13 03 2008

The night bus is always the worst. Noise, distractions, heaving over bad roads – everything conspires to keep you awake late into the night. When you’re finally so exhausted that you just can’t stay awake any longer, the bus arrives after only an hour of sleep. But sometimes, even after waiting in the rain for hours for the weather to calm, enduring a terrifying ride on a 20-foot powerboat in 5-foot seas – you step onto soft, clean sand on a southeast Asian island:

Pulau Perhentian Kecil

No shoes in this beachfront cafe. Most of them however are just tents over the sand.

Young Malay girls in the cafe

“Awas” is Malay for danger

This corner of Malaysia is strongly Muslim, thus the flag. A few days ago, the whole island was glued to the few televisions here watching the election results where the center coalition started to fall apart. The Islamist party is quite strong here, but have had little luck pushing mainstream opinion towards strict Sharia law and conservative standards – most Malay are just a little too relaxed to tolerate that for long.

Barbeque on the beach – freshly caught barracuda steaks, mackerel, kingfish…


Just after dawn. Had the whole island to myself.

Monitor lizards abound here. This fellow was about 5-6 feet long. Not dangerous to anyone except the chickens – unless you surprise them in the forest, in which case you might get a lacerating whip from the tail. Usually one just sees a flash of movement and great crashing fleeing noise.

Just after sunset, waiting for customers. The monsoon stayed late this year, meaning the sea route has just opened up and many guesthouses are still repairing damage from the storms and preparing for the floods of people in the summer high season.

This one’s for Mike. Threatened but not endangered (yet) green sea turtle, this one about 5 feet long.

Clownfish, or – as they’re universally known among the dive and snorkel operations here – Nemofish.

Return trip was on a badly overloaded powerboat (18 on a boat rated for 10), barely one foot of freeboard in three foot seas. The driver was extremely skilled, steering around swells, stopping dead on top of waves, shooting sideways from trough to trough. Still everyone got drenched and I was glad to be on dry land. Spent a few hours in the town of Kota Bharu (pics here), then on another night bus to Singapore where I am now. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments.



3 responses

13 03 2008

Oooh! What a treat! Two posts so close together! And lots of photos!

Your two most recent islands look fantastic. There were several pictures on smugmug that made me react out loud–all the funny text (“we love you all,” “be good,” …on top of your head”) and some stunning shots, like the one of the boy looking directly at the camera over his mother’s shoulder. I also really liked the island dawn photos; I’m a big fan of clouds. And the building with the two open windows. And too many others to comment on….

Hope you’re having fun.

13 03 2008

Stunning as always. And it’s always nice to hear that you’re still out there and okay! 😉

xoxox, my brother!

14 03 2008

Oh what a treat. So many wanderful pictures of people and still the scenery and the architecture!! How do I show ALL of them off to everyone! Seems like you also have travel tales to remember as well. Looks like your having a great time. On another front, the painters started today and the kitchen cabinets start tomorrow. So I may have a place for people to stay in July.

Love you always, Mom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: