Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Langkawi – where do I start?

First impressions……What the hell have we done?
Being the only white people on board the plane should have been the clue……
We arrived at a very small local airport, similar to Williamtown and got a taxi to our “resort” – we will use that term loosely here.
This place was a great let down. We knew it was cheap – but certainly the pics on the internet were not indicative of what we found.
The place is owned by a Chinese guy, therefore all the rooms end in an “8” – our room being 98. Two mattresses were to be found on a raised platform ( these were our beds ).The bathroom had lukewarm running water, so no hot showers, the fridge managed to freeze everything.
We contemplated leaving in the morning.

But, let’s breathe…
We went out the back to see the ocean – it was indeed beautiful although not really a swimming beach. We were starving so we headed into the shopping area to buy some food. Some places were closed as it was “in between” lunch and dinner, but we found an arab place called…wait for it..”Al Jazeera” and had some traditional lamb masala and rice with breads.
This place looked like what Bali must have been like about 25 years ago.

We thought whether it was possible to stay here, or, maybe we should look for another place on the island. We were tired and headed back for an afternoon snooze. The evening was spent walking around, late dinner ( 12pm our time ). T.V. has three channels – all foreign language, so we have no idea what is happening in the world. We were slightly jaded, but willing to get into the spirit of things.

Breakfast was eggs, toast and dreadful coffee with a spectacular view of the sea. We found out later that the locals ordered malay food from the place next door at 1-2 ringits ( about 50c ) and theirs was freshly prepared spicy local vegetarian stuff.

We decided to go hire a car to drive around while on the island – maybe it would cheer us up to have some freedom to explore what else was on the island. People had said that this was a duty free place – there must be shops somewhere?

So we found a place just up the road and hired their smallest car for just $15 a day.
To fill the tank cost us $10 ( petrol is about 1/3 the price of Aus petrol ) and we hit the road.

If the man wanted to change gears I had to twist my shoulder to give him space and my knees touched the dashboard – but it was hilarious and it cheered us up immensely.

We headed for the biggest place on the map and found a small township with heaps of shops. We found a large store and headed in – the baby was happy as there was a McDonalds and plenty of duty free shopping for the man and me.

The baby picked up a pair of Converse’s for $30. The man has been checking out sun glasses and has been trying to get me to buy a new watch. We got some t-shirts and a few bits and pieces.
The grog here is so cheap it is ridiculous – so things like Cruiser style drinks are about $1.25. I am stocking up to get me through and the man is going to splurge on a good bottle of scotch to take back to Aus.

The car idea was great, we will flog it to death and see as much as we can – it IS only a small island, but there are a few back roads that we can get lost on. Being a Muslim island, we have breaks in the day to hear the prayers being blasted on the radio and in the town you can certainly hear it everywhere.

We might go up to the cable car ride tomorrow and maybe find a small beach and have a swim.

There is also a cinema here, so if we get stuck we can go to the movies – it only costs about $3.50 per person.


Áine said...

Oh wow... now there's a real culture shock! Make the best of it, and enjoy your time out! :)

Lisa said...

thinking of you
it doesnt sound TOO bad.......?

Jewell said...

sounds like you have made it work for you...good on you