Where Have All the Rain Forests Gone?

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Asia » Malaysia
August 1st 2009
Published: September 9th 2009
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We arrived at the dreaded Puda Raya Bus Station in good time for our 9am bus to Mersing. 'Dreaded' because it is mega crowded, very dirty,so noisy you can't hear yourself think and scores of buses spewing out hot air making the temperature hotter than hell! Suprise suprise, our bus was delayed an hour. Thankfully when we finally dropped our weary bones into our allocated seat we discovered they were actually quite spacious and comfortable unlike the buses in Indonesia where we were squashed 5 people onto 4 seats that were broken, lost all their stuffing, hot and stuffy with people all around you chain smoking!

We plugged ourselves into our I Pods and settled down for the 6 hour journey to the East Coast. Quite soon after leaving Kuala Lumpur we were driving through picturesque country-side and the road became steep and twisty crossing deep valleys of lush vegetation and wispy rain clouds drifting over the tree tops. However, another hour into the journey and all that was visible on either side were rows and rows of palm plantations as far as the eye could see. This scene continued for hundreds of kilometres and it was truly saddening to
Puda Raya Bus Station, Kuala LumpurPuda Raya Bus Station, Kuala LumpurPuda Raya Bus Station, Kuala Lumpur

Noisy, smelly and hotter than hell!
think how much rain forest has been destroyed to create these plantations.

Just as we arrived in Mersing the rain began. We were greeted by touts tyring to sell us package deals on the islands at hugely inflated prices. We declined and decided to get the first boat over in the morning and check out for ourselves. We checked into Omar's Hostal for the night, it vas very basic, just when I think we can't sink any lower we manage to find somewhere but to be honest it's suprisingly clean,homely and very cheap. The comunal kitchen was a great place to make an early morning cup of coffee. We got the only double room available, all the other beds were in a dorm room. That night, despite Mersing being a small town we managed to find a Pizza Restaurant that served a fantastic meal - Chicken Snitzel in pepper sauce with french fries - no rice! My stomach breathed a sigh of relief!

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