Landing in Taveuni (by Ryan Solis)
Pacific Ocean in Fiji (by Ryan Solis)
View of the Pacific Ocean in Fiji (by Ryan Solis)
Fiji from plane (by Ryan Solis)
View of Nadi from the plane (by Ryan Solis)
Flight to Taveuni, Fiji (by Ryan Solis)
Sitting outside our hostel in Siem Reap enjoying a nice night and some tunes on my computer. I realize that I have been totally lacking in my travel writings. I think when I started this, it was during a time when I had the internet at my disposal anytime and a lot of free time on my hands to write what I was doing and the things I was experiencing. This may or may not be a long blog, so bear with me if it is. I feel bad because if I start to get tired of typing, I will rush what I did with the rest of my trip in Malaysia, although it wasn’t anything too exciting, it would still kind of defeat the purpose of what I am trying to do. I already have kind of half-assed what I am trying to with these blogs: which is to try and answer questions I had before I started traveling, but couldn’t find the answers to on the internet or in a guidebook. I know some things you have to experience for yourself, but I feel a lot of guidebooks and travel books lack a certain something. I don’t feel like going into detail now, because this is supposed to be for my Malaysia trip. Mark my words though, I will write something sometime soon on what I am talking about. Now back to Malaysia.
After leaving Penang, we took a boat ride to Langkawi. A somewhat painfully long (about 3 hours) and uncomfortable ride to Langkawi. Rachael gets seasick so it was even worse for her, but there were several other people getting sick all around me, it wasn’t that fun for me to say the least. I would recommend going up north a bit further to Kuala Perlis or Kuala Kedah, the boat from there is only about an hour and a half and much more pleasant. When we finally reached Langkawi we got off the boat to see the iconic giant eagle statue. We booked a hostel which was far out of the way of the tourist hotspots. It was nice and not so nice at the same time, it was a hostel I found on www.hostelworld.com that was new and had no reviews at the time, called AJ’s Guesthouse located on 65, Kampung, Kuala Teriang, Padang Matsirat. It was a decent guesthouse, a little dirty, but not terribly, my companion was ready to leave the moment we got into our room, but we stuck it out for the two nights we booked. The only problem with being so far out of the way was you had to take a taxi anywhere you wanted to go which cost about RM$20-RM$26 depending on who your driver is. It cost a bit more to go into town than to go back to the hostel. This was our time to relax so we didn’t do much on the first day but sit around and read and play boggle and drink beer. Next door to where we were staying was Coco’s Café which was behind Tidoq Inn. When we first arrived to AJ’s I inquired about the free wi-fi they claimed to have, as it turned out, a really nice man named Lesley, who worked at Coco’s Bistro gave us their wi-fi password to use, which is part of the reason we went there for dinner. The other reason was that Lesley was very nice and very helpful with any questions we had, since the staff at AJ’s we almost never around.. ever. So we arrived to Coco’s Bistro and sat down, lucky for us they had whiskey! it was Scotch, which I’m not a huge fan of, but still whiskey :) The menu was short and sweet. They had an Irish stew, English fish ‘n chips, Hungarian goulash, an amazing rib-eye steak that you had a choice of black pepper sauce or mushrooms, bangers and mash, chicken cordon bleu and a cottage pie. The first night we went for the rib-eye with pepper sauce and the fish ‘n chips. Both were absolutely delicious! From what I understand the place is owned by a chinese woman, who I think is Coco and the food is cooked by an Irish man named Steve. A few whiskeys more and we headed back to bed.
The next day we were off to go see and walk on the Langkawi sky bridge! The cable car up to the bridge is an amazing ride. You’re literally hundreds of feet in the air, and what felt like a hundred or so feet above the tree line. There is a point when going up the hill just before the first stop off that you are so far away from any sort of ground it’s kind of scary. Makes you hope who ever built this did a damn good job doing it! We didn’t get off on the first stop, but proceeded up to the top. Unfortunately we chose the wrong day to walk on the bridge because it’s closed on Wednesdays for maintenance, which was a huge bummer for us. When we were in New Zealand we worked with a guy from Malaysia and talked all about it and we looked up pictures and everything. We were so ready to do it, but alas, we picked the wrong time to go. Another thing is, Coco’s Bistro is also closed on Wednesday. After the sky bridge we went into the area of Cenang where the majority of the beach front hotels and hostels are. We swam and relaxed on the beach until dusk, then headed back to our guesthouse for more beer, boggle and sleep.
On my way to a small shop for more beer, I ran into Lesley who was sitting outside Tidoq, smoking a cigarette. He offered to buy me a beer and have one with him. Free beer and more company? you bet! After we got beers, I ran up to the room and grabbed Rachael to come drink with us. I couldn’t help but sit back and smile a big toothy smile (besides having big front teeth) and I don’t think it was just the effects of the beer. Here I was, sitting after hours at a restaurant, which I have done quite a few times before and love, but this was thousands of miles away from home and very different. Lesley told us stories about himself and his family and kept buying us more beer. So of course in return, I had to buy more beer, which at $RM1 I was perfectly okay with. We listened to all sorts of oldies music all the while. Several hours and beers later I realized I drank a lot more beer a lot faster than my companions, but I think I was less drunk.
The following day we checked out of AJ’s and checked into Tidoq. The room was very nice and clean and came with A/C! It was about $RM20 more than AJ’s but I enjoyed it much more. Lesley set us up with our room and asked if we were hungry. He was headed down to a local place to get some food and wanted to know if we would like to join him. Local food? you bet! This was a nice little place very close to were we were staying. As we walked there, Lesley was giving us some information about the local fishers and their methods of catching fish and squid. He also pointed out a few plants here and there that aid certain things, like thirst. The place was small, about 8 tables maybe and was done in buffet style. You basically fill your plate with what you want, then someone comes up and jots down what you got and makes your bill accordingly. For two plates it was about RM$13. I don’t recall doing much that day but laying around and enjoying the cool air. I figured what the heck? I’m on vacation!
In the evening we walked out to Coco’s Bistro (of course!) for a great dinner. We ordered the steak again, with pepper sauce and Hungarian goulash. Again everything was fantastic and I think the steak was even better this time than it was last time! With another successful night of eating and drinking whiskey and another day of traveling ahead of us, we set off for sleep. Next stop, Satun, Thailand en route to Phuket, then Koh Phi Phi.
Earth is your backyard, explore it!
A little view of Chaweng Street Plaza (by Ryan Solis)
Me Eating bugs in Thailand (by Ryan Solis)
Although I am in Cambodia now, I still have a lot of catching up to do since my last blog about Penang.
Our first actual day in Penang started with a nice surprise. By chance we were bunked with a friend we met in New Zealand while working at Indevin. After a quick chat we parted ways for the day. First we headed to the Kek Lok Si temple which was pretty amazing. The architecture was very impressive. RM$2 each way will get you to the top of the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas or to the statue of Kuan Yin. We opted to go to the statue and again, I was very impressed. The view of Penang from the top was also impressive, despite the moderate level of smog covering the city, it gave it a mysterious ambience that left one feeling a bit tingly inside. Then out of nowhere came the rain, but it only lasted a few minutes. There was a cool Liberation Pond with what seemed like hundreds of turtles all crammed into it and one VERY large turtle off on his own. After exploring the lower temples and making our way back into the town we headed to the Snake Temple. From our understanding, this temple is crawling (or slithering) with snakes in a sort of stupor due to the amount of incense burning on an almost constant. The closer we got, the more the excitement mounted! When we arrived to the temple, we were met with an impressive front and a sign off to the right giving a little description of the temples origin. When we entered the temple, the only snakes we saw at first were a very large ball python and another decent sized constrictor. When we walked outside to the back of the front temple we were disappointed to find there were no other snakes, besides the three we saw in a cage. It was very unfortunate for us considering the time it took to get there and everything we had read about it. On the bright side, we got to see a lot of Penang by bus which was a plus for me. So we made our way back to the Red Cabana Inn to relax in the air conditioned room and cool off a bit before heading next door to the Red Garden market for more beer and food. We walked to the ATM to get a bit of cash and ran into our new room mate and old friend from New Zealand, who like us was ready for some beer and food. The three of us walked back to the room to drop some things off and drink a small bottle of watermelon vodka. Several large beers, yellow curry, fried omelette with cuttlefish, dim sum, sushi and a plate of barbecued chicken feet later, it was time for sleep. Another traveling day ahead of us, we were happy to get into some comfortable beds and a cool room. I would recommend the Red Cabana Inn to anyone who is in Penang and looking for a moderately priced place to stay that is very nice, and well located. The rooms are extremely clean, the bathrooms are really nice, the showers were amazing. The air conditioner rocked as did the wi-fi and they also serve breakfast every morning, which is just toast and butter. Coffee and tea is fee all day and there is a filtered water cooler in the ‘lounge’ area which is really awesome if you carry a bottle with you.
The World is your backyard, explore it!
View of Maya Beach (by Ryan Solis)