24 August 2008
Tioman Island, Malaysia
2°48'32.35"N 104° 8'36.32"E


Sun, sand, snorkeling. This is the life. We made the mistake of arriving in Singapore at 5pm - rush hour. D'oh! It took almost 3 hours sitting on a bus to get off the island, then almost an hour in customs. Things have been tightened up on the Singapore side of the Causeway since a prisoner escaped earlier this year and got himself into Malaysia, so the queues (which were always nonexistent for getting out of Singapore) were horrendous. At least we got into Malaysia without any delay - in rush hour, we were the only ones who were in the "Foreign Passport" queue. It must be awful now for the thousands of Malaysians who work in Singapore, having to go through the long wait twice a day.

We arrived at an opportune time - there was a parade going down the main road in JB. Not certain, but I think it was something to do with Lord Ganesh, a Hindu deity. Of course, we didn't have the camera with us, but I don't think it would make much difference. You may have noticed not so many photo's on the site although I have several hundred to sort out, edit and upload. There are hardly any good ones. The new cheap camera I got in Bangkok is quite possibly the biggest heap of crap that I've ever bought. Now, I know a bad tradesman blames his tools, but in this case, it's true. I openly admit to being a terrible tradesman, but the point and click camera's around now make it so easy. Usually, out of a couple of dozen photographs, I have a couple of bad ones which no amount of editing will save. With the Sanyo (never again), out of a couple of dozen photographs I have a couple that I CAN use.

Now that can't be me. The automatic focus, automatic light, automatic face detection, anti-shake detection etc does everything for you, and you just smile smugly and take the credit for taking some amazingly good photo's. Usually. Not on this Sanyo. The only good thing about it is that it cost so little. Replacement on the way, I think.

We had a couple of days in JB before heading to Malacca for a few days, then off to Mersing to get to Tioman Island. I've always wanted to go there - it's where they filmed part of the musical South Pacific. Lots of business names which include the words Bali-Hai are the first greeting to visitors. Tioman is also a duty free zone, although the drinks in the duty free shops were barely cheaper than on the mainland, and just about everything else is an awful lot more expensive.

The beaches are beautiful, you really don't need to go on an expensive trip for snorkeling if you have your own gear with you as you can do it off the beaches, and there are some challenging but really pleasant walks. But that's about it, and after almost 2 weeks here, I'd be going stir crazy if I weren't medicated up to the eyeballs with my annual dose of the flu. I never get the sniffles, and am only ever sick every 12 to 18 months, but when I get it, I really get it and make up for all the time that I've not had the sniffles.

Peter has been going out for walks by himself quite a bit, as I don't have enough breath to get over the hills. Yesterday he went to Paya, which he thought was going to be a nice stroll through the bush, but ended up being a fair hike over some fairly steep hills. He bought a couple of cans of beer, but determined that he wouldn't drink them until he was almost back. By the time he was 10 minutes away it was raining, but he was on a deserted beach so stripped off and cooled down in the sea, cracking open his cans of Tiger.

Even better, when he was coming back it was dark. I know the noises that come out of the jungle at night. They're scary. And he was by himself. Rather him than me.

There are heaps of monkeys around, both within the resort and by the sides of the roads heading into the village. Nice, cute monkeys. NOT.

I told Peter a couple of days ago that I'd been walking towards the pool and a group of monkeys turned on me. I was just walking, minding my own business, and one of them started snarling at me. It was horrible. Then it started spitting, or at least it seemed like it was spitting. Peter said I was imagining it as he'd been past troupes of them a few times and they hadn't bothered him, until we were walking into the village and there were half a dozen on one side of the road and 3 on the other side. They started going for me. I wasn't winding them up, wasn't making noises - just walking past. They started taking a couple of steps towards me, spitting until I scared them off. I'm glad I had an umbrella to shoo them away. Gets a bit hard though when they're coming at you from two directions - you don't know which way to swing the brolly!

Don't know what it is, but they really, really don't like me. It's not just me though - I saw some chasing a Spanish girl, but I think she brought it on herself. She was feeding them bread or something to get them close enough for her friend to take photo's. When she ran out of food, the monkeys wanted more and when they realised that she didn't have more, they turned on her. Big time. It was actually quite funny - bet she's never ran that fast before. I've never fed them though - no idea why they took against me. Not just one troupe of them either. They must have a sixth sense that I'm evil or something............