We left our stuff in the room, showered the sweat and tiredness away under a cold shower before heading to the beach. My plan was to stay 3 nights and then I would go to the Cameron Highlands before going to KL. Sarah and Julian would stay 5nights. Our first few days were very relaxed and chilled and Julian even started his PADI training while Sarah and I lay on the beach and concentrated on our tans. Each night, there was a fire dancing show at Beach Bar which played catchy dance tunes and provided amazing entertainment. It seemed as the nights went on and the more local we became, that this place was drawing more and more crowds in. Our first day we ate at one of the locak beach cafes which was where we saw Michel from Germany. It wasn’t until the fireshow that night, that we invited him over and got chatting with him. Julian had invited him to join his PADI training which he agreed he wanted to do. The next few days were great, we were living the island beach life, we had been hanging around with Michel and Julian was loving his PADI course. At first it was a bit frustrating having no electricity at certain times of the day but with time, we became accustomed to knowing when we could use the wifi and charge our electronics, and with only one plug between us, it somehow seemed to work.
A few days later we bumped into Diego once again who was staying at Moonlight guesthouse and he mentioned that Dave and Willem had arrived. That evening we met them at the fire show where they introduced us to a group of their new friends. We chatted for a the rest of the night until Sarah and I headed to bed. I said my goodbyes as I had booked my ticket to the Cameron Highlands to leave the next morning. After a short chat with the guys about how much better it would be to stay on the island and how boring the highlands would be, It dawned on me that I was leaving just as my friends arrived, and I didn’t want to. Subsequently, I told Julian and Sarah I was not going, and instead forfeited my bus ticket, my hostels deposit and in turn opted to stay 2 more nights with them in Matahari, which ended up working out for us all! The next night, we all arranged to walk the jungle pathway to Coral beach to have dinner together. When we got there, we joined the table of over 10 people at Mama’s restaurant on the beach. It was here that we met Michael from Switzerland, two of Julian’s friends from home and a few others who were sat at the opposite end of the table. It was always great meeting new people and I loved moments like this, chatting about travel stories, future plans and pretty much anything ‘random’. Afterwards, guess what we did… We went to the fire show again. It was hard not to go when there was always so many people there and the music was so great but we still laughed about how many nights we had actually been here. This would be our 4th. The show, for me, never got old and I could have sat and watch the skilled dancers all day if I could, It was awesome, literally! I decided to have a few beers, considering I hadn’t drank the night before with everyone, I thought sure why not! One by one, we would casually walk to the cheap beer vendor alongside the beach bar and save ourselves a few RM. As the evening went on, the group got smaller, some people tired from the previous night and some opting to get up early for their PADI. I on the other hand, was the last one standing, with Toby and Michael. We drank more beer and eventually moved on to Toby’s Lychee liqueur which was a bad idea. We stayed there till what I had thought was around 2am but later found out it was well after 4am, before heading off to bed before the sun came up. Even at that hour, the music still blared from the beach bar and they continued to practice their fire dancing on stage which was cool! Michael and I had arranged to meet for breakfast at Panorama the next morning which deep down I knew wasn’t going to happen, nevertheless I agreed and set my alarm in the hopes of getting myself up. From what Julian told me, and told Michael, it seemed that my alarm did in fact go off but that I quickly turned it off and headed back asleep. I felt bad but knew I couldn’t get up just yet.
Later on after some stints of sunbathing and time washing away my hangover shame in the cold sea, we arranged to have dinner that night at Panorama, as a sort of farewell for everyone. I had gone to my yoga class at 6pm on the beach, not the best idea hungover, but I felt like I needed to, and afterwards I got ready for our last night. I had been attending the yoga since I heard about it the day before, from an Argentinian girl who had seen me doing yoga on the beach. I joined the beach class and met Neils and his wife from Germany, both of whom coincidentally live in Rishikesh with their children. I told them about my training and I found out that the Argentinian girl had studied her Yoga TT in Rishikesh also. It was so nice to be around people who loved yoga as much as me and even though I had been doing it myself every morning, it was nice to have some guidance today. Half of the group ate at Coral beach and half of us at at Panorama, including a girl Sarah had met in Spain a year prior. It was weird that these reunions kept happening and I couldn’t help but think of the coincidence of meeting Andy, a guy I had met in Goa, again here on this island. It was so weird!
After dinner, we of course went to our last fire show, and I had of course apologised to Michael for standing him up. He joked about having flowers and candles set up and told me about all the effort he had put in… At least I think it was a joke! Ha! During the night as we all chatted and mingled with many new people, we thought it would be funny to pretend that we were on our honeymoon here on the islands together. It was all in aid of joking with a group of French guys who had joined us, but with more and more questions about how we met, the wedding and all of that, it became a bit more serious. Ooops! We couldn’t let them down now eh! Gradually everyone went their separate ways at different times, some to sopt glowing plankton in the sea, some to mingle with others and some to take over the dancefloor. It was a great night! That was until I realised at one point that my bag was gone, I had obviously left it down somewhere and with drink in my system, forgotten where I had put it. I could have screamed, but with yoga training, I kept my cool, kept calm and looked on the positive side. My phone was gone, my precious phone but my passport was safe at home which was my number 1 priority. My driving license was gone too but sure, I hated it anyway It was an excuse to get a new modern one. None of my cards were gone literally just some change, and an inhaler, which I had lots of anyway! My poor phone though! We searched the beach with Michael's flashlight but there was nothing. A few young boys also helped, but I couldn’t tell if this was another Sihanookville incident and they were actually in on it. Sure what could I do now!
I headed to bed with an hour or so to spare before it was time to get up and get our 8am ferry! When the alarm went off, I hopped up with a banging head, got my bag ready and headed to the beach for one last look before I had to leave. With no luck, I asked at the beach bar, where the fire dancers took my email address just in case it turned up, they also offered me a morning beer, in island life style, but I declined, I had enough beer in me. After I headed back, we grabbed our bags, checked out and the four of us including Mike headed to our boats. He left before us, while our boat didn’t actually leave until 8:45/9am and Julian had a bus to catch at 10am. We waited on the beach, took another search stroll but nothing. The boat came and just as I was about to get on, I saw Michael, who came over to say goodbye. He told me he would let me know if it turned up, but I had little faith that it would. It was sad to say goodbye, and now after arriving in Borneo 24 hours later, I am regretting not staying and saving myself all this hassle. The trip to Borneo pretty much has to be the most challenging trip I’ve had on this journey so far. Where do I begin?
The three of us swayed side to side, as we sped along the sea in this speed boat that seemd to be a toy for the teenage drivers. Hungover as hell and exhausted, I just wanted to get there, book my ticket, arrive in K.L and take my flight, but no, no way was that going to happen. When we arrived just at 10am, Julian said goodbye and ran to catch his bus to Taman Nagara, while sarah and I headed to the bus station to find a way for me to get to KL and her to Bangkok. We were told that because of a national Malaysian holiday, the bus to KL was full at 9am and for the one at 8:30pm. I knew I wouldn’t make my flight if I left that late, plus id booked my accommodation at Reggae Mansion for that night. When the time came, and after much deliberation and decision making, Sarah and I sadly parted ways, which left me with a hole in my stomach. I was alone again! I hated these moment, and I knew I would miss all my new friends a lot! She hopped in a cab to the Thai border while a lovely tour operator gave me another option. I could get a taxi to another bus station and take a 5/6hr bus to Kuantan and while there I could take a bus to Kuala Lumpur which goes every hour. Great I thought! I took the 25RM cab to the station and then booked a 35RM bus to Kuantan which I was told would leave at 11:30am not at 1pm like I had been told so this was a start. I walked around looking for an ATM but couldnt find one so instead I used my last bit of money to buy some food and water. When my bus came, another lovely tour lady pointed it out to me. The bus journey took almost 7hours and arrived in Kuantan at 6:30pm. When I got out, I went straight to the bus tickets counters and was told that all buses were full apart from one or two that had space at 10:30pm. There was no way I was making it to Reggae Mansion so it dawned on me to take the 10:30pm bus and just go straight to the airport. I would be exhausted but I had no choice. By sheer luck I found a shower for 1RM, so I killed an hour under the cold fresh water and pampered myself to pass the time.
When I was finally ready, I went and stacked up on some roasted chickpeas, veggie snacks and dried pineapple, you would never guess I’m a veggie eh! The next bus ride, due to leave at 10:30pm didn’t in fact leave until 45 minutes after which frustrated me. When on board, I had the most ridiculous seat at the back which didn’t recline or fold out beneath. I constantly kept falling from side to side banging my head and occasionally used my bag as a pillow which was even worse. There were numerous stops in KL, so I waited until the end, where I was told that a taxi was the only way to the airport from there and would cost 100RM. It was no use thinking about the train or the bus considering the time of day it was. I didn’t want to take a taxi of course, but what could I do, stay in KL and have to book another flight if I still wanted to go to Kuching. No, I decided to get away from the annoying, creepy man and luckily I did because a lovely old Chinese lady pulled up and told me to get in that she could take me for 80RM. We had a nice chat as we drove the hour journey, and she told me about the dangers of getting taxi’s in Malaysia because apparently anyone, no matter what background you have, can be a taxi driver which is pretty scary. I couldn’t help but think of the consequences of getting into the other taxi, but I guess my gut was right and I ended up in safe hands with this sweet lady. I drifted in and out of sleep as she talked about random things, but I was so tired that I couldn’t stay awake. I woke up just as we arrived and I waved her off, thanking her for her help. My flight to Kuching was due to leave around 7:25am but I was nervous checking in with no boarding pass, after my Goa experience and this time I had phone to show an email. Luckily the woman had no qualms about it and issued me my ticket. And this is where it gets me to, starting my Perhentian blog. Currently I have arrived at Beds Hostel in Kuching, Borneo and am still pretty wired. I have already met some cool people who I will go sightseeing with today, so who knows what Borneo will bring for me.
Hopefully all good things!