Food attacks, Car attracts, Kuah detracts

Trip Start Dec 12, 2012
Trip End Jan 03, 2013

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Flag of Malaysia  , Kedah,
Thursday, December 27, 2012

J-she arises to greet the porcelain bowl. She's not a happy camper and blaming the hotel dinner the night before. I’m blaming the dodgy staff lunch from Noordin the day before.
Either way, there’s not much on J-she’s agenda.

I take a walk up to the jetty past Tengah beach and peruse the car hire opportunities. There’s a place called T Shoppe (whats with the olde worlde 'e’ thing?) doing reasonable deals. I go back to check with J-she and search other, cheaper tight arse hire options. J-she isn’t showing much
interest in anything. She pales at the thought of hiring a car…oh hang on, that odd pallor might be something to do with food poisoning.

By the time I wander back to ye olde worlde T Shoppe there are no cars left. I ask the hotel staff what they can manage, we want a car we can drop off back at the airport. The staff aren’t much interested in helping us out. They ring one place and come back some time later with one expensive option. In the meantime I’ve managed to ring 3 places and check out at least 4 options…and I’m not a local.

J-she isn’t interested in doing anything which involves motion, unless it’s toilet related.

I manage to coax her out of the room and we wander off up the road to find a car. It would be a tragedy to remain marooned on an island without transport.

We barely make it 800 metres up the road and there is a car rental agency with a single lonely car out the front. It’s doors are wide open and it’s calling us.

We wander in and hire it. Probably the most expensive car on the island but J-she couldn’t be bothered bargaining or exploring other options. She just wants it sorted and get out of the heat, and go lie down again.

Invigorated by our new found mobility and access to explore the delights of Langkawi we drive to Kuah, the seedy port capital of Langkawi, and seek out some duty free retail delights.

Guided by a local mag which seems to have an insiders view of Langkawi we peruse the streets of the Kuah ‘banking district’ looking for bargains, and find none. It’s hot and unattractive shopping. We wander over to a dilapidated shopping mall and are struck immediately by the fact this place is NOT AIRCONDITIONED !! A shopping mall in Malaysia that isn’t airconditioned? !! What is going on here? 80% of the shops are out of business, shutters closed, and the remaining few are very much Muslim oriented. The place seems more like a 2nd rate school fete than a shopping mall. I’m not surprised. No aircon.

We leave unimpressed. The heat, the walking, and lack of aircon is taking it’s toll on poor ol’ J-she so I take her to a food stall located on an island (a concrete island) in the middle of the road. It’s very much a locals establishment and we cautiously try to order something simple and not too spicy for J-she. We don’t want to get anything which will inflame her sick and sorry stomach. No luck, we get spicy.

We wander round the corner to go to the toilet after lunch and I come across a cheery man as he exits the cubicle, no doubt just evacuating his bowels, he wishes me a Merry Xmas, fails to wash his hands and wanders off. As J-she and I go back to our car we see our happy man
return to his duties as the kitchenhand at the very place we’ve just eaten !! He’s busy sticking his e-coli infested hands into the big sink of dishes on plates we’ve just eaten from ! Uh oh. Hopefully he didn't do any business before lunch. I also find it surprising because I've never seen such insistent and habitual hand washing in any other country than Malaysia.

We drive up the road and find another mall….aaah, aircon. And more shopping options. We meander around and buy some duty free alcohol.

I’ve been desperate for a haircut since I left travelling so I risk it at the local hairdressers. I’m pleasantly surprised. It’s not K-pop style, and not boring old man either, kind of middle of the road.

Kuah as a tourist attraction is leaving nothing to be desired beyond cheap duty free grog. It's all a bit tatty and worn out looking. There's big empty decrepit hotels right next to even bigger new hotels, just a few years from being old and decrepit themselves, it seems. The entire town looks like it's seen better days...or maybe not.

J-she is weary and tired and still quite ill, so I kindly and considerately decide to take her to the top of the mountain, Gunung Raya, at sunset. A windy road to the top with a vertigo inducing view, what could be better for food poisoning?

Navigating to the hilltop turnoff proves challenging, all the road signs seem to point to somewhere else. Including Kuah, which we are driving away from !

On the way up we see a group of dusky monkeys sitting by the road and some hornbills. Of course the ever-present evil macaques are everywhere. We discover later that spying the dusky monkeys is a real treat and quite rare. We didn’t even stop to take photos assuming they'd be everywhere (if you believe the tour pamphlets which are adorned with endless pictures of them). As we discovered later, they are actually quite shy and we were very fortunate to have seen them.

The top of the hill is dull and the sea mist and humidity make the view too grainy. J-she is feeling ill and the photo-tunities are minimised by the humid sky. And it’s cold and windy. Yes, cold.

We retire back to La Pari Pari and watch local Malay TV. It’s cheesy and we can’t understand it. Who cares.

Still no Durian, Dusky Monkeys !, J-she too sick to care.

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