Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Penang-Kota Baru-Kapas-Kuantan-KL

We seem to be here in the wet season. At least, it rains in the afternoons, after wonderful, sunny days. This means that it is cooler in the evenings, which is perfect.

From the bus from Penang to Kota Baru we saw a lot of tired clouds. They were tired of holding themselves up in the sky, and were resting in the hills. They draped themselves into valleys amongst the trees and looked exhausted and beautiful.

I also saw a sign with the silhouette of an elephant on it. I looked and looked for elephants, but apparently the sign was lying. I am glad it was, because the bus was going so fast it was overtaking fast cars, and even though it was a big bus I don't think it would have done very well in an encounter with an elephant at high speed. (Not that the elephant would have done much better.) Fortunately The Man was asleep. He hadn't wanted to take the night bus because, he said, it was like racing in the F1 Grand Prix in the dark on a mountainous road. He was sure the wheels left the road at times on the trip he took a few years back.

We had seen a lot of monkeys at the zoo in Taiping, and heard them in the jungle, and they must have made a big impression on me, because in Kota Baru when The Man went to the bathroom in the night and flushed the toilet, making it gurgle (it was a noisy toilet) I had a very vivid dream that a monkey was outside the window, vomiting loudly. This woke me up (it would have woken you up, too) and when I realized it was just a dream I told The Man about it. He told me I wasn't making any sense and went back to sleep. But it did make sense, and it was a very LARGE monkey, vomiting a LOT. So what if it was just a dream?

In Kota Baru we didn't have time to get to an Internet cafe, or at least we did, but it was closed. We left after that for Pulau Kapas, a little island on the east coast that we visited three years ago. We wanted to stay in the same chalets as we did last time, but they were full the first night with a noisy gathering of teachers from KL, so we stayed next door. We didn't like it there, so moved after the teachers had gone. Then we had two full days, getting all sandy, snorkelling and swimming and generally being very relaxed because there was nothing else to do.

The fish were biting very well. One bit me, even. It was a traumatic experience and potentially dangerous, because I discovered it is impossible to laugh hysterically while wearing goggles and a snorkel without getting water up your nose. I had never seen such an annoyed wee fish and it was pretty funny. If I'd laughed any harder I might have drowned.

You can see the mainland from the island, and the lights are pretty at night. My friend told me one evening, as we were sipping drinks and gazing over that way, that she had seen lightning to the right of that right white light, and I was impressed and asked her to say it again, faster.

After the island we went to Kuantan, but only for one day. We wanted to pay a visit to a cafe we discovered last time we were there, and to drink watermelon juice on the riverfront. These may seem like trivial reasons to visit a place, but it was worth it. I was slightly dismayed to discover that the cafe has since become famous enough to make it into the Lonely Planet (hey! That was MY cafe! I discovered it!) but happy to find that it hadn't changed much. We spent a little time in there chatting with the owners.

But the best thing in Kuantan this time was our taxi driver, whose picture and name and number I will post here when I get back to Japan and can upload my pictures. If you are ever in Kuantan and need a taxi, PHONE HER. I promise you will not be disappointed (or cheated), but you will be entertained, will laugh more than you ever expected to in a taxi, and if you are brave you will want to adopt her and take her home.

We have decided that our taxi driver should be Queen of the World. We will send her to the world's trouble spots and she will sort everybody out in no time at all. At the same time she will make them laugh so hard they will not even notice that they are being sorted out. She would be a FABULOUS Queen and make everybody happy.

Also in Kuantan, some very small boys decided it would be funny to poke my friend and I in the bottom, and terrorized us until we got the bright idea of tickling them into submission. After that they gave up and wandered off, arms around each other. They were cute, but rather frightening. You know how you clench your bottom when someone pokes you there? I was worried I would be coming home with a Malaysian child's finger in my bottom. That would have been an interesting souvenir.

We arrived back in KL tonight, and have four more days before returning to Japan. Our first job when we got here was an emergency laundry visit. Then Chinese food. (The east coast doesn't have much Chinese food.) And now we're here, finally getting to check my email and update this. More will follow soon, I hope, but catching up on my usual reading will have to wait until I get back to Japan. I hope you are all having as good a summer as I am.

OK, lah!


kenju said...

What a nice vacation you are having! I know some people who went to some of those areas last year and I got to see their photos. I can't wait to see yours too.

toniXe said...

Kapas is a wonderful island, glad u love it ! I had a nice holiday here 2 a few days ago