Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A strange piece of paradise

The Beautiful Pulau Perhentain Kacil, an island of north eastern Malaysia.
I came here for a few days after working a couple weeks on a farm in the jungle. The beaches here were magic. The island you dream of, all that typical post card perfection.
It was strange to be in a place that was accessible purely for tourism reasons. Their was a fishing village on one side of the island, but it was well away from any of the tourist action, and i can understand why. Their island, as with many others in South East Asia had been transformed into a sunbaking, party making, coral breaking tropical escape.
I enjoyed my time here though, lazing about reading and writing, going for walks through the rainforest and one day stupidly made the mistake of hopping on a snorkel tour.
A day tour where you were taken to 5 different snorkeling spots around the island. The first place was more like a learn to swim school, people with their heads out of the water more than in, awkwardly stomping the shallow coral regions and getting used to their fluro orange floaty vests. The fish came if you had a lump of bread in your hand, but the coral was devastated, those in the shallow parts broken by the feet of foreigners and the deeper parts tainted by the constant fuel from the boats and anchor dropping.
Shark point was next, i 'think' i saw a shark, more of a shadow than a shark, and the shadow sure was quick to retreat, as would you at the sight of 10 people eagerly flipping their feet stalking it. Then to turtle point, this was really hilarious. The tour guide eagerly searching around the deep clear water, and then viewing one on the surface, yelling TURTLE! JUMP! all 15 people on the boat jump in and scatter trying to follow this poor turtle that just wanted to come up for air. 3 other boats then see that we found the turtle, and another 50 people come to join in the completely natural experience of scaring this turtle almost out of its shell. Lucky the thing can hold its breath for 3 hours or more, otherwise i think it would have willingly decided to end its life than come up again.
The most beautiful stop off on this trip was at the lighthouse, the coral and marine life quite deep so somewhat unharmed by snorkeling tours. The coral was electric and the fish big and friendly. Swimming through some underwater coral caves which was awesome. And then finishing the day by jumping off the top of the 30m high lighthouse, eeep!
As i was walking through the forests, i found some great emty old resorts and bungalows, so anyone heading here in a group or at least with one other person i highly reccommend squatting rather than paying. i took some pics they at the bottom of this blog entry, lil pieces of free paradise! 
I met some other backpackers here from sweden, norway and france, had some great nights talking about travels. This was the first real tourist place i have been in ages, so it took me a couple days to come out of my shell and openly start sharing travel stories. Im not used to the whole, " where you from? where you been? how long ya been travelling? when do you go home?" questions that every traveller seems required to ask the other. Its a bit tedious and im keen to get back off this trail.
But the roads are unpredictable and i guess in the end i will always be considered a tourist, no matter how much you try to escape it. A stranger in a foreign country.
Gringo, Bule, Malai, Farang, Foreigner.


Squat this building!
Squat this building!

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