Edit Blog Post
Published: July 18th 2006
curry for breakfast, curry for lunch, curry for dinner.
Everyone's heaven in little india, georgetown. Possibly the best chicken tikka this side of the Taste of Raj in Rochford.
Our arrival in Georgetown was met with a search for a room in sweltering heat that eventually ended after stumbling across a not too scummy guest house. The standard of accommodation in Malaysia seems to be the worst value for money compared to everywhere we have stayed so far, and it took a while to find a place that didn’t resemble a prison cell or smell of dead things. After securing a couple of nights at a friendly guest house, we took a stroll around the colonial streets of Penang’s capital. Georgetown possesses a diverse mix of race and religion and both China Town and Little India represent the huge mix of different cultures present throughout the whole country. The main religion here is Muslim, although both Hinduism and Christianity have a following but as a strict atheist and non-believer in ‘all that hocus-pocus’ don’t quote me as there’s a chance that I’m completely wrong. Little India is the perfect place to refresh the mind, body and soul with a walk around the mosques and shrines whilst soaking up the relaxed friendly atmosphere with a ‘hello’ on every corner from various locals all topped off with lashings of chicken tikkan and
naan bread. Our passion for Indian food can be truly for-filled here, as for around the price of a bag of chips a feast of different colours, flavours and textures is prepared and served with a mouthwatering can of ‘Sprite’.
After reveling in the local delicacies we arrived back at our room to discover that Travis and Jess who we met briefly in Hat Yai after a chat about the difficulties of traveling with a surf board. Travis was only the second person we have met carting around an ironing board shaped bag, and after our escapades with Dave and Kerry in Vietnam, I felt qualified to discuss his problems finding a mini bus that would take them. We spent the next couple of days wandering the quaint streets of Georgetown, and in nearly 72 hours managed to only have one meal that didn’t contain some kind of curry sauce. We made it to the Komtar Centre that comprises of a couple of huge malls, a 52 story office block (we later realised could have been scaled for a view to the horizon, DOH!) a bus station where we bought tickets to our next destination, and a cinema that
screens all films in English. Having only viewed pirate copies of films on VCD for the last 5 months it seemed rude not to watch the new Superman movie in all its widescreen/ surround sound glory from the comfort of a second row seat, complete, of course with ‘big popcorn and big Pepsi’. One afternoon we had the pleasure of being interviewed for a national newspaper ‘The Star’ for what turned out to be a section about backpackers and their reasons/ thoughts about traveling Malaysia. An interview with ourselves and Travis and Jess provided more humor for us than serious headline grabbing fact for the reporter. Mug shots of us all were taken including a curious scene where we were huddled around a Lonely Planet guide, pouring water into tea cups and looking at each other with vague expressions of ‘this is all a bit weird’ slapped across our faces. God only knows if and when the article will make press, and the reporter left with a promise to email us with the details, and even if nothing comes of it, we had just managed to kill a couple of hours.
That evening we said adure to our new
found friends and caught a bus to the east coast and hopped on the first available speed boat out to the Perhentian Islands. Having a fondness for traveling over water and reasonably sturdy sea legs Dave had no problem with the half hour crossing. Lucy on the other hand having been brought up sailing all her life has never possessed the required stomach for a life at sea, which was prematurely ended with the capsizing and subsequent loss of mast and centre board of her ‘Topper’ on a lake in Clywedog when she was Twelve. The tactic employed by our captain to get us to the islands as soon as possible seemed to be ‘point it and floor it’ as we took of across the sea at breakneck speed, every wave feeling like it was going to be our last. As Dave tried to have as much fun as possible; his head over the side and his face looking like that of a dog’s head hanging out of a speeding car window, Lucy was unable to fully appreciate watching the rising sun and took the more stern approach with ‘face like a slapped arse’. We arrived to the islands with
suspected fractures of any number of vertebrae and scoured the many bungalow accommodations for any vacant huts. A couple of hours later and with only finding one room that Lucy described as “horrible, I’d rather sleep on the beach, in fact I’d rather stay in that room we had on Phi Phi”. Reliving the conditions we lived under when on Ko Phi Phi didn’t much appeal to Dave either so the joint decision was taken to go for breakfast where we watched highlights of Germany Whipping the arse of Portugal, there was light at the end of the tunnel after all.
Accommodation was eventually found after a trek through the jungle and onto the stunning beach front of coral bay. Its hard to describe the beauty of such an island and really has to be seen to fully appreciate the crystal clear turquoise waters, large swaying palm trees and occasional spotting of Dave’s new favorite animal, the Monitor Lizard. These beasties grow to around six feet long and are closely related to the man eating Komodo Dragon. The Monitor however prefers bugs to blokes with cameras, and a few were spotted burrowing through the undergrowth and wandering along the
beach. We met up with Robin and Beth whom we had met in the morning whilst both looking for a room. For the next four days total rest and relaxation was adhered to, and our most straining of activities was climbing palm trees and snorkeling over the reefs just off our deserted beach. The highlight of the snorkeling came when Robin and Beth spotted what they described as “bloody massive” fish, and afte a scramble in the water to get his mask on, Dave was swimming with some monster ‘Bump Head Parrot Fish’, some around 5 feet long and 2 ½ feet high. They spent their time taking chunks off the coral but could have easily taken a chunk out of your foot, with their large menacing teeth. There’s not a lot more to be said about our life on the island, we stuck to a strict diet of BBQ’s and fresh fruit and managed to last the whole time without a drop of alcohol passing our lips. “Why?” I hear you ask; well Malaysia being a country of predominantly Muslim faith shuns alcohol, and thus the prices are almost the same as at home. Im sure it will do
us good in the long run, painful as it is.
Unfortunately our time on the island had to come to an end, so with a heavier heart and heavier back packs we left for the seaside resort of Cherating, recommended to us by Robin and Beth. Cherating is a sleepy town half way down the east coast that reminded us both of the laid back hippie atmosphere of Pai in Thailand. Unfortunately our first stop was not the town center as planned but our bus driver hauling us off the bus on the main road and leaving us to get a cab from one of the expensive resorts that sprawl the coastline, cheers mate. Lodgings were secured at the welcoming Matahari Chalets, and our ever smiling host Noah, kept Dave entertained with jokes at the expense of an unimpressed Lucy. The reason we went to Cherating was to see the giant sea turtles coming onto the beach to lay their eggs. We were both fascinated by the chance to see this event, and as we having luckily landed smack bang in their mating season, a spotting or two was a certainty. We booked ourselves a trip at the local
Post Office and were told to wait in our hut until someone came to collect us. Just after Twelve and during which time said Post Office owner was going to get a can of whoop ass opened on him by lucy, a knock a the door was greeted with surprise. We were taken up the coast where a small crowd of mostly locals had gathered around a huge female Turtle in the midst of producing anywhere between 70 and 130 eggs. It really was a surreal experience to witness this event, lit by moonlight we stayed for over two hours until the old girl decided enough was enough and made her way slowly but gracefully back to the sea. On our way home we stopped at the hatchery where the eggs are taken to stop them being stolen by poachers. We had no idea at the time but because of the electrical storm the night before, about 500 eggs had hatched, and a following 100 had hatched an hour previous to our arrival, which provided us the opportunity to hold and release these tiny baby turtles. Even at this early stage they are fully formed and look like tiny versions
of their mother and with flippers flapping and in no need of arm bands were ready to be taken to the shore. The baby turtles have to be released on the beach so as they make their way to the water their inbuilt GPS system kicks in, which should they survive to adulthood (around one in a thousand make it) would guide them back to the same spot for the rest of their lives to lay eggs. We both chose a turtle to release and with a kiss for good luck both were released into the South China Sea, I’m sure they’ll be back.
Tot: 2.655s; Tpl: 0.071s; cc: 18; qc: 87; dbt: 0.0972s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb