The Art of the Hammock

Trip Start Feb 06, 2005
Trip End Jul 2005

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, July 2, 2005

I had been on the road almost every day since Koh Phangan and on the boat to Pulau Perhentian Kecil (small island) with the sun rising, I was absolutely exhausted. Kecil is the backpackers island, and I headed to Long beach to find the cheapest accomodation. This was hard to find, and I was not enjoying myself staggering up and down the well-named beach with my heavy pack trying to find a room at 7 am. I knew it was the right place though when someone yelled "welcome to the island!".
My mood soon changed after I found a primitive hut, collapsed on the bed and slept. After days of meeting freaks in dorm rooms, I enjoyed having a hut to myself. I had somehow found a fantastic place with great views despite the sleep-deprived state I was staggering around in on that first morning. I enjoyed having no electricity. I enjoyed no tv or internet ($8 an hour counts as no internet on my funds). I enjoed the seafood. All-in-all I was looking forward to an island which looked like Robinson Crusoe was renting out his place to some divers.
Since Thailand every second person I've met raves about diving. I am now fairly curious as to what sucks so many people in to blow all their cash and then scrimp and save to come back for more. It sounds amazing, but it still was not on my list of things to do. Well, ok, it would be fantastic, but it would have involved a week of getting certification first. In other words, watching videos, passing tests and wearing scuba gear on dry land was not on my list of things to do.
What was on my list was washing in rain water, swimming in tropical seas, snorkelling above fantastic coral reefs and getting sunburnt. I also took my hammock-life to the level of grand master. My investment in a hammock (a very macho tie-dye purple) allowed me to spend hours a day reading and sleeping out the front of my cabin with brief interruptions to buy food or swim.
Finally my search across northern Malaysia was successful. Backpackers abounded, and though it wasn't as crowded as the Thai islands, the parties were great. Beach bashes, karaoke, Hookah (Nargillah) bars and satay BBQs made sure that my daytime naps were balanced by lack of night-time sleep.
After a week I was forced to leave when my money ran out. Lack of electricity means lack of ATMs and I had just enough cash to get to town. I was tempted to head back, but I knew that if I did I would never leave. I'm still not sure if not leaving would've been a good thing or a bad thing, but the rest of Malaysia was calling and so I went.
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