In the Dead of Night
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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We were told not to go to Pangkor Island by various people in various places for various reasons, so it was only natural that we had to come here.
It worked out well from the off really. We shared the boat over from Lumut with a couple of young pommie guys we met in the Highlands (James and Dave) and got ourselves a six-bed family room in a tidy guest house right on the beach in Teluk Nipah. Six English lads piled into a room on a cheap tropical island. Imagine the rest.
The weather on arrival wasn't great and limited our options a bit, so we resorted to a bit of hammock slumming, crab chasing and general pissing about on a serenely unspoiled beach with a 10p football we bought from one of the beachfront sellers in the village. We were the only westerners there. It was perfect.
This doesn't appeal to everyone of course, and when we found a note the next morning from James and Dave saying they'd caught an early boat back to the mainland to tick off some more destinations, I wasn't overly surprised. It really must suck to be on a time limit, and today was proof of that when their early departure gave way to a classic delivery of Murphy's Law, which clearly arose from their decision to move on without seeing the island. And so it went..
This particular day was a great day of randomness and hair-raising fun. Decisions were made promptly. Dave did 'the standard' and got comfortable down on the beach at Daddy's Bar with a beer and a book. Liam took off with a daypack to go looking for jungle lizards and Nick and me decided to rip up the island on a couple of scooters and get up to a bit of mischief.
We actually found the scooter hire place by mistake last night while meandering around Nipah looking for food. Within minutes we'd found a small family run restaurant tucked away up a side street that happened to rent out scooters for a very reasonable fee. Not only did we find scooters but we found Anni, a local island girl with an outrageously sexy smile and cheeky little body to match (Dan, think of Tina in Skegness) who took as much of a shine to me as I did her. We all turned up for breakfast this morning and as she took our order she placed her sexy little bum next to mine on the edge of the bench and had a bit of a giggle. I was lapping it up. So was she. And everyone knew it, including the boys, and I deserved every bit of the piss-taking that followed.
The island itself is amazing. Insanely steep twisty roads through deep jungle, bustling townships that pass in the blink of an eye, gorgeous unspoiled beaches, temples, colonial forts and dirt cheap local food. We stopped in the village of Pangkor for a feed and I introduced Nick to the lip-smacking delight that is a nasi goreng pattaya. To look at it you'd think it was a plump yellow cushion but it's actually a nice juicy omelette stuffed with a deliciously spiced chicken fried rice, which bursts out onto your plate the minute you take your fork to it - like popping a big culinary balloon. That and a Teh Tarek, something I'm slowly getting addicted to. Nick was drooling over both and while I disappeared to the toilet during the panic attack that comes with a sudden '30-second warning' he even took to sampling a mouthful of durian after we'd started up a bit of banter with the owners. I really can't stress enough how friendly, welcoming, and all round beautiful these people are.
After a lengthy visit to the old temple (amazing) and five or six more mad flat-out circuits of the island (an absolute scream) we pulled up at a beautiful stretch of beach on the north-west coast. It was stunning, completely void of people, and for that moment it was ours. Without hesitation we did a quick 3-2-1 and ran 100-metres style straight into the sea for a mad splash and a cool off. It's so natural to think that jumping into the ocean is a logical way to cool down. But it doesn't work like that here. It's like slipping in to a warm bath. Very surreal.
And so we headed over to join Dave and Liam for the sunset. I left the three of them supping on Tigers and did another 3-2-1 straight into the pond-like stillness of the ocean as the sun slowly dipped in to join me at eye-level. It was out of this world, and a pretty good end to a day of maniacs. That is until Nick tested me by asking a foolish question as we headed back to the apartment, in the early hours, after a few Tigers.
Nick: 'Fancy another lap, on the scooters?'
Woz: 'Yep, come on..'
Nick: 'You serious?!!!'
Of course I was. We teared round that island in the dead of night stopping at random beaches for more screaming 3-2-1's straight into the hot sea. God knows how we made it back in one piece, but we did. Very lucky boys.
All in all it's been a belting few days here on Pangkor, all totally random - the best way to live it. The island is beautiful, largely unspoiled and not at all touristy, which is probably why we were told not to bother with it, and exactly why I wanted to go, and exactly why I like it. I can only hope it stays that way. Got to meet some great new people again, drape in a hammock with my thoughts and revel in some spectacular sunsets. Two thumbs up for Pangkor. And two thumbs up for that little minx Anni..
(As we left I gave her a little wave. She returned the gesture with a wink and a smile that will mess with my head for days. I never did get a photo..)
Where I stayed