Sisters holiday

Trip Start Aug 17, 2011
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Malaysia  , Pahang,
Thursday, February 16, 2012

We didn't want to spend all of Jenny's time in cities when there are much more beautiful places in Malaysia, Simon had already thought of this and thought we should go to Tioman. The closest island to Singapore with some of the best snorkelling in the country. To get there we needed to take a bus. We went to were we thought the bus to Mersing left and found an empty carpark. Carrying our luggage in the tropical heat unsure of where to go has become something of a feature of our travels. Lucky for us, as we walked along the road a bus stopped and told us to get on, so on we got (we did check it was going to the right place first)! He was a very friendly and helpful bus driver and throughou the kourney he directed us where to go and what to do as we passed through Singapore and Malaysia customs again                                                                                                                                                                                               I had a moment of panic at the Malaysia border; Simon had gone through first and I was just ahead of Jenny at passport control. I was waved through and paused to wait for Jenny. Security pointed at the sign on the wall: No Waiting. They were not letting Jenny through an calling someone else over, lots of uniforms were congregating at her desk, I walked as slowly as possible, watched by the security guard. Why are they keeping my sister?! Thankfully, they decided she was OK and let her through - something about stamps. Panic over!
 Back on the bus we dosed and looked at the forest covered hills and the motorway that looks as every motorway does. Eventually in Mersing we went to the travel office an were told that we could only get a boat to Tioman the next day, maybe we would like to go to this place instead. It sounded innocent enough to Jenny but me and Simon have become sceptical when told things are shut (remember Bangkok; 'The palace is closed, I can take you here, here and here in my tuk-tuk!') so we went to the jetty to comfirm. True enough due to the tides were stuck untill the next day.       

Mersing is a miserable little town that only serves as a port to the nearby islands. There is a temple. After seeing that we were at a bit of a loss of what to do. Jenny and me thought we night take a walk to the coast, however we were joined by a group of kids asking for money so went back, we did see some mud skippers though. We had curry buffet lunch and went back to our guest house for coffee. Another sad thing that put us off Mersing was the cats. We have seen many many strays and realise that there isn't much to do, apart from surreptitiously feed them scraps, and though you do get the odd poorly looking one, most seem ok. Mersing however, has more than its fair share of sick cats. Jenny found a dead one in a ditch, our guest house had a dying kitten  and it was all bit much! The cats here also had  tendancy to sleep in the shade of cars, thats ok, except they liked to lie right next to the tires, not giving them much time once the car was put into use! Jenny notice the tails (stumpy) and assumed at first (like we did) that they were amputees.
 
The next day Simon had to go back to Singapore for an x-ray so it was just me and Jenny going to Tioman. We picked our beach and had a place in mind to stay at so got on the boat and left sad Mersing behind.
 
The place we wanted to stay in was full but we found somewhere else which was bit shabby but clean and were going to go tot he other place the next day, we got comfy and lazy and ended up staying there for the whole time. Almost as soon as we had settled the clouds gathered and emptied for a proper tropical downpour, we sat and watched.

  This is another entry that would be so much better if we had an underwater camera cos most of our time was spent face down in the sea. Tioman has some of the best snorkelling and diving in Malaysia and though we didn't see and sharks or turtles it was still really cool. We saw plenty of sting rays and a couple of cuttle fish that changed colour when we got too close! The only downside of all the snorkelling (apart from lack of photos) was Jenny getting creepy dead hands! 

There was a beach bar we spent alot of time at, one night we went for a drink and got dragged into a campfire sing song, led largely by the bar guys as no-one really seemed to know the words, someone gave me a guitar and didn't listen when i tried to say that I couldn't play it, I used it as a drum untill they took it away! Then they got out fire poy. They were not as good as the guys in Thailand and then they let us try them out too, kindly providing hard hats! Jenny used to use a staff that she set her arm hair on fire with but escaped unsinged after playing with the poy.

Tioman is inhabited only really round the edges, on the beaches, the middle of the island is mostly jungle. We were well equipped with a bottle of water and...that was it. My flip-flop broke early on and we were doing ok barefoot. Then the bag broke but we fixed it. We got to a spot to watch a monkey and were driven off by the mosquitoes. So we went back and went to the beach.

The next day we tried again. In trainers (as my only other shoes were now in the bin) with a back pack and this time we took insect repellent with us. The jungle is pretty cool, the path we followed went to a beach on the other side of the island. It followed some power lines, or maybe the followed it, probably there were made at the same time. We saw all kinds of jungly things; big big trees, creepers an vines, blue plants, flowers and heard lots of birds. We saw alot of big ants and alot of leeches (something we noticed when we were barefoot). We also saw a big monitor lizard and at one time we were surrounded by a family of monkeys.

We got to a big flat wide beach and had lunch. Then it started to get cloudy and even a bit chilly. The snorkelling was rubbish so after about half an hour we decided to go back. A local drove us back (for a fee) and told us about what it was like a few years ago, they only got electricity on this side of the island recently and he old us bout recent storms they had had. Life has changed here quickly recently. 
 
Back our beach it was sunny and warm. We hired a kayak to paddle to a small island which has some good coral but got fed up of it before we go there so we dived off of it instead. Later, after a barbecue fish dinner, we watched as bats the size of seagulls swooped across the beach and stars that are so unfamiliar down here shined so bright away from any cities.
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