Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thanks, Malaysia

I arrived in Singapore around 2 am and took a taxi directly to the Summer Tavern hostel, where I collapsed, after making the necessary friendly with the manager. By the way, that is the most disorganized accommodation I've ever had, and although the people are friendly, I loudly don't recommend this place, unless you want to chase people down in order to pay your bill.

I shopped like mad the next day, and I made my boat and bus reservations to Tioman Island, of the southeastern coast of Malaysia. My bus departed at 6 am the next morning, so the exhaustion from Seoul continued.

"coffee," to go

It didn't begin to lift until I heaved my bag onto my bed in a bungalow by the beach at Ayer Batang. My bag has grown a foot since my shopping spree, and I'll be making a visit to the post office tomorrow before my flight.

little trees

Malaysia has a large Muslim population, and the monsoon season is beginning, so the island was quiet. It's Ramadan at the moment, so most restaurants were closed. Luckily, all I wanted was my own room, some peace and quiet, some water, and some sun; I got them all.

The first day I made a "snorkel-trek." By this I mean that I had to do some serious boulder hopping before getting to the place I wanted to snorkel. It probably would have been easier to swim all the way, but when I finally got in the water, it was well worth the slimy, barnacled rock climbing. The whole island is a marine park, and in certain spots the coral and fish are profuse; most common were clown fish, parrot fish, brain coral, and branch corals.

The next day, I made a two hour hike to the other side of the island through the tropical hills. I have my own mask and snorkel, but I rented some fins there. It was a windy, so the waves were high, which made snorkeling a bit stressful. When I got out of the water it was beginning to rain, so I caught a ride back to the other side of the island.

dreaming of ships, 20 feet from the shore

You can measure the health of a people by the health of their domestic animals. I saw a lot of happy, friendly, relaxed cats.

I saw a lot of roosters.

And, a scary looking snake-lizard thing.

I also saw plants, and buildings, and plants taking over buildings.

The trip was blessedly uneventful. I had a bungalow all to myself right on the beach, so I spread my stuff out all over the place, smoked in bed, and slept and woke to the sound of the waves.

view from my room

Two years ago, I had a layover in Kuala Lumpur airport, on my way to Australia. I changed 50$ so I could get something to eat. I had a lot of Ringit (Malaysian currency) left over, so I kept it, and I brought it with me on this trip. Aside from that money, I only changed 20$ (more justification for the Singapore spree).

I put on my damn bag again this morning and made the trip back to Singapore. I found my accommodation around 6 pm, another dorm room (groan, as penance for shopping), put down my damn bag, and left immediately.


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