(written by Dave)
Let’s start at the end of the day – we are at the Puteri Bayu Beach Resort – in the honeymoon villa no less. If this sounds very glamorous, I should fill in the rest of the details. For starters, there is no water in our villa. We have been told several times by hotel staff that water restoration is only an hour off and that the issue is affecting the entire island. When we made a stink about not getting a shower, they let us use a room from the hotel’s main block where water is not an issue. Water is on at all the hotels around us as well, we stopped at them and asked. I’m guessing the large hole, with exposed pipes, along the pathway to the villas has something to do with our water situation. Hotel staff are sticking to the party line about the entire island as they don’t want to give us a refund – I’m sure.
Ironically, we are not even supposed to be at this hotel. We had four nights booked at a nice little guest house a little further up the road (Nipoh Guest House). All of last week we had an ongoing email exchange with the owner and were told that the room was confirmed. In his last email, he got the month wrong, which we corrected, and he replied, all set. When we rode up to the guest house, the owner greeted us with many apologies as he had rented our room for three of the next four nights. It was available tonight but not for our intended stay on the island. To be fair, the owner was very helpful in trying to find us something else. Including giving me a ride on the back of his scooter to a couple hotels to have a look. He freely admitted that most hotels don’t maintain their rooms and didn’t think we would find any as nice as his. We didn’t. The ride on the scooter was exciting but we still had no room.
I should mention the 4k between our current hotel and the guest house are very hilly, including 4 little pitches with 10% grade signs. As both ends are at sea level, you get the hills both ways. The guest house owner eventually found us a hotel to look at back here – so we had to backtrack the 4k and the 10% grades. On arrival, Nancy checked out the rooms and opted for the honeymoon suite. It is not perfect (far from it, even with running water) but it is the best we could do and we didn’t want to sleep on the beach. Glamorous, no – passable and available for the next 4 nights, yes. They gave us a special rate as we were willing to take it for 4 nights. I’m not sure if they knew of the water situation when we checked in…
Aside from the end of day hotel fiasco, the ride today way not so bad. We rode a fairly busy road all the way from Ipoh to Lumut, where we caught the ferry to the island. At one point we thought we spotted our first water buffalo for the trip and screeched to a halt for a photo (see below). Well, I don’t think it’s a water buffalo, just a brown cow with weird horns, you be the judge.
Rain threatened all day but this probably kept the temperature down which was not all bad. We had about 15 minutes of light rain mid-morning but otherwise stayed dry. Being a busy road, and very humid, we were pretty grimy at the end of the day – yes, we really needed that shower!
The ferry was a pretty old boat and we had to put the bikes on their side, up on the bow. The crew insisted that they would be fine without any tiedowns – and they were. The river and sea were very flat, I don’t think that the bikes even got sprayed. The boat was pretty full with lots of folks coming here for the end or Ramadah holiday – thus the hotel situation. As the ferry is passenger only, we were kings getting off as we were the only people who did not have queue up to get a taxi to reach their accommodation.
We stopped in Pangkor town for some lunch before riding to the guest house. It’s a rough looking town but we found an acceptable Chinese chicken restaurant where we got some lunch. It was tasty but maybe not the thing to eat before a 10% grade – at least we didn’t have to worry about eating when were on the hotel room search.
The location of our current hotel is pretty nice. We are right on the beach and have a view of the sea and outlying islands. We didn’t get a sunset shot today but will in the coming days. For dinner, we walked 100 metres to the small village of Pasir Bogak Beach where we found another Chinese restaurant. They had beer, which was required at this point. The food here again was delicious – black bean chicken, fried squid and Thai style tofu – the best part was the beer.
So… We are here on Pangkor Island. We have a safe place to sleep and food is plentiful. Water is an issue but I have it on reliable sources (okay, maybe overly optimistic) that sometime in the next hour or so, this too will be fixed. Nancy keeps repeating that to herself in an effort to avoid losing it. Assuming the water does come back on we’ll stay here for 4 days. Or at least that’s the plan… Who said that every day of trip was going to be glamorous anyway?