The little bahstahd, part I of Tioman
Trip Start Aug 25, 2012
67Trip End Jul 24, 2013
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The first day was a mostly relaxed day--we arrived and walked around a bit trying to get our bearings and find a place to stay. We essentially walked down the main "road" and asked one by one, doing our best to haggle. Malaysians, in my opinion, don't understand the concept of haggling. Or they're just smart and realize you have nowhere to stay anyways, so they just stare at you and shake their heads. It occurred everywhere, actually; it's like they all have a pact to just not haggle so that foreigners have to take their stated prices or get lost
Anyways, after denying a few, we finally went back to the cheapest place, which was comprised of a half dozen "chalets", apparently none of which had names. At least we didn't find any within our 3 days. Though we weren't going to have air conditioning in the 90 degree weather, it didn't matter much--we were happy with the $7/night on a tropical island. It cooled off in the evenings, anyways. We set up shop, ate a bit, then set off to explore. We walked about one hour or so down the road to get to the main town, which is made up of a solid 100 people. I mean, if you Google the population of this island, it's about 500 people. The "main" town is called Tekek, the worst excuse for civilization ever. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I absolutely loved the lack of legitimate structure. It was just one path going along the coast of the island, with a nice resort here and there, but mainly these small little huts where people like Neil, Keel and I were staying. At the moment, there was hardly anybody there. I felt like we owned the place, and truly felt carefree for the first time in years. Truthfully, a very liberating place--I'd recommend going there, but try to go in the off season like we did.
After our trip, we didn't do too much. We continued exploring, finding what restaurants there were, buying some food at the convenience stores, and finally settled down at a small hut bar run by two Canadians who also ran a diving school
The day after we decided to hit up Monkey Bay--a place famous for, well, the monkeys. Not only that, though; it also has amazing snorkeling with great fish, coral, and other things to see. The trail there took us through the jungle--legitimately. The only way to know where to go was to follow power cables. It was about 70 minutes before we reached Monkey Bay--surprisingly (and sorta not), we had the entire bay to ourselves. It was like a dream. Pristine beach, clear waters, gorgeous fish and coral, and nobody there. Just us three and the monkeys we'd yet to see. That would change soon, as I brought some food with me.
First, though, Keel and I decided to go snorkeling. Neil wanted to take a little nap on the beach to rest his weary head; a mistake, ultimately. The snorkeling at Monkey Bay was the best I've ever seen; and I think Keel feels the same
Neil had the unfortunate experience of being terrorized by a mysterious monkey--the "lit'le bahstahd" as his accent says. Unfortunately, Keel decided to bring along the biscuits I bought, and put them in his bag. Mistake #1. That little thing smelled out the biscuits and sneaked up on Neil, who was napping whilst aware monkeys were around. Mistake #2. The little guy stole Keel's entire bag, going through his belongings until he found the cookies. At this point, Neil turned over at just the right moment to see the monkey and threw his sandal at him. According to Neil, the monkey didn't give a rat's ass and just watched the sandal go by, continuing his business. Neil then grabbed a massive stick and began to chase him with it. The monkey ran away into the bushes and disappeared. That's when Neil moved all of our stuff, and how we encountered him.
When he told us what happened, we went to search for Keel's bag
After our little adventure, we rested on the beach for a bit, soaking up the sun (yeah, cause we needed it...). We then headed back for a nice dinner at what we called "the slow place" because it took so damn long to get our food. Honestly, I ordered the "tomato salad", which took about 30 minutes to come out. The worst part about it? It was one single tomato, sliced up, with a few spices on it. I have no clue. I truly didn't like that place, but Keel enjoyed the rice so we ate there anyways. I liked "the breakfast place", which was where we always ate breakfast. In other words, where I also would eat 2nd dinner since slow place always sucked.
To end the night, like usual, we went to the little hut bar and had some beers
One and a half years ago, I lived in Spain. Now, I live in China. I speak Spanish. I speak Mandarin. I...sorta read it. I'm one of a few foreigners out of 3 million people. I've climbed the highest mountain in Southeast Asia in one day. I'm residing in a small hut in a tropical island off the coast of Malaysia; one of a few dozen visitors on the entire island. I've seen sharks; rays; wild monkeys; a sea turtle; the clearest water this world has to offer. I have no internet, no cell phone; just conversing with 7 people from 5 countries. I'm watching the sun go down behind the sea, stars gradually revealing themselves through the pollution-less sky. It's perfect.
That, my friends, is what life should be like. Stay tuned for Tioman Island part II!