(written by Dave)
We have finally escaped from Georgetown and made it to Langkawi. Not that Georgetown was bad, far from it actually, we had a nice time there. It was, however, our longest stay in one place since the beginning of the trip, we were starting to fear never getting away.
Nancy was feeling much better yesterday and today was almost worry free. And it was a good thing because we had a long ferry ride first thing in the morning. We took the 8:30 ferry from Georgetown to Kuah, Langkawi. The Malaysia National Day is tomorrow and the ferry was quite crowded. Getting the bikes on was a major chore. We had to take almost all the bags off and tie the bikes down on the bow. The bags were scattered between cargo and between our legs. With three hours of not smooth seas, and lots of splashing on the windows back where we were sitting, I thought the bikes were in for another major salt-water bath and some serious maintenance issues for me. Somehow, the bow protected them and they didn’t get wet. What a relief. All the bags made it as well, though there was a real rugby scrum trying to find them all and get them off the boat. The unloading guys were not the fastest and everyone seemed to want them to get their bag first.
I had thought that the ferry ride was either 1.5 or 2 hours. At a little over an hour Nancy asked me how much longer it was. She was not feeling very good. I told her 20 minutes or so. She believed me (so did I) and then practised some yoga breathing to avoid getting sick. And a great job she did as the ride stretched out into almost 3 hours and she had no further issues (it was either the breathing, or perhaps the fact that she also retrieved here barf bag from a pannier as a safety precaution).
We were ready to take a break on arrival, and not really ready for a noon ride across Langkawi without a chance to recover from the motion sickness from the ferry. As luck would have it, there is a Starbucks at the ferry wharf. We were thrilled to sit for a minute and have an ice latte and muffin to settle the tummies before the ride. Based on advice from other Internet bicycle tourists, we took a slightly longer and flatter road from Kuah to Pantai Cenang on the west coast of Langkawi. We had a bit of a struggle yesterday in finding a room on the Internet so we decided to book one in advance and not take a chance. This meant we kind of blew the budget but we are in a nice beachside hotel (Beach Garden Resort).
We had snacks and juices at the hotel bar for lunch overlooking the ocean and distant islands. While the hotel costs a bit more, the view and being able to hang out under an umbrella is just great. The ferry and now the beach had quite a few Muslim couples, not the typical Malay Muslims, rather the more traditional ones. This means that the women are in full black chador, including covering their face, with only their eyes visible. Quite odd to see them frolicking in the water or riding a jet ski in the full kit. Perhaps not the most practical beach wear, flowing robes while riding a jet-ski or out swimming in an ocean rip, but who am I to judge? They make a nice photographic contrast on the beach if you can sneak in a snap…
We watched the sunset from the beach. I took about a 100 photos. Many look the same, as they always do. Still it was nice to be where we could see the sunset and have just a few clouds around. The coast of Malaysia tends to face south-west just enough to make the western setting sun too far to the north at this time of year. Langkawi faces more west, on this side at least.
We’ll be here tomorrow and maybe one more day. We don’t need any more rest time, but there are lots of things to do and see here. We’ll decide tomorrow and let you know.