Big Island Family Style
Trip Start Feb 23, 2006
168Trip End Jun 24, 2009
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I counted 31 people on our way out. I guess that just means paying passengers as there were about 20 Malays on the boat. For some strange reason, I was the only one getting off at Teluk Dalam and heading to a place that the Lonely Planet wrote up as, "This shabby collection of ramshackle A-frames and bungalows is serviced by indifferent staff." As with any LP entry, it's only as accurate as the person and the place at any particular snapshot in time will permit. But I have to tell you, my mileage in this case definitely varied from their report. As I got off the boat, Syam met me half way and said that they weren't open from the monsoon season yet. I asked them if I could have a bungalow anyway because I was supposed to meet Eddie there. He said sure, 20RM or $6/night. The restaurant hadn't opened yet, so I just ate with the family. It was a bit weird at first, but after they figured I wasn't on a touch and go tour of Asia when I put my hammock up in front of the resort, everyone warmed up and welcomed me with open arms. I don't think they could have been any more hospitable than they were. They took me in just as if I was one of the family. There were a few of the relatives' families on holiday at the resort celebrating the season opening so there were lots of people around. I spent many hours shooting pool with the staff. They didn't have a cue ball so we played a modified version of 8ball where the 8ball was the cue ball and you just played high low. Syam is an excellent shot and plays a very defensive annoying style of pool. He would cover all the pockets with his balls so I couldn't pocket any balls and when he got close enough, he just ran out the table. He won most of the early games until I decided to play his style and won the next race to 5, 5-0.
Since they weren't open yet, I was pretty much the only foreigner staying on this part of the island. Until I saw a dive boat go out next door, I didn't think anyone else was on the island. The family's kids were the best. They didn't speak much English, but we still managed to communicate and play all day anyway. They were so good too. Until I emerged from my bungalow after 10am, they didn't make a sound, but once I was out of bed, I was fair game unless I was reading in my hammock. All through the day you could hear cries of Uncle Shum, Uncle Shum... let's play this, let's play that... swimming... I'd pick them up and throw them around the water. One day the sea lice was particularly bad and all the kids were itching and scratching so I got some vinegar from the kitchen, rubbed it over their bites and moved them to another part of the beach. As crazy as it seems, I went to Malaysia and actually met some of the locals. We went out one day to the fishing village on the small island and I found some candy for the kids. I wanted to get them some beach toys, but it was pretty slim pickings in the village.
There was a very strange sight in the back of the bungalows. Out back by the generator, there was a typical suburban ranch style house you'd find anywhere in the States. Fritz, an Indonesian guy who used to work for the US Government and his HK Chinese wife built this house and live in the back of Everfresh. They've got a 20 year visa and a 20 year lease on the land. He was diving in Sipadan for most of the week I was there, but when he came back he had a huge chicken and fish barbecue in his back yard. Emmmm.... protein. Sometimes, I don't think I am getting enough with all the carbs I eat in rice and noodles. Atkins would have a fit living in Asia.
All in all I had a great relaxing fun week at Everfresh. Thank you guys so much for your hospitality and all the interesting food. I'm sure I would have never tried half of the things we ate on my own. Terima Kasi. Jumpa Lagi (Thank you. See you next time)
I spent a few days back over on small island, Kecil before heading back to Thailand. It was great at D' Lagoon. I saw more fish and turtles here in 30 minutes than I saw all week over on Big Island even when I swam out to Shark Point. About 20 minutes after I arrived at D' Lagoon, I was in the water out looking for fish. I saw a 1M shark which I chased after and a 2M shark that I sorta just looked at from a much too close distance. I just waved at him and gave him the much due respect a 2M black tip reef shark should get. I also saw the biggest parrot fish I've ever seen with a huge bump on it's head, almost 2M and as wide as a house. It took me another 2 days to see a greenback turtle, but after that I was happy and could move on.
* Travelers note: If you have a mobile phone, buy a Celcom SIM before going to Teluk Dalam, Maxis almost doesn't have a signal at all.