From the Highlands to the Islands
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
After a couple of hours in the taxi with our extremely nice taxi driver who also seemed to be a free tour guide we got dropped off at a hotel in an unknown location in a very strict Muslim area. The taxi driver explained that the women dressed in burkas were generally Saudi’s but also Jordanians and folks from the UAE. We couldn’t figure out why there were so many fat people here but again the driver said that the Arab states come here just for the cool and spend most of their day inside the room of their ludicrously expensive hotel, oh and inside KFC where it is common (according to him) to see 8 year old boys eat a whole family bucket for themselves "they just love the KFC". They also want to shop but the Cameron Highlands isn’t kitted out like that so that is why there are so many tourist traps here (strawberry farms, honey farms, vegetable shops and most of all food places).
Anyway we waited for over 1.5 hours before we sussed out what we should be doing and we were joined by a raft of other buses all full of tourists. All the minibus drivers stood around for 30 minutes arguing with each other and it created so much confusion. We eventually got a guy to speak to us and said oh it’s that van there. Before this stage all the drivers went together to look at one person’s ticket then all stood arguing over which bus that couple should get in
After another 3 hours we arrived in a small town and again confusion reigned but we soon just sorted ourselves out and jumped on one of the speed boats. Well it was a speedboat with 2 x 200HP engines so we were soon absolutely flying across the open water bouncing off the waves and nearly taking off. The swell wasn’t huge but at that speed it felt huge. By the time we got off the boat 30 minutes later all our faces were tingling and it felt a bit like I had had a face lift.
When the boat stopped a load of water taxis appeared at the side of the boat and we had to climb into the smaller less stable boats with our rucksacks, as soon as you put a foot on the smaller boat it felt like it was going over and we would have a nice dip but we didn’t fortunately though it looked very inviting. We climbed out into the water with our rucksacks and Long beach was all we had hoped for really
The room had a great view of the water but had a bathroom window that was knackered and didn’t shut, the toilet did not flush and leaked onto the floor. The drain was on the opposite side of the floor to the toilet so it leaked all across the floor. This is one of the places you pay before you stay so having forked out an extreme amount of cash I wanted them to at least have a go at fixing some of the things as we knew we would get nothing back we left the key with them but when I ran back from the beach at 20:30 they had not done a thing and just shrugged when I asked about it, I therefore had to take the key and run back to meet the Lady back in the restaurant, it was definitely time to move on the following day
We went out for something to eat. The restaurant was nice and cheap and for two pounds I had a Malay King Fish curry and rice, Lady E had a Ceaser salad (why I don’t know). The place was unlicensed so we had a bottle of water then later on in the night we noticed a beer seller on the beach with a big cool box full of ice filled with beer but at 10 Ringgits per small can (£2) we were not going to have any more than one.
The people working in the restaurant were two transvestites dressed in makeup and dresses and it seemed surreal to have the middle eastern women dressed in Burkas being served by these two guys, the middle eastern men didn’t seem to take to them much but they were lovely and always sat down with you to have a quick chat while they took your order. The restaurants lit the half oil drum barbeques and huge prawns, king fish, squid, shark, and stingray were all put out next to the only light they had.
The beach had started to come alive and the only two bars on the beach had been lit with candles, hooker pipes and tiny tables where you just sit on the sand it was very atmospheric and we had started to fall for this place big time especially when they put Air on the sound system it really was special and became the perfect chilled out holiday island. We walked back along the beach to a wonderful sky full of superb bright stars not spoiled by any light pollution. We got an early night.