesting: really hot and humid. We where still in the water when it started to rain a bit. Veeeerrry nice. We went for dinner late to one of the local food places and chilled in hammocks afterwards enjoying a very hot and humid evening trying to chill it down with some ice cold Coca Cola. We got some nice lightning but without thunder and went to bed at 2am to spend the minimal amount of time in our room.

 

Another day in paradise – 7.9.2012

IMG_2761As always I was tired and still panting for more sleep but we also wanted to do something. At least finding a better place to stay and even better see a bit of these islands. We had breakfast at our resort which couldn’t hide its all inclusive holiday mentality and got a water taxi for 50RD to swap to the other Island. Why stay on one island when there is another one around the corner. Our pick: the Shari La (not Shangri-la even though it was the perfect place). Just to make sure it is what we want we had a look at the rooms checked everything out before we checked in for real and stayed in the end. We picked one of the delightful and cozy chalets. For just 120 night (for two) twice as much as last night but at least four times as inviting. We got two nice beds a AC and a nice bathroom. What more could I ask for. We also booked a snorkeling trip for later that day.

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IMG_2873The best part of this resort was the absent groups of families and all inclusive tourists. Here there where not many people. The few that have been here with us did spread quite well over the whole area of main buildings, restaurant, WI-FI reception area, chalets and beaches. This great place was even blessed with two nice beaches. One of them, my favorite the Romantic Beach just a few steps away from our hut. A nice secluded spot with a nearby hot food stall (it was already hot), some old worn beach chairs, great sand, some rocks and wonderful water with heaps of fish and corals just a few rows off the shore waiting for getting discovered. Even with my uneven taint I felt great here. Just relaxing in the hot as shade. Every now and then we jumped into the as well warm water armed with snorkel and goggles to spot some corals and fish. Here, after you leave the murky first part at the shoreline the water clears up and offered nice views on these crazy colored gay fish called Parrot Fish as well as Angel Fish and numerous others.

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IMG_2786We rested here a while, met a nice German/Malay couple, Matti and Janina from Hamburg and observed  the other folks around e.g. the white skinned French people roasted to a dark red colored taint or the nice group of girls nearby Smiley. For lunner we went to our hotel restaurant. We could have selected another place of the few on the second big beach paved with small restaurants. But ours is closer and we had an arrangement to meet with Janina and Matti this evening at Mamas Place anyway. When we entered the hotel restaurant a minimum of 8 bored waiter where running around their. One of them a special one. We took a seat inside but close to the open windows and doors. After we got our drinks we decided its not the optimum and so many other possibilities to sit here. So we moved to an nice outside table next to some couple, the only other guests at the moment. A couple of minutes later, still waiting for some food we moved again to the perfect spot and shared a chili pizza and a burger in the shades. The waiter we got was a nice funny guy. He reminded me of a Indian friend from Verandahs.

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IMG_2788Always smiling, friendly and I didn’t lost the feeling he likes Amy a lot Smiley. Of course I had to tease her a lot with my assessment. But probably he was just as nice as typical Indians/Bangladeshians are. I’m just not used to so much kindness which is nevertheless no reason stopping Amy to harass her with her new and fresh island lover. He was working 5 years in KL learning Malay so they had more than one connection, haha. He treated us well and promised next morning for breakfast we get something special. Probably just for Amy but still nice. Why isn’t he a she?

 

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IMG_2804As nice as it was sitting there listening Amy and his chit chat. We had more important things to do and left to our nearby snorkeling group meeting point. Not only us but also a group of three pretty Chinese girls, roar. Unfortunately accompanied by two American blokes already. I think there was a couple the tour guide and us. So a very nice small group compared to my snorkeling trip on Gili with a battalion of others fighting about who gets sexual harass the the turtle first. This time we had way less opponents. At least just on our boat. There where others around too of course. Plan for the day was to reach 4 good snorkel spots on this half day tour.

 

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IMG_2826The first one was amazing already. We stopped at a Lighthouse with anchor spot for boats built on top of huge underwater rocks covered splendorous by corals and underwater plants. This attracts fish of course. And with all the tour guides handing out toast  we attracted shitloads of fish. When I jumped of the boat and opened my eyes there where thick layers of beautiful colored fish surrounding be. I would have been scared of when it would have been my first snorkeling trip. But here it was just stunning. I reached out with my hand offering the now water soaked bread. Always scared of getting bitten I pulled my arm back. But they are precise, most of them, grabbing just what they getting offered for being there. We swam around the cool rough underwater landscape staring at countless sorts of different fish I had no clue about what their names are except the gay ahhh, Parrot Fish. And not to forget the blind Asian fish accompanied by chubby American holding her hands and pulling her through the water. She kept her eyes always closed. Actually the wasn’t blind but Amy had to convince me a while. So what’s the point of going snorkeling when you keep your eyes closed even though you have some goggles protecting her eyes. But she was the cutest one and I wouldn’t have mind pulling her through the whole tour as well. All the Asians did wear swim west so they probably cant swim or are scared of water in general. Enough of these thoughts, we heard the whistle to change the location.

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IMG_2844Next stop Shark point. Actually there is a shark point nearby each of these islands so lets see if we have some there. When we first got on the boat at the main anchoring we did see and hear already far away the may coming storm with thunder and lightning. The wind speed increased noticeable. But it was still far far away. But now a bit later it seemed to come closer and out guide a funny small local looked all the time nervous and repeated storm coming, fast fast, hurry. The few words he know. He was a nice funny guy. So he raced us over to the shark point, btw close to our resort from the night before. A spot called shark point is of course a good spot to jump in straight away and find them, but I waited until our guide jumped in as well feeling more secure. And at least he knows where they are. We swam around following him until a shark for real turned up in the murky distance. It was a massive one and fast and seemed aggressive. Probably he was not big. Just tiny, slow and friendly far away from us. But my nervosity and being afraid of actually seeing one having nothing in between him and me. Okay that’s not exactly true. I swam behind the guide using him as my human shield until the shark swam away. However a nice experience meeting one of these not so dangerous and still mysterious animals in real life. Our guide wasn’t too impressed as us. While we where searching for another shark we spotted him catching with his bare hands some fish showing it into his board shorts pockets. He was a bit curious about being caught by us. I guess because it is highly illegal to do this in a marine reservoir. Nasty nasty, but it was for a nice BBQ with his wife and him. So I forgive him.

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It_ might also be the reason to hurry that much because of the supposed to be big storm. We had to move on if we wanted to make it to our next highlight. Turtle point in between both Perhentian Islands. And also here every island needs a turtle point. We still had the “storm” clouds in our back and it started to dribble a bit and the wind increased. On the way the guide repeated over and over again with a big funny smile in his face “storm coming, big storm coming”. We where laughing altogether. Amy not so much cause she is not that comfortable on the open water with waves on a moving boat. She felt sick. I don’t remember exactly but I think she didn’t got out of the boat at turtle point. On the other hand she can easily come back.

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IMG_2795The guide spotted a huge one from above and let us in the water from there. This one was massive not the first one I did see (Gili) but far out the biggest model. And not because I was scared. Really. I tried to dive down to harass him or her, don’t mind, but again I didn’t make it. And the turtle didn’t like my approach of getting closer neither and wend down into deeper waters until it disappeared completely in the now very murky water caused by the dripping rain. There was no other around and we got back on the boat to drive home before the storm really reaches the islands. But Mr. Americano resisted on his right of getting his promised 4 different snorkel spot. No matter what. So funny guide drove us pretty close to the first spot (cause it was close to our resort) the lighthouse and did let whoever wanted his 4th dive out of the boat. Amy and I had enough for the day. And I didn’t wanted to go again at the almost same spot. So we waited until the Chinese and Americans finished practicing how to swim and came back for driving back to the little anchorage. The guide still maneuvering the boat safe though the “storm, storm coming” still laughing. Of course there was no real storm neither more rain. While our ride back I was busy observing the pretty Chinese girls a bit more, they are definitely not blind, while Amy was busy not to puke.

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Snorkeling is tiring and Amy felt still a bit sick back at the chalets. Not ready to eat, more the opposite, so we took advantage of the comfort of having a nice cozy place and watched “The Beach”. My favorite travel movie in advance of going soon to Thailand by myself while taking in between a couple of power naps. That’s the reason we missed our appointment with Janina and Matti.

 

After we finished the movie and napping around 10pm we wanted to visit Long Beach, the party beach on the other side of our island. Famous for mental parties and good drinks. We took the minimum necessary to go there. Just a couple of Ringgits to survive the evening. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera. But I took the head torch. We had to walk around 20 minutes through the dark from our resort over the highest elevation of the island (maybe 30 meter Smiley) to the other side of the island making sure to not get bitten by snakes, spiders or yetis. Whatever waits here in the bush. None of them showed up, puh, and we made it to the other side. While we did the last steps to approach the still hot Long Beach we did hear the loud music and saw the nice fire torches plunked into the sand illuminating the exterior. Everywhere young people sitting around like bums and we ready to do so too. But first we wanted to explore the area a bit. We passed fire dancers, more loud music and shitloads of more partying white skins. It is definitely backpacker heaven over here. We went to some “back alley” to a small shop to buy some carbonated drinks. Most of the stuff here is made out of wooden planks. So the shops as well as whole accommodation buildings. It is very rustically but looks great at night. Very basic and nice.like it should be on an tropical island. The toilets where not too nice here, especially not when you have Delhi belly since Melaka no toilet paper within the next 200m. Afterwards it will be funny but right now it sucks big times.

 

IMG_2721We took some nice bamboo seats with table to put the feet on in front of a bar called Matahari (son) where they had guy playing live reggae music. Except the bad equipment letting his guitar sound as if it is played from a damaged vinyl player it did sound very good and created the perfect atmosphere. We chilled there a while listening to this guy singing also some of his own good songs as well as another tourist who wanted to play. A bit Justin Bieber like but good. I know impossible to use these words in one sentence but think about the terrific atmosphere. Everything there would have been great.

 

 

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We hiked all the way back to our chalet on the other side but passed it and went down to our private beach. I promised Amy we have to take some long exposure times pictures with some light. It took Amy a while to figure out how to actually write something with it pointing the light in the right direction and clear enough to capture something. In the end it worked well for both of us and we got some nice pictures. It was still very warm but nice sitting at night 2am at the beach like that.

 

Running out of time - 18.09.2012

IMG_2867Only a few hours left until we need to leave this fabulous group of Islands. If we would have got up around 7:30am we could have gone diving but as it was 9:00am already we forgot about it and instead had a big slow buffet breakfast. Bala … ahhhmm … the nice waiter from yesterday kept his promise and brought two cups of local free tee typically served with manually foamed milk. How nice is that. He also stayed a bit and chatted with us, in particular, with Amy Smiley. A bit later Matti and Janina joined us there brunching a bit longer until we had to check out our nice chalet around 11am and asked to stay until 4pm when the last boat goes back to the mainland. Of course they gave us permission. We stored our backpacks at the reception and met team Hamburg later at the Romantic Beach and went snorkeling and swimming together.

Amy and I constructed a absolutely impressive copy of Luisa out of Amy’s shirt, a coconut exactly as big as the models head, some hair out of coconut fur, also really realistic, my sunglasses and Amy’s jewelry. The finished model someone else would probably mix them up. 

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IMG_2920Then we went for our last meal here at the Aur Bay. For lunch we all had burgers and some ice thingy. A flavored crushed ice drink the right thing for these temperatures. A lizard passed by while we finished our meal. The sign to hurry up to get our water taxi. It’s a shame we had to leave already but I can look forward to loads of more Islands in Thailand. But for a while I will spend my time in the countryside.

 

The boat ride back wasn’t spectacular at all. Back in Kuala Besut we tried to cheat the taxi driver. First Amy went alone to get one but he did see me and we got the tourist price. It didn’t even help us when I said saya dari Ipoh. Which means I am from Ipoh. Despite my perfect pronunciation of the Malayan dialect and that I obviously look like a local from Ipoh he didn’t believe us. He just laughed with his few teeth. Poor guy. He deserved his 20 Ringgit. Amy got into the shotgun position and I took the rear seat and tried to buckle my seatbelts.But there was nothing to buckle it to. The taxi driver just looked back and smiled and laughed out lout. Amy as well. Nobody here buckles the seatbelt in the back, silly me. Smiley

 

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In Kelentan we now had to waste a few hours until 10:45pm. So 5 hours. What can you possibly do packed with you backpacks in a town like this. We went to the local Pizza Hut branch of course. Doofus. We took a mediocre comfortable spot with some outlets for my laptop first floor and ordered each a coffee and a drink and told them we will order a few more things later. We have to wait until 10pm and so on and so on. While we waited I put on some more cloth cause as hot it is outside as cold it is in here. Every time its like this I am happy having all my stuff I own with me in my Backpack. Then we ordered a second time. Two salads. It took ages and after more than 30 minutes we got one. It took again 15 minutes until I got another one. Fortunately we had enough time on our hands than they did. Cause they close earlier then we had to leave. So no rush at all. We watched some movie and chatted. Now it seemed to be the preferred time to eat here. Not only Amy was now the attraction. Me as well as the only one left looking like I do surrounded by all locals. Still a funny feeling. Then we ordered pizza. And now I noticed every time we order something the manager has to come upstairs and erase the bill, print it out again and give it to us. Now he seems to be a bit annoyed already. Its not as if I haven't told them. In the end they changed our bill three times.

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The time came and we had to pay. So I went down with the 4th bill handing it to the manager. He smiled at me and said some stuff in Malay I of course didn’t get. I wished Amy would have been here. Now some employees and the manager where talking with each other. More and more employees came by, pointed on me, talked about me, imitated my size. I had the feeling they’re making fun of me as a reward for causing so many trouble. It was a very very weird situation. They asked me where I’m from and I just wanted to pay. Now, almost all of them must have been around and I ended up taking pictures with most of them. Smiling to both ears with both thumbs up as the others too. Than I had to take another one with the smallest of them, cause i was taller then all of them. It was so funny and weird. I wished I would have this picture or would have taken one of them. Amy missed it unfortunately. When I finally paid after ages and went up Amy directly asked me what happened cause of my red cheeks. I would have loved to have her there to translate. When we left the Pizza Hut we got a really warm goodbye, smiling. It was so weird. And I should have taken pictures with them as well. I’m such an idiot. I even joined the Facebook Pizza Hut Malaysia group for maybe getting the picture. But it never showed up Trauriges Smiley.

 

IMG_2924We waited now outside again for an hour until our bus picked us up. This time we even have to sit in the first row. Not a good spot to sit when the crazy bus driver crashes our vehicle. It was a bit different. Less scary this time. But he also drove way to fast in curves and overtook without seeing coming cars on the other lane. At least I slept a bit this time as well. I woke up close before we arrived in Ipoh. And the bus slowed down from within city 100 km/h. To slowly pass  a very bad accident. Everywhere blue police lights and a car either smashed to half of its original size but it looked more as if it has been split into half. It looked deadly. One way or another I’m sure the driver didn’t survive this crash. At least I didn’t see a body. After passing this spot the driver accelerated again speeding recklessly through the night…

From the Bus stop Amy drove us home and after we woke up her dad to open the gates we went straight to bed.

 

Ipoh Ipoh – 19.09.2012

We woke up late. I of course around 11:30am. But early enough to send another package home filled with stuff I don’t need anymore and didn’t need since I left New Zealand but carried around the whole time. It was just wasting space and increasing the weight of my backpack. So I did send home long pants, I’m wearing only shorts. Hiking boots and sport shoes, I’m wearing only thongs and my sleeping bag for cold temperatures, I haven’t had temperatures below 25° and wont have them soon. When I said they can send it the slowest possible way and I doesn’t matter when it will arrive they charged me just 10€ for 4kg of stuff shipping it via container ship. It will take 2 month until I will have it back.

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After this relieve Amy took me to her favorite place for breakfast in the old part of Ipoh. It was a café I’ve never been to before. They had a normal section in the front and a few separated rooms in the back. Each of them 4 walls but no ceiling. A bit like tiny patios. The walls and floors either plain cement or covered with tiles. In the room they had small table some chairs an old spinning-jenny and a few plants. Amy ordered for us some typical dishes e.g. sweet pumpkin bread, savory wheat bread with hot curry sauce and some half poached eggs on toast.

 

IMG_2689Stuffed we went then to pick up Mei for visiting the house Amy bought for her parents. Constructions are still in progress but almost done. The location is very nice with a good view on a river/lake. Its funny, in Germany we try to get away from our parents as soon as possible here in Malaysia the children take care of their parents for retirement and probably live and take care of them. After this shortstop we continued to go to a local shopping mall. But nobody bought a thing. And I will be damned if I’ll fill up my backpack with unnecessary stuff already.

 

 

IMG_2670For Dinner Amy’s parents invited us. Again. I feel so guilty getting invited all the time. But they wont let me pay. First we drove into Ipoh center to a specific restaurant where they have snow iced root beer and other specialty's Amy was so looking forward to introduce me to but it was closed. So we drove all the way back to a Chinese restaurant. Actually around the corner of their home. If we knew we could have walked. Its still funny for me to sit on plastic garden chairs and at a plastic table when I go to a restaurant. But in South East Asia its common. The menu was completely written with Chinese signs and no pictures. Only mama Amy is able to read it and ordered different meals to share for all of us. The whole family teased me about ordering frog legs and insects. I was scared Smiley. In the end we got 4 delicious meals. It will be the last night I will be an attraction being special. Afterwards in Thailand nobody gives a shit about foreigners. Even here in this restaurant people, especially children look at me curious. It reminds me of the pizza hut experience. If you wanna feel special once in a lifetime being a European go to Malaysia.

Out of time – 20.09.2012

Its my time of pulling back, leaving Malaysia. Amy took me with her to Kuala Lumpur at 4am and raced us through the night with 160 (shame on you Amy Smiley, maybe I exaggerate a bit ) where the speed limits say 100. The way to the right Airport was easy. Finding the correct terminal not so much. We ended up at KLI (KL International) which is the high price terminal for the good airlines. But I did fly with Air Asia from KLCC, a special budget Air Asia terminal. We circled around KLI three times like mosquitos around the light three times. I almost hopped of to try to get a taxi or bus to the other terminal. But Amy was sure to find it soon and she did. Actually I wasn’t as much under pressure as she was. She needed to go to work at 9am if possible. I had to wait for my flight in a few hours anyway.

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IMG_2576When we fare welled each I tried to force her to take at least some money for all the expenses they had. I didn’t have to pay anything for the stay and food at their parents place. I really tried hard to reimburse her for it but she . It took loooooong and the whole procedure attracted at least a few gazes on us, me trying to give Amy money for half an hour. And then in the end before I wanted to drop it on the floor Smiley she took only a quarter of what it should have been. Grrrr still angry about you Amy Smiley. At the airport then I lazed around for a while and had still 100 Ringgits and decided to just to buy a new SD Card for my Camera. When I walked out of the shop for photo cameras and accessory's I ended up with a waterproof case for my Canon g12, lens protection cap the reason of going in there the necessary SD 16 GB card. I spent freaking 1000 Ringgit around 250€. Shiiiit. The sales person in there was very good. But I can now take underwater pictures, wicked. It will be great when I go diving somewhere in Thailand. And that’s how I definitely got rid of my 100 Ringgit.

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I checked in my luggage for the flight and went to MC Donalds for an early lunch. Sitting there and eating I met an English 39 year old women, who was 5 years in NZ who had the residency there. She even lived on beautiful Waihke and worked for TV NZ, cool. The she lived in Australia for quite a while. She was a bit esoteric and was on the way to Kalkutta in India to a yoga camp. But now comes the interesting part. She told me two days ago she got the news she is pregnant from an Aussie backpacker. She was at a party somewhere in Australia and it just happened. She don’t know him, has no contact or whatsoever and now needs to decide to keep it or not. Interesting but hard stuff, aye? Now I am waiting for my flight to Chiang Mai in Thailand. I ran out of three hours free Wi-Fi, spent already way more money I should have and have to share one power outlet with around 20 people and a funny construction out of travel adapter and transformers. I Just spotted the women again with the baby from a stranger…