An encounter with a Malaysian Pirate.... arhhhhhhh

Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
Trip End Apr 16, 2011

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Flag of Malaysia  , Terengganu,
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So, after an extra 3 days on Palua Perhentian that we hadn't planned on which was spent playing cards, going for walks in the rain, eating food served by the increasing surly staff in the one cafe that remained open (they wanted to close up for the season and leave too!), getting to know the other nice folks from Belgium, Spain and Australia stranded there with us, the boatmen finally deigned to come and pick everyone up. There then followed an extremely wet and bumpy speedboat ride back to the mainland. This ended in some high tensions when the driver pulled up just short of the jetty and demanded 50 RM from everyone, otherwise he wouldn’t let us off. This was despite that fact that everyone on the boat already had a return ticket. As some of us didn’t have any money left to give him, this caused a bit of a problem. At one point he actually turned the boat around and was heading back into the waves! Eventually we got across to him (after much shouting, hand-waving and unnecessarily threatening gestures from his side) that we would go and get his money at an ATM in the town, but he insisted on holding one of each couple and all our bags hostage on the boat which he then moved away from the pier again in case we tried to make a run for it. We did wonder for a minute whether we had accidentally run into a Somalian pirate. Finally we handed over the cash and left him driving back to the island with one American guy who had called his bluff and point blank refused to pay and Alejandro (the Spanish guy we had met) standing at the ending of the pier shaking his right fist at the departing boatman and swearing profusely in that fabulously Spanish way.

Because of our delay on the island we unfortunately didn’t have any time left to go to any of the other places in Malaysia we had been planning on seeing and needed to make something of a beeline for Singapore where we were looking forward to a weekend of fun with friends. We travelled down to Kuala Lumpur on the night train with Mathieu and Fanchon (a very nice Belgian couple we had met on the island who amazingly weren’t yet bored of our chat) and spent a night in a hostel there.  We briefly explored the city which consisted of going up one of the towers for a view of the fabulous Petronas towers, relieving our China haggling days in the Chinatown market and eating fantastic food at the "buffet cafes" where you basically pick up a plate and spoon, load as much as you can of 6 different types of curry and various other dishes onto a plate, and then have a guy come over with a notepad to try and figure out how much it should cost while you try to hide certain dishes under others and/or eat all of something before he arrives. Generally the guy would give up and then pick some ludicrously low number out of his backside like “6” or “8” which we would happily hand over.

 The next morning we had to get up early and head out to the bus station, risking life and limb by breaking Malaysian law and eating our McD’s breakfast (Sarah’s idea not mine) on the Skytrain on the way out for our “Direct Express” bus to Singapore which actually, inevitably, involved changing buses three times.
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