Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The adventure tour at cameron highlands

Wednesday the 23rd.

We booked an adventure tour in the cameron highlands region with kang travellers company !
Really great peeps and lee our guide was right on time to pick us up at the entrance of our lodge.
The programme today was to see the rafflesia , swimming under the cascade, visiting a local village and use a blowpipe, visit a tea factory, an insect farm and a strawberry producer.
Let me tell you, the program is dense and super interesting.
So here we are, 8.45 am, all set, geared up to be more precise, top shoes, long pants, short shirt and the envy to kick it for sure.
The rides by jeep was pretty long and after 55 minutes we were at the bottom of the track and starting our way up to the dropping location to start a hike. After a 20 minutes of up and downs (see attached picture), we arrived and started following our guide spencer who pretty much grew up in the jungle.
The idea of that hike was to see one of the biggest flower on earth (in fact the 3rd biggest in the rafflesia family). Climbing up was no difficulties, crossing rivers piece of cake, climbing over trees almost a dream coming true but how slow was that group was quite a pain especially because of an indian family who wore their Sunday outfit, this causing all the groups behind us to catch up on us and beat us to the fairy flower.
From the flower who is only blooming once every 6-10 months for a week at most then it dies, we went on to the cascade and had quite a blast until i had the nice idea of going in with my sunglasses that i lost quite fast after using the water feature as a shower. Too bad, they were my only pair.
Visiting the village was not loads of fun but playing with the blowpipe got my excitement level slightly increased though i missed the target.
Rest of the day was pretty simple and i ll let you see with the pictures down how good it was !

Blue skies


Ciao perhentian kecil

Today was the time to leave perhentian kecil and our great host at the d’lagoon. I even get a t-shirt on my last night that i wore that morning. The dream team (federico, herma and me) took the early speed boat at 8am and made it on the mainland around 9am just in time to relax and get to see where we would make the minibus to Cameron highlands.
The minibus left a bit late around 10.30am and it was almost a ride without any incident until we changed ride to finish the last bit to our destination and actually didn't much enjoyed the risk our chauffeur was taking to speed it up, not to add that the drivers from the banana tours company were pretty rude beforehand as they were refusing toilet breaks or earlier lunch breaks.
I had to eat my indian curry at light speed as our ride was using its horn to call on us. It seems everything is pretty much arranged in advance and commissioned.
We made the ride with a spanish couple that hook me up with their accommodation plan that i eagerly called to see if they had any openings. Lucky me, they were not so busy and we got our three bunk beds secured for a mere 10 rm/night.
Soon after we went in town exploring, looking for some money and cheap booze and ended again at a local indian restaurant specialized in south indian treats. Really good, quite expensive though but we bargained the price of the beer . everything can be negotiated ! how cool is that.
A good evening that finished by grabbing gaps of the big blue, the film by luc besson ! that was just a killer and soon after i joined the other in bed.

Monday, recovering ....

Monday 21st

Today my friends went on the turtle trip and i while they were at sea, i was pretty much at rest. The scenery is still as beautiful and we are about to go for a little expedition to another beach early this afternoon with the gang and a swiss girl named andrea.
The hike to adam and eve beach was pretty peaceful and we found the hidden track without much problem…just had to know that a blue plastic bag was serving the purpose of a recognising signal to turn.
We didnt much enjoyed the beach though the view was really nice but we were looking for a good spot to observe the sunset so after a few tries at going deeper in the sea (it was low tide) and hitting the rocks and corals all the time, we split into two groups and me , federico, andrea and dasa went on rock climbing using the coast line.
Quite an adventure when you are facing 6 meters high wall and you are only using sandals or mere flip flop to climb those…same apply when you must go down from the same height ! glad i am not afraid on being on such a tight spot.
Turtle beach was definitely better and the chance for me to get the swimsuit for a while and enjoy a little bit more this freedom sense i have been searching for a while. Believe me when i say so, this kind of moment are really rare to catch and i am just so happy i got to live this till the very end.
We left right before it get really darker and the storm we have seen coming was on us short after we return…it was just a bit of rain, nothing too dramatic but a really great deal of wind which somehow didnt help the clothes getting dry.
Night went on as i was sharing my time between the long waited curry noodle chicken and a game of tarot that i lost quite miserably but hey, no luck in games aint a discovery i made since i started this trip.
This interesting couple from lyon, karine and guillaume were really good at giving me right directions and things to do. Tomorrow would be the time to leave d’lagoon and hoped for the best in cameron highlands.

Sun is shining...its sunday in paradize

A beautiful Sunday !

Today it is the celebration of the hari raya, the end of the ramadhan period for the muslim and we woke up with the smells of the delicious cooked prepared by the family of mr razak, the manager of the d’lagoon. He shared the meal with every single travellers that were present here…from peanut sauce, noodles, rice balls, mixed fried rice, chicken curry, sweets, tea..the delicatessen that was !
From there my newly joined comrades in the name of Dasa and lenka from slovakia ; federico from cremona (italy) and Herma from the Netherlands we decided on visiting the turtle beach to which i led them sooner after breakfast.
They were totally amazed by the beach and the quiet there is as we were almost the sole visitors dipping in the hot water that early in the day besides the actual fish residing here.
I found a better way to enter the sea and avoid the rocks so it was cool all in all to get to swim a little bit since i caught that sun burn Friday. I didnt stay there too long as my back start itching again and i ran fast to get a shower , rinsed myself and enjoyed the biafine for a little bit less than an hour before my partner in crime came to rescue me from my boredom.
The rest of the plan was to make the walk to long beach (more or less an hour through the jungle) which we started around 2.30pm that day. After a good half an hour of climbing up the hills and down, we were all pretty much exhausted ! it was without counting on an another extra steep road to make it to a nice view point.
No need to say, it was breathtaking. Crystal clear sea, sand beach just a quick hundred meters away from the d lagoon by swimming but so much worth it. Went on going down the stairs hoping it was on the path to long beach (o f course it wasnt) but who knew !
My dear friends went on a good bath while i was pretty much stuck there, still recovering in the heat ! i only joined them in the end to write a big capital letters, on the beach !
(attach the photo here)
Beach time was off, we were ready to leave the paradize and finish the hike to long beach but most of us were pretty tired and willing to jump in a taxi. Herma quicker that lightning stroke again and jumped on the first boat that stopped at the jetty. The driver was really cool and spent time taking pictures with the girls in his classic suit for hari raya, ready to tag them on facebook i believe ! i wasnt spared.
The driver told us he would take a break as he had not so much work and we went on waiting for him in the boat…time flew by but we soon had been waiting for an hour and forty minutes and were really fed up as federico had decided he was willing to walk to long beach and not make the taxi.
The driver came back at the moment we were ready to leave to let us know he was not a taxi and he was willing to charge us ! no need to say w e were quite angry about the situation, flatten this out and jumped in the boat. He dropped us at long beach around 6pm at no cost ! finally something free ! went on to look for federico who sure had been waiting for us for an hour at least and couldnt get our hands on him, found a quick shop and bought food and beverages before making the taxi back to d’lagoon short before 7pm (as the fare is doubled after).
Federico was wating for us there and he had to walk back to the jungle according to him thanks to the adrenaline of being surprised by the darkness and its stamina.
A good all in all that ended with a great dinner and futures plans discussions and a great camp fire we set on the beach watching at the fireworks.
I stayed there with lenka for quite some time, almost sleeping, with for only companion the noise of the waves breaking few feet away.
A moment of pure bliss !

See you !


Biafine , my friend

Saturday 19th september

Day Two on biafine diet. Yeah, my back has pretty much the nice red color i used to have when younger kid playing for hours in the swimming pool and being punished almost every single time ! this is quite good memories i sherish of my brother , me and pauline in line to be dosed of biafine all over our bodies by dad …i am telling you, one happy family bonding time that is.
The tough part of the back being hit is that i just cant reach every single part of it with my hands letting one hurting spot non being taking care of and thus not removing the pain as much as i would like.
Today was then a very quiet day so far. Got up 9am, attracted by food like usual, went back to my room after a nice shower and started spreading biafine like nuts which also had the effect to wake some good neighboors with the smell of it.
I found one bias to biafine…it really does attract mosquitoes and have the opposite counter effect to the repellant i am using to be safe from those flying fearless blood sucker.
I took finally a go at the sea this afternoon as it has been 24 hours or more since i returned and started the cure and was pretty much fed up of seeing everyone taking the sun while i was safely stuck inside my room. I went there with a t-shirt just to play it safe.
Thats it for today, i m hoping to feel better by tomorrow and make the hike to long beach. Hari raya is super close now and the gifts are starting to pack up here.

Blue skies


Turtles be aware, a bigger fish is in the sea

I guess before keeping on writing about the adventures here, i need to quickly think ! its been now officially two weeks that i left France and though  i sometimes miss my relatives and friends, i found it easier to adapt than i previously anticipated.
No more heavy swet but that could be explained thanks to the considerate weather here and the non stopping wind ! d lagoon is pretty much the northest place on the kecil island and he took me a bit of time to feel at ease as its only full of europeans frenchies, a full carriage of german to name a few…
I went this morning to my first extracurricular activity besides playing the dead french meat on the beach…today i went turtle snorkelling…yes the whole thing ! tuba, mask and speedboat nonetheless…
Great great experience, saw way too many good things and swam not even further than a small meter away from a huge turtle looking to go get some air ! the rest of the time, they are swimming at the bottom of the sea making it impossible for us, mere humans to follow them on their path, 
The guide was really knowledgeable and always managed to deliver though i didnt get the chance to meet the sharks. Its okay, i had enough turtles just for myself while the rest of the group was chasing the one !
This activity made me come back to the d’lagoon for half noon and i jumped back in the book i started yesterday (the story of J belfort, the wolf of wall street). Quite interesting piece as i am already down 350 pages ! i always loved anyway books on money makers (especially the funny way they got to spent it), it gives you a chance to feel happy with what you have.
From that moment, i felt the urge of sleeping and then realised i actually caught quite  a nice first thought are now dedicated to the biafine treated me and making me feel stupid again..thats what happen when you dont cover the whole surface of your back before going out at the sea !
Anyway now it is almost 7pm and our hosts here on the island are about to break the fast thus closing the restaurant for a good hour before everyone can order food and this very expensive  beer that i am not going to try again…8rm for a mere can, thats insulting !
The view is really great, i am enjoying every second of this miracle scenery and will be sending some news really soon.
The hari raya celebration is approaching really fast now and it will all depend on the moon but the little fairy among backpackers is pretty sure it will fall next Sunday if not next Monday ! thus forcing me to leave the island by next Tuesday so as to aim to the national park.
I dont know yet how i ll get there, i am still hesitating between using the minibus geared up by the d’lagoon or making my way up north to kota bahru then south again. I am trying to weight the pros and cons of such a choice also depending on how much money will be necessary to experience a good hiking experience down there. I still aim to make it to singapore before the end of the month to fly to borneo.
Though i havent sorted out the planes tickets for that final weeks just yet.
P.S : its more likely that you will read this way after the events occured but aint no internet service i can rely on here to upload the text and pictures.

With love from d’Lagoon


Wednesday the 16th september...touring around penang island

Wednesday the 16th september

This morning i got up quite early, following the flow, enjoying the vibes, knowing it would be a very good and sunny day.

The plan proposed by alexandre was to take advantage of the bike for the final day to go touring around Penang island and thats pretty much what we did from that moment.

We left home at 11am just to get enough time to prepare the road and went on for the first stop by the sea, believe it or not but it was the closer i even get from the shores in the past two weeks and it was nice to ride along some lost dirty and smelly canals with mosquitoes as our only companions.

Getting close to the excitation, i was very enthusiastic as we were finishing that little section of the road to end up at a very small fishermen spot, all pretty much relaxing as they are fasting…thus meaning for us no way to get our first meal !

It was already 1pm when we reached that place and soon our primary worry was to get some petrol in the small tanks of our rides to finish the tour.

On the way to bhatu ferrangini, we saw the new hard rock café (barely opened two days prior ), the elegants hostels that seems to show that its the malaysian riveira ! lots of european in the streets, not as many locals !

Not to add this place was totally out of our range to get lunch, we kept moving on as alex knew just the right place to end our quest for food.

Went to kill a nice little burger, mine was called the Big Mouth Bites !

Wednesday couldnt finished before visiting one more time the cheapest « bar » in the region…really outrageous pricing (5 RM for a pint when most places charged 15rm) !

I went back home on alexandre’s bike as i returned mine and thus had no way or time left to get the bus to his place , prepare my backpack and make the 9Pm bus to Terengganu.

Later on, day yann and alexandre took me by car and dropped me at the main bus station right on time after grabbing a quick bite (some local fried rice).

It was time to say goodbye to a new friend and keep going on to follow the path traced for this exploration of malaysia.

I arrived after a good 6 hours of bus that i pretty much slept through in some lost spot where «taxi drivers » impersonated by locals were waiting for us to overcharge the remaining kilometers to Besat.

I can tell you, they are very much organised and it seems that the early backpackers are all ending at the same local ticket dealer ( i reckon he is called M traveler).

Enjoyed anyway the rest of the night in the office on the couch after paying my 70 RM boat return ride to Kecil.

The boat ride itself was quite fun, bumpy all the way, having my first natural brushing in many months for free, understand here that we were all pretty much washed, rinsed and salted at the end ! quite a bunch of nuggets…

I arrived in my room early Thursday morning around 8am and get the chance to pick the one called Stingray. Farely simple piece of furniture, one bed, one shelve , one fan and no internet, no electricity in the bunkhouse.

Soon after i went to have a quick breakfast, a good shower really well desserved and my first bath in the ocean was just at reaching hands.

I thought first i would go for the lazy option of jumping in the d’lagoon but it looked pretty much infested by boats engines, polluted in some other word so crossed the whole island to reach turtle beach !

Really really nice beach, ok no sand but who cares ! i was the only one there and sandals are quite appreciated in this water full of big rocks though not that slippery or cutting.

And what an amazing feeling the first seconds i went under water to discover i was not the only fish in the sea ! tons of them were twirling, spinning around me or just fleeing away as i was trying to get closer…the very first time in 30 years that i had a see that warm and so nicely populated !

More adventures coming as i plan on taking the snorkelling adventures tomorrow morning and certainly get a small hike to join long beach (its about an hour walk using the trail from here) just to see what that beach as that i dont have here.

Maybe i will got there partying a little bit with the other backpackers later tonight just to get the chance to dive in one more time and get a social bath i tend to miss really quickly when not around couchsurfers.
Blue skies