Saying goodbye to Malaysia

Trip Start Jul 30, 2010
Trip End May 29, 2011

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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Every man's memory is his private literature."
Aldous Huxley.

After WaterColours we headed back at Bubbles for one last week of snorkelling and lazing on the beach. Dollah treated us like long-lost cousins and we were welcomed back with open arms. What followed was a fairly uneventful but relaxing week of reading, snorkelling and trying to figure out what we can leave out for our IndoChina tour (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia) in attempt to get our main luggage down to 15kg each

Highlights of the week: seeing a couple of baby BTR sharks swimming together. They're about a metre long and dart around the rocks and swim languidly in the shallows. The other highlight was finding the small Green Turtle swimming just off the beach again and swimming behind it for a while before it surfaced for air and then sped back down to the depths where we couldn’t follow.

Weather hasn’t been so sunny, whilst it’s hot, sometimes very hot, it’s now mostly cloudy as the monsoon season is almost on us. The resort is now almost closed. I think along with Paul (facilitator) we are the only 'guests’ left, everyone else is staff which is what we feel like sometimes especially as we’d been helping in the closing up of the resort for the monsoon.  Claire’s been helping out sorting out bedding and laundry and I helped clean some of the diving and snorkelling equipment.

Our last day at Bubbles brought a tear to Claire's eye as we boarded the boat to Kuala Besut and we were waved off by the handful of staff still at Bubbles. We’d managed one last swim in the sea in the morning and dried off in the sun, which had broken thru’ the clouds. A perfect day, but sadly our last. We’d been there for about 5 weeks in all and were made to feel more almost part of the family and it’s probably the longest we’ll stay in any one place on this trip so perhaps understandably we did sort of put down roots.

The journey from Kuala Besut to Kota Bharu was a typically hair-raising mini-bus tour, made more so because we hadn’t see a car/mini-bus for the last 6 weeks let alone travelled in one. Unsurprisingly Kota Bahru hadn’t changed and was dirty and busy but the room we got back at the Crystal Lodge was a bit better than on our first visit.

Our stay in Kota Bharu was only a stop-over as was our next destination, the mad-house that is KL where we were meeting Katie and Maz (from WOX - the orang-utan project) for a drink and a bite to eat.

The flight from KB to KL was quite a poignant one. From my window-seat I could see the Perhentians just off of the coast and as we flew higher and into the clouds the islands finally disappeared into the mist.

KL was KL. Mad, chaotic and grid-locked. The Pacific Regency was an oasis of calm in the centre of KL, overlooking KL Tower., Okay it's corporate, impersonal and has a petty dress code for its bar but it's about 10 mins walk to the Petronas Towers where we met up with Katie and Maz. Since they had an early flight to Kuching the following morning we didn't keep them out too late but it was really good to catch-up with them both and the news and gossip and what's happening to the Orang-Utan project.

The following morning we managed to get ourselves up early and queued for tickets to the skywalk at Petronas towers. After a couple of hours we had our tickets and we went and did a bit of window-shopping in the biggest mall I've ever been in. At midday we zoomed up to the 41st floor to look out over KL before zooming up further to the 82nd floor for an even higher view. But, and I know I sound like a bit of a grouch, but there isn't that much to see. Not as interesting as London from the Eye and not as colourful or as varied as Singapore.

We leave Malaysia with some wonderful memories, many of which I've tried to blog, from the No.8 Guesthouse in KL which we'll remember for all the wrong reasons to the privilege of being able to work with Orang-utans finishing off with the luck and excitement in finding and swimming alongside a huge Green Turtle in the perfect Perhentians. 

We've meet some lovely people along the way from the volunteers we've worked with (Big Hello to Laura and Gareth especially), the facilitators (esp Katie, Maz & Paul) and the people we've stayed with which basically means Bubbles (Libby & Dollah).

Let's hope the next leg of the trip is as good as Malaysia has been.
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