From Pangkor to Penang

Trip Start Jan 29, 2003
Trip End Feb 01, 2004

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Where I stayed

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Tuesday, March 11, 2003

7th March 2003:
After breakfast, we got our gear together and headed to the beach. Now you may know that I am not really a beach dweller, and so the thought of spending the day on the sand did not really appeal to me. It's not the fact that I don't like the sun. In fact my vanity even stretched to me using a tanning bed once a week whilst at uni, its just I find it incredibly boring to just lie down on a beach and do nothing. Though I must admit I did enjoy myself. Despite losing Steves frisbee in the sea after less than an hour, I found that there were things to do! I hired a snorkel mask in a vain attempt to find Steves frisbee, but unfortunately to no avail. There were also trees to climb, rope swings, a football we acquired to play with and in actual fact I spent very little time at all lying down. I did get a few stares which I put down to my beacon like appearance on my shoulders, which are in sharp contrast to the complete white-ness of the rest of my body.
It is a very nice island, and you have little choice but to admire and respect the scenery and views, especially at sunset. Sunset from the beach is especially cool, as there is another small island about 500m away from the beach which the sun sets behind!
This gave me the idea which I suggested to the others of swimming to the island tomorrow, which didn't look too far, and if we hired flippers as well, it would surely take no time providing the sharks and the jelly-fish leave us alone! This would be a proper little adventure, right out of a famous five novel!

8th March 2003:
I woke quite early, though not for a good reason. There was a storm outside meaning the rain was hammering our roof. It looked like there would be no need to pack the cucumber sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer, as our adventure looked ever less likely.
The rain didn't stop. Had lunch - 12 chicken sandwiches for a pound. I only managed 11 though! It eventually stopped raining long enough for us to go down to the beach! Though as soon as we got there, the sun hid behind some clouds. It was clear that we would not be able to swim to the beach now as the current was strong and the waves were large. On return we ate at the hostel, and then I finally finished my War & Peace novel which took me about a month to complete, not surprising when you realise its about half a million words long! Needless to say I won't be reading it again soon, though I'm glad I did. It was quite rewarding!
This evening I thought that the Saints-Wolves match was on, and so got supplies in - namely Beer and Snacks. Though I was mildly dissappointed to find out its on tomorrow!
However we did get to see the Liverpool-Bolton match and the great Arsenal-Chelsea 2-2 clash which was a cracker.

9th March 2003:
Steve needed to get to the jetty this morning, as he needs to get down to KL to meet Kelly, his friend from Basingstoke. It turns out that it costs 10 Ringetts (2 quid) in taxi, whereas it also costs the same to hire a motorbike for an hour. Hmmmmmm!
In a drunken haze I told Steve that I had ridden a motorbike before, and would gladly take him to the jetty, and this way it only cost 5 Ringetts each. What I failed to tell him was that my only other motorbike experience was under the supervision of 'Mad' Mickey Jones on a scrambler in an abandoned quarry over 2 years ago. And worse still my success rate stands at zero, after attempting to ride up an almost vertical dust track, I fell off and the bike landed on top of me. However, this still made me the most experienced, and therefore the most qualified out of all of us.
I got to the bike-hire place, and he asked to see my drivers license. I showed him, to which he told me that this did not allow me to ride motorbikes. However, I could still use one, but if I had an accident, he doesn't know who I am, or words to that effect. I wheeled the bike out of the court-yard, and could feel the eyes of the owner ploughing into the back of my neck, waiting for me to start the bike. I didn't look back, I pushed the bike to a distance where the owner couldn't see me then sat on the bike and tried to figure it out. Right, front brake, back brake, throttle, horn, indicators. Excellent! Hang on, wheres the clutch? I never found it! By the left peg, there was an up gear change and a down gear change, and so this was good enough! After proving to Steve I could ride it by travelling up the dust track a couple of times, he eventually trusted me enough to get on the back. It turned out to be a good half hour drive, though Steve wouldn't let me progress from second gear, and we had a back-pack to take into account. But sure enough, I got him there on time, and managed to get back in extra quick time, and I really enjoyed it. The roads here are so quiet that you can be a motorbike novice and get away with it! I enjoyed it so much that I have definitely decided I will hire another on the next quiet island we visit!
After inquiring about tickets to Butterworth, we were told that none were available as it was Sunday. We were quite diamyed, and asked in our hostel if they could get us tickets. 'Yeah, no problem', and so we left for Butterworth about 3pm!
Our bus took little over 3 hours and was completely air-con, which was nice! We got to Butterworth about 7:30 pm, and then had to get the ferry to Penang which cost 60 sen, about 12p! We sat down and worked out where to go. Jumped in a taxi, and found out our first choice hostel was full, and so we settled for the Oasis Hotel on Love Lane!
feeling a bit delicate, I decided for the simple pineapple fried rice, and mixed veg to eat. Then imagine my surprise and disgust when I found both dishes come laced with sea-food and chicken. Hardly a vegetarian feast at all?
Anyway, the important thing about tonight was the big game! We watched some of the Leeds-Sheffield Utd game and then the Watford-Burnley game, but this was only small fry!
At midnight the real football kicked off, Southampton v Wolves! There were only two other English blokes in the bar, both from Southampton, though one was a Pompey supporter and the other Plymouth Argyle. They seemed like nice enough blokes - Mike & John and we've agreed to meet them for a few beers tonight. Though I don't think I'll be able to enjoy their company for long, they seem to be spending a lot of money. In Hong Kong, John managed to spend 800 pounds in 3 days!!! Though he did confess to this including a couple of whores!
As you will all know by now, after a poor 1st half performance, Saints turned the game around, and came out deserved 2-0 winners over a dejected Wolves team. If somebody could inform Leon of he result, I would be most appreciative!
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