Sunday, August 27, 2006

When Monkeys ATTACK!

It was just gone 05:00 when the bus let us off at Cherating. We didn't really have a clue where we were so walked down a road signposted for Legends Resort. I asked the gate guard if he could point to where we were on the map in our guidebook. 'Hmmm,' he said, 'that is actually another 4km that way.' The driver had let us off at the first Cherating related sign and not at Cherating village which is where we wanted to be. The guard took pity on us and suggested that we wait in the lobby of the resort for a couple of hours until the buses started running. Given that I could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance we quickly took him up on the offer and sat in the deserted lobby. At this point after an entire day and night travelling I think we probably looked a bit like tramps so the offer was very nice of him. After a half hour of sitting waiting, a receptionist appeared so we related the story to her. Again, she was very nice about it. Out of curiosity we enquired about how much a night at the resort was. She replied, '260 Ringitt.' This was very much above our normal nightly rate so we returned to sitting quietly. After a while though fatigue set in and we decided that we could afford 1 night in a nice place. When we asked to check in she took pity on us and forewent the high-season surcharge so we got RM55 off. Off we went to shower and collapse on the bed.

The room was quite nice, with a pool and a sea view. We had a very chilled out day with some walking on the beach, swimming in the pool and reading on the balcony. We didn't fancy the high restaurant prices so for lunch we walked out to a minimart and bought a ghetto lunch of cup noodles, tuna spread and crackers. For dinner we walked out again to a restaurant on the main road. All in all it was a pleasant day, and we justified the cost of the hotel room by averaging it with the previous day where we'd had no accomodation costs. The next morning we checked out, handed in a letter to the manager praising the kindness of his staff and walked back up to the main road to catch a bus.

We didn't wait too long before catching a local bus to Cherating village, the place we'd wanted to go in the first place. Cherating village is basically just a small road parallel to the beach and reached by a two roads coming from the main road. After a quick drink in one of the cafes we walked to the accomodation we'd chosen, Tanjung Inn. Although a little more expensive than some of the other chalet operations nearby it was worth it. The A-frame chalets are all set around a lake in a beautifully landscaped garden. Another couple of chilled days were spent on the veranda of the chalet, reading, and walking on the beach. In town we stopped a couple of times to take photos of some monkeys. The first time they quite happily and lazily posed for us, but I think they were just lulling us into a false sense of security. The second time we stopped they were in a large bin eating bread rolls or some other discarded monkey delicacy. I snapped one photo, then was going for another of a different monkey when Gemma squealed, 'Tim! Watch out!' I looked down to find a large monkey coming towards me with bared teeth and looking very very angry. I began to scoot back across the road but my new 50p flip flops weren't having any of it. All of a sudden I was prone on the road with the monkey still advancing toward me. I did the only thing I could think of which was growl loudly at the monkey. Fortunately this confused him enough that I was able to get up and make good my escape. I got away with several scrapes on my leg, foot and hand but I think that was preferable to a monkey bite.

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