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Heather Nova part two

MALAYSIA | Friday, 15 May 2009 | Views [641]

Three hours from the island of Penang by ferry is the island of Langkawi, the duty free island of Langkawi!

Q: what does that mean Andrew?
A: amongst other things is that a pint of beer only costs 10RM…happy happy drunken nights!!!!

I rocked up at the main island beach place thingy and got me a nice little aircon chalet for only 35RM (which is just under £7 a night) by some bizarre coincidence it’s only 40m from Debbie’s place an “Irish pub”. Honestly I don’t plan these things!!!!!

So I got here on Friday afternoon and the weekend was spent thus

Wake up around 10am
Have breakfast at midday
Spend the afternoon reading a book, or lounging on the bed with the a/c on max
In the evening, sit in the pub, drink lots of beer and watch football

I also went shopping! Next to the underwater world complex (complete with penguins…if I go there I’ll tell you all about it) are a couple of duty free shops selling high end gear. Needing a new pair of sunglasses and not wanting to buy a cheap pair of knock off’s (with zero UV filtering) I went inside. After trying on several pairs I settled on a pair of Bolle, lightweight with rubber grips (so they won’t slide down my nose). I asked the price and I think my brain must have been fried by the sun because I still brought them. I now have a pair of sunglasses that I need to wear everyday for the next decade to justify the purchase

Debbie’s Place:

There are only four things wrong with this pub

1) Staff saying hello


2) Staff saying goodbye


Both said high pitched insincere fashion, you know, like Americans do.

3) Having a meal

The food is great here but just when you’ve taken a mouthful a member of staff looms into view to ask if you are enjoying your meal…wouldn’t it be obvious???

4) Drinking beer

You’ve got an inch of beer left and a member of staff comes over and asks you if you would like another beer. You answer “not just yet”, a minute later another member of staff comes over and asks the same question!

Mind you the boss spends all night sitting by the till. Maybe she’s told the staff that times are hard and maybe she will have to reduce staff numbers. So they are all being super proactive in a customer service kinda way.

As I don’t work 40 hours a week or spend several hours a week commuting to and from work I need something to whinge about, otherwise I wouldn’t be English. Lets face it I can’t whinge about the weather….everyday is the same….hot and sunny!!!!!

On a Tuesday I hired a little scooter and headed towards a cable car some 15kms away. I didn’t bother with a map as it’s impossible to get lost on a small island. I found out later that nothing is impossible!!!
Arriving at the cable car I saw a big sign with the word closed on it. Damn you routine maintenance schedule. Oh well, another time I said to myself as I jumped back on board my two wheeled chariot.

I sped all over the island looking at the low and high points. I got back to my hut in the late afternoon and did what I’ve been doing since I got here.

On Friday it was a case of déjà vu as I rode a scooter (this time with shockingly bad brakes that made cornering interesting) back to the cable car. This time it was open! It took a quiet five minutes to reach the top, 700m above the sea. From the viewing platforms the whole of Langkawi Island could be seen along with many of the other 98 islands that make up this little place. The views were impressive, the cloud base was no higher than 800m and clouds were strung out across the vistas of land and sea, covering peaks and hiding islands in the distance.

From there I rode the long way around the island to Kuah, the capital. I stopped of halfway for a gander and spent several satisfying minutes practising doughnuts in a deserted gravel covered car park. When I finally got to Kuah I went to the office of East Marine diving and booked a days diving for tomorrow.

In the early morning (yes 8:20am is the early morning for me) I got picked up by the courtesy minibus and headed to the royal yacht club in Kuah. As there were only 4 divers and the same amount of snorkelers we used the small boat. Leaving the harbour behind the twin 200 horsepower engines bolted on the back of the boat opened up and within 45 minutes we had arrived at the Pulau Payar marine park some 19kms away from Langkawi Island. Ditching the snorkelers on the beach we headed off to the 1st dive site. Within minutes we were there and shortly after that I plunged into the blue. Being a marine park it has a no fishing policy so this meant that there were a shed load of fish around. Moving with the gentle current I passed healthy coral hard and soft, all swarming with fish. From large groupers to those tiny little incandescent blue fish whose name I’ve forgotten. On several occasions I looked underneath me to see several rainbow wrasse swimming within inches of me. One even came up and head butted my mask….that was a 1st!

The surface interval was spent on the beach. The snorkelers, mostly Japanese, were going crazy with delight from feeding the hundreds of fish

The second dive was around a small outcrop of green, football field in size. The wildlife was pretty much the same as the 1st dive. After a while we left the coral behind and headed out across the sand. Within a few metres of leaving the coral behind a trigger fish came off the bottom to say hello. If you dive, you know what happens next!!! 8 seconds of frantic on my back fining and I was safe, much to the amusement of my dive buddies!!! We continued across the sand until we came to a couple of wrecks. These were two boats that had been caught fishing in the marine park so the authorities sunk them to create an artificial reef…and so people like me would be kept happy.

I’m still not sure when I will be leaving here….

Some of the books I’ve read whilst I’ve been here

The year of living biblically by A.J. Rouke
Devil may care by Stephen Faulkes writing as Ian Fleming
Isle of dogs by Patricia Cornwell
Deception point by Dan brown
Island of the sequinned love nun by Christopher Moore
Who’s the B*****d in the black by Jeff winter
Sniper one by Sergeant Dan Mills
Tourist season and double whammy both by Carl Hiaasen

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