April 19, 2010

beach, snorkeling & fresh fish

Tioman island is spectacular. we arrive by ferry at ABC and run up and down the beach looking for accommodations. there are five of us in the group and we each find accommodations just steps from the beach. we swap clothes for swimsuits and are in the water in less than 5 minutes from checking in.

it's perfect then BOOM. i feel a sharp bite on my leg and look down to see a fish making it's getaway. we get hit a couple of times and i think they are baby barracudas. we check out the village and stop at a place for dinner and the sunset.
i am sharing accommodations with a Canadian. my share of the room is 17 ringets [$5.34 US]. food is fantastic. fish is caught daily and fruit is plentiful. a typical meal in Malaysia is running 10 - 15 Ringits which is $3-$4 US.

the next day we hike through the jungle to Monkey Bay. it's not a strenuous hike but the path is overgrown and it's really more of an electrical line repair access than a path. also, it's the jungle so it's really hot and we sweat buckets all the way. at one point the monkeys are angry and throw fruit down on us. fortunately we had snorkel gear and could use the fins as shields for our heads but they didn't have very good aim so i didn't get hit anyway. finally, we find our way and it is worth every drop of sweat. we have the whole bay to ourselves and it is spectacular. the snorkeling there is pristine. the coral is green and blue and pink which attracts a variety of colorful fish. it is isolated, peaceful and clean.

it's an hour back and it's already 4PM. here's the thing. all the food vendors shut down between 4PM and 7PM so if you don't eat before it's a three hour wait. as soon as someone tells you can't eat... that's exactly the time you'll want to eat.
everywhere there is talk of the volcano eruption in Europe and how it will affect the plans of travelers who plan to fly there in the next few days.

tomorrow we are hiking across the island to the village of Juara where we plan to stay a night or two. thankfully there are no starbucks on the island so there is no temptation. instead i drink coffee offered at cafes along the way. usually 1-2 Ringets [.30 - .75 US]

did i mention how much the locals hate to break big bills? it's crazy but i remember this attitude from traveling before. if you don't have exact change it can take quite a long time for them to find it for you. as a result i'm hording all my 1 Ringet notes. it's like carrying around a bag of pennies in the US.
 
there is a troll that runs the only internet access on the island.  there is another one but the modem is broken and could take a month to get repaired.  the troll sleeps to 11am and closes at whatever time he is drunk or stoned.

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