Saturday, July 08, 2006

Penang and Langkawi

After the Cameron Highlands we travelled to the island of Penang and stayed in the city of George Town. Although it was another city I enjoyed myself here. I had expected it to be quite English due to the past Colonial rule, but it was actually more like how we imagined a SE Asian city to be; Slightly chaotic. tumble down. but full of life. We had to acclimatise to the heat again as we had been in the Highlands.The first day we were there, the heat was intense.

We stayed at a hotel where the double room cost about 3 pounds sterling. Tim ended up paying more for his pint in an English style pub we went into to escape the heat. It had the english pub in the afternoon, bit down to a t, complete with bored old men propped up at the bar and a feeling of depression hanging in the air.

We wandered around George Town for a couple of days and then caught the ferry to Palau Langkawi which is the island which my friends Nicola and Karl had their honeymoon on. We stayed at a guesthouse on the edge of the rainforest, 100 metres from the beach which you could get to by walking through another hotels grounds. A man who talked in a loud American accent, but who was German, arrived with his girlfriend at the same time as us. I don't know why they bothered coming. They had been travelling since last August ( something which we heard again and again) and he kept saying things like, "once you've seen one waterfall you've seen them all" and "you know, once you've seen one lovely white sandy beach, you've seen them all" in a loud annoying whiny american accent. As soon as they got to the hostel they put a dvd on. I think they must have been a bit travel weary, but I think if I got to that point I would have to go home. It felt like they were going through the motions.

We had a lovely time though, and we saw a lovely waterfall which was actually quite different to other waterfalls that I have seen so that guy was wrong! We hired a little car and drove round the whole island. Our first stop was seven wells waterfall where when you climb to the top there is a natural waterslide which are rocks you can slide down into several little pools. It was great fun! I went first, but managed to slide a little way, before the curent pushed me into a little side pool, which I had difficulty getting out of! I couldn't pull myself up the slippery rock to get out, so I ended uo looking like a beached whale trying to haul myself out whilst Tim just stood there laughing at me. I don't think I looked very becoming.

Tim went next and he slid down all the way. He looked really cute as he kept turning round with a really excited grin on his face! I had another go and did it right this time. I yelped on the way as it was quite fast and hurt my bum when I went over the rocks, but I really enjoyed it. I think some local kids who were there were bemused by us. It would have been a brilliant place to hang out at their age. I could imagine just spending all my time there with my mates, laughing at pasty foreigners thrashing around in the pools.

Next we headed to the cable car which is the steepest in the world. It was very high and was lovely to ride above the jungle canopy. When we got to the top, the cloud was closing in, but there was still a bit of a view over the island and the tree tops. There was a suspension bridge at the top too which was ncie to walk over. It was along way down.

We drove to Tunjan Rhu, to see the hotel and beach which Nicola and Karl stayed in. As we got there, there were dramatic clouds and a storm brewing over the sea. We walked down the beach and when the wind picked up ( a sign that the storm was going to break) we headed back to the car. We were just in time as the rain started pelting down. We waited it out for a bit, but it seemed like it wasn't going to let up so we decided to just head off. However, instead of getting better it got worse and at one point the rain was so heavy I couldn't see anything ahead, so had to drive at snail's pace. We had hoped to go to more beaches, but because of the rain we decided to head back. We had done a full circuit of the island, but still had loads of fuel left. (We only put a fiver in in the first place and it filled the tank). We drove to nearby Cenang beach for tea and it was a lovely ending to a lovely day.

The rest of our time on Langkawi we went to the beach and ate and drank (juices in my case) at a local bar called Cactus which is obviouly very popular, looking at the comments which cover the ceiling and wall. I saw a letter on the wall along with a photo which had been sent of a man called Roy from Lowestoft! I didn't recognise him though. The owner of the bar, Ba, kept bringing us local fruits and wooden puzzles to play. I have a new favourite drink called Sour sop which is the juice of a fruit by the same name. We spent time at the hostel as well, reading, listening to the sounds of the jungle, stroking the 3 dogs they had and laughing at the dogs going mad at the pet monkey (which I didn't stroke as it was always too angry at the dogs). We met a few nice peole here as well. There was a really nice Czech couple who we didn't say an awful lot to due to the language barrier, but there was alot of grinning and waving of arms which said it all and a lot more then what the american\German bloke had said- and he said a lot.

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