Sunday, 10 April 2011

Pulau Sibu - miles away from ordinary...

Family, And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. So I know that I've been a bit delinquent on catching everyone up with last weekend's festivities. However, we obviously had peeps in town, and I didn't want to lose out any time with them. But they flew to Bali last night, which means I've now got all the time in the world to crank away. And so, without further ado, I present the recap of Team Taylor's first jaunt into Malaysia - Pulau Sibu. And yes - I realize that this photo should have come later in the blog, but with the title and the Corona's in hand, I just couldn't resist - I've ALWAYS WANTED to do one of those shots! So the trip started at 6 PM, leaving from Orchard Road. They company was VERY explicit - be there by 5:50, because if you are one second past 6 PM - WE WILL LEAVE YOU. And whilst that might normally be SOP, at 6:25 on this Friday night, my happy ass was downing $2 sushi in the back of a van whilst 3 SCREAMING American children argued over who was going to get a turn on the Nintendo DS first. All the same, we eventually got going, and about 1 hour later we arrived at something OUT OF THE MACHINE CITY IN THE MATRIX - The Woodlands Checkpoint. So here's the deal - Singapore doesn't really like Malaysia. Malaysia doesn't really like Singapore. But Malaysia needs the Singapore cash, and Singapore needs the Malaysian workforce. The result is a border that makes the US-Mexico border look like a slumber party. But the highlight of the crossing was the signs on the Sing side informing all drivers that they MUST have at least half a tank of gas in their tanks when crossing the border or they'll receive A $500 FINE!!! That's right - everything is so much cheaper in Malaysia that the Singapore authorities actually stop EVERY SINGLE CAR en route and make sure that they won't be filling up in the northern neighbor. CLASSIC. So you get in line at the Singapore checkpoint, and this was where I had my first run in with "the expat wife." You know the type, right? Blonde, a little augmented perhaps, pleasant enough for the first few minutes, has 3 children who have ZERO discipline, has tons of money, no idea where it comes from, no idea that there IS a tax on cars, and no possible inkling that the rest of the world just might not live like her. So when a little 7 year old Malaysia kid cuts us off in the customs line (like a lot of kids on the border, he goes to school in the Sing because the schools are so much better and goes home on the weekend), she is not upset at the fact that we've been outsmarted by a 1st grader - she just can't understand where the parents are. She actually started calling out and asking "Chinese looking people" if they spoke Chinese so they could ask the kid where his parents where. I got a kick out of the fact that, yes, the kid could speak Chinese - but only because it was HIS THIRD LANGUAGE. Simply excellent. So Friday night traffic on the border is, well, AWFUL. But finally, after 4.5 hours of being a sardine in a van, we finally arrived at the jetty servicing the archipelago for Pulau Sibu. Life vests were compulsory, so we rocked them old school. And Webbster - check out the Ducks visor - still going strong! We arrived about 11 PM, where complimentary cocktails awaited us. I must say that the place really was EXTRA AWESOME, and since there are no locks on any doors, you have to lock all of your valuables in the office safe. That included the blackberry for me, which meant I really was checked out for the weekend (insert Big Cat saying "How is that different from any OTHER weekend?"). After a few drinks, we rolled over to our lodging, which was a "rustic" A-frame house right by the water (literally 20 steps from the ocean). It was a cute little thing, but it was BASIC to say the least. Hot water? Not so much. A shower? Again, not really. Instead, all you had was a house that you just BLASTED all over the bathroom, which was really just some porcelain and plumbing. Price - this pretty much would have been your own personal Hell. I've got to believe that Green Harbor is a bit nicer than this - and it has Dickles to boot. The highlight of the hut, however, was DEFINITELY the mosquito net - not so much because it was decorative, but because IT REALLY KEPT THOSE BASTARDS AT BAY. Seriously - it was BAKED with Deet, and there were dead bugs ALL OVER OUR BED. Yeah, pretty much any concept of this being a "romantic weekend" vanished right there. Actually, even worse was the fact that with Sammy's "excite-a-bladder," I had to find my way out of that thing 9 TIMES on both nights to find the toilet - always least we had a fan BLASTING down air on us. Meals were included at this place, and whilst Saturday brekkie wasn't great, the lunches and dinners were MOST EXCELLENT. Seriously - we ate like KINGS, mixing food with sitting on the beach, playing in the ocean, soaking up the sun, and knocking back a few Tigers. Saturday was just a PERFECT day of relaxation, and I was SO chill when it was all said and done. Seriously - I took my blood pressure after 2 days on this island: my pulse was back down to 51, and my reading was 133/55 - the lowest it's EVER been in my memory. Must have been the DEET.

Seriously - the extend of our physical activity was walking to the water, save for a DEATH MATCH battle of Bacchi ball. It was hilarious - we played for about 45 minutes, using a busted tennis ball as the jack. All in all, a very good time.

We stayed on the beach until about 6:30ish, at which point we "showered" before wandering over to the bar for a few drinks (and cards) before dinner. I learned how to play backgammon, and I'm looking forward to trying it out with Muffin Puffin at some point. Granted, I only know the basic rules, but it looks fun. On Sunday we got up about the same time, but this day we actually got our lazy asses in gear and did a 2 hour walk around the island. This was really a highlight, as the other side was even more picturesque, complete with calm harbors, lots of colorful local houses and fishing villages, and mangrove trees floating in the water.

The walk gave us a chance to wander along the rocky shores as well as the sandy beaches, and you realize that this place has quite a varied topography. All in all, we were quite impressed (and VERY sweaty by the time it was all said and done).

After that, it was back to the camp (the Sea Gypsy Village), where we packed up our stuff (read: "2 backpacks) before saying goodbye to Money and Dan (they had one more night) and then making the trek back through the jungle and over to the vans, at which point we rolled home, with the trip taking a hour less than the drive up.

This place really was BEAUTIFUL - perhaps a touch overpriced for what you got, but really no complaints
from Team Taylor. And whilst I don't think we'll go back, we will definitely hit Tioman and most likely Rawa as well, which are 2 other islands in the archipela

Okay, that's our first trip to Malaysia and all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

No comments:

Post a Comment