Cracker in Melaka Part 2 (and tioman)

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September 28th 2010
Published: October 11th 2010
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Welcome to part 11/12 of the blog.

continued from cracker in melaka ...

The morning after the hindu procession i awoke to find Reuben and Livia had backed their bags and left for Cherating. After moving into a single room across the hall I went for some breakfast at the Voyage cafe before head to Sama Sama to plan my day. Realising i didn't actually have anything to do i decided to hang out with john for a while, read my book and meet some of the other people staying in the guesthouse. The owner of Sama Sama also owns Voyage cafe and Voyage guesthouse on the same road, theres a feeling it's all one big family and guests from all 3 places are always moving between them to hang out, chat or play pool.

Sometime in the afternoon a french guy called Thomas came back to Sama Sama and announced he had just been to 'Bukit China', a Chinese cemetery set on a hill across town. It sounded interesting so after some lunch I decided to check it out. It was about a 20 minute walk to the bottom of Bukit China, then a 10 minute climb up steep stairs until I reached the cemetery proper. It was well worth the walk, the cemetery was deserted despite it supposedly being a tourist attraction, it was also old and unkempt which gave it a very nice atmosphere. I walked around looking at the graves, some of which date back to the ming dynasty (1368-1644) for 2 hours and didn't see another person. It's a beautiful location spanning a number of sweeping hills, the smell of wild mint fills the air and twisted, ancient trees cover much of the area. After the madness of Singapore and the first few days in Melaka it was nice to be away from the noise of cars and the city.

I left feeling very refreshed and headed back to Sama Sama where i found John and many of the other guests hanging out in the common room. I hadn't planned on doing much that evening but after dinner john suggested we go halves on a cheap bottle of whisky, which sounded like a good idea to me. Lots of other people from the guesthouses showed up and we all sat up til the early hours drinking, singing and laughing at a guy
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war memorial
who called himself the Chinese James Bond as he sung a medley of Abba songs. Very weird.

I woke late the next day and moved my stuff into the dorm at Voyage guesthouse 2 doors up the road, alot of my new friends were staying there and it was 10 ringgit cheaper than a single room. I didn't really do much during the day save writing up my blog and reading in the cafe. Some of the guys were planning on going to a club that night. First of all we went for another excellent dinner at Pak Putra where i had a go at cooking a naan in the traditional manner, inside a large clay oven, this didn't really work out for me as the chef hadn't fully explained the technique. As a result i lost most of the hair on my right arm and destroyed a perfectly good naan. After this we all met back up at Sama Sama for a few warm up drinks, i had another bottle of kingsoong and by the time we left for the club i was feeling pretty good.

We arrived at the pure bar just as a live band (whom i dubbed the malaysian black eyed peas) started to play a series of western cover songs. After some dancing i spotted a group of chinese teenagers, one of them wearing a MUFC shirt. I instantly made a new group of friends when i went over and shouted 'Rooney', this sent them into near histerics and they insisted I sit with them whilst they gave me free beers. By the time we left the bar i was a little worse for wear, this didn't stop my new friends bundling me into a car and driving me to another club. I remember very little of what happened there, fortunatly for me the rest of the Sama Sama group had made it to the same club and i walked back with them. After a quick bike ride to the 24h McDonalds i finally got to bed by around 07:30, half an hour later my bed broke in two and i woke up in a state. The hungarian guy sleeping across the room from me was also woken by the noise and after a few minutes of laughing at me drunkenly trying to escape from my mosquito net he came and helped me
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war memorial
put my bed back together.

Needless to say i slept through most of the next day although i made sure i was up for the evening as it was the start of Hari Raya weekend, marking the end of Ramadan and the start of Malaysian new year. John, Rocky and Lucky had invited all guests to Sama Sama for dinner. About 20 of us were there to sample Rocky and Lucky's home cooked nepalese food. It was very good and afterwards we had a few beers whilst anyone who could play took turns to entertain us with some acoustic guitar, then i went to bed early as i wasn't feeling to great from the night before.

The next few days were all pretty similar, i spent the days chilling out or just wondering the city and the nights having a few drinks in voyage, watching football or playing pool with the other british guys in the guesthouse. On Sunday morning i got a message from Reuben suggesting we meet up on Tioman island, so I booked a bus for the next day and resolved to spend my last night in Melaka hanging with the guys at Sama Sama.
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inside st pauls church
I had my hair cut, by Lucky, with a pair of safety scissors and afterwards we all went for one last dinner at Pak Putra (it really is nice). We had a few drinks before i said my goodbyes and went to bed.

In the morning I grabbed a few Portuguese tarts from the excellent cake shop 'tart tart', then left to catch my bus to Mersing, the jump off point for ferries to Tioman. The bus took around 5 or 6 hours, all of which i spent trapped between a fat Indian man who snored loudly and a malaysian guy who stretched himself half way over my seat then passed our for the duration of the journey. I arrived in Mersing to find I had missed the last ferry to Tioman, meaing I would have to find a place to stay the night. I checked into the dorm at Omar's guesthouse and went to explore the town. There really isn't much happening in Mersing but I did manage to find a nice bar where I had a club sandwich and a few beers.

In the morning I had roti + curry for breakfast at a small Indian
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inside st pauls church
restaurant then caught the ferry to the island, the boat ride was abut 2 hours long and stopped a few times before it dropped me at Air Batang. I had already booked a dorm room at johan's ABC guesthouse, i dropped off my bag and went to look around Air Batang. It's a 500 metre strip of rocky beach, bars and chalets run the length of the beach, monkeys and huge monitor lizards wonder all around and the whole area is backed by lush rainforest rising high up the mountainside. It's getting close to monsoon season so many of the bars/restaurants are closed, luckily the best bar, Hallo bar, was still open. I had some dinner at the only open restaurant, had a quick swim then headed to Hallo bar for the sunset happy hour. I bumped into a few guys from Omar's in Mersing and we had a few beers before I went to bed.

I woke up in the morning and discovered the bed bugs had bitten. I was covered in bites from wrist to shoulder, then down my back on both sides. I wasn't really surprised as the dorm was a bit of a dump. I went to find a new place stay that wasn't infested with bugs. I checked into south pacific chalets, it was cleaner and cheaper although the plumbing was pretty suspect. It looked like they had used an electrician instead of a plumber to install the pipes in the bathroom, everytime i turned on the tap it would fall off of the wall and flood the room.

I was expecting Reuben to arrive that day, I just didn't know what time he was coming. I decided to kick back and chill out on a deck chair near the jetty to wait. Sometime in the afternoon i was woken by the sound of a ferry approaching, shortly afterwards i saw Reuben strolling down the waterfront. It was good to see him again and we spent at least an hour swapping stories from the last week. We stayed on Tioman for 5 days and I wish I could report that we did lots of really interesting stuff, truth be told we were just looking for somewhere to chill out and waste a few days before the Singapore F1. For the next few days we just swam and chilled on the beach, in the evenings we got drunk with a succession of european girls at the Hallo bar. The only break to this routine was when we made the 1.5 Km walk to Tekek where we paid a visit to the duty free shop.

il admit this wasn't the most cultural week we've spent in Asia but it was nice to relax on a tropical island whilst we wasted some time.

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