(written by Dave)
We have to leave Langkawi tomorrow. Not because our Malaysia visas are running out, rather because I’m sure all of our readers are tiring of sunset pictures from the beach here at Pantai Cenang. I swear the clouds and sunset look different every night – perhaps not in the camera, but they do to the naked eye. Tonight sunset was fantastic as we sat eating dinner overlooking the beach at our hotel. Actually, that should be, sitting on the beach as the restaurant extends it’s reach out onto the sand and we were one only a few tables in use. It is still before the end of the rainy season – though our weather has been great.
We started the day with another fantastic breakfast at the hotel. We’d read that they served nice breakfasts in “Tripadvisor” reviews but we had no idea. Today we both had pancakes and fresh fruit. Both were great. We have decided to delay our departure tomorrow so that we can have one last brekkie (we were going to shoot for the early ferry – not any more). The only problem now is that we have to decide what to eat in the morning, and the menu doesn’t make it easy. Quite the change from our last resort on Pangkor Island where white bread and peanut butter were all that was on offer.
After brekkie we headed across the street to the Laman Padi – an “ecotourism” complex featuring rice paddies, water buffalo, a spa and a rice museum. Much of the complex was taken over by some sort of corporate event with teams dressed in various coloured t-shirts. This turned out ok as they were going through a relay race of old-time rice planting. This got us interested for the museum where we learned a lot about rice growing. For instance, did you know that rice is a 120-day crop and that by using “transplanting” they can get three crops per year out of ideal fields, 2 out of most fields. Transplanting is very labour intensive still used today with mechanised methods only now becoming viable. Transplanting saves water as all the plants grow in one cramped field before being pulled and planted at more appropriate spacing over many fields. While the corporate event was all fun, just watching them made us both glad that we were not subsistence rice farmers. And I’m sure that the corporate guys felt the same at the end of the day.
It was hotter today so we came back to our room before lunch to enjoy the A/C. Refreshed, we headed to the far end of the beach to a French coffee shop/bakery for lunch. We’d read about this place via the net and were quite excited to spy espresso and quiche on the menu. You don’t get much of either outside the cities – we’d had espresso in Georgetown, but not quiche. French pastries for dessert certainly didn’t hurt our impressions.
From the bakery, it was a short walk to “Undersea World”. We’d read mixed reviews of this place. Most gave it an average score, “being a little run-down, a good place for kids”. On arrival, we confirmed the run-down comments. And the kid comments played out as well. There were at least 10 buses out front and a large group of orange baseball capped kids ready to bust the doors down to get inside. We bailed and headed for a cafe to read and watch the rugby – no surprise, it was me watching and Nancy reading. Sadly, later in the afternoon the Wallabies lost to Ireland. It’s going to be a long road from here to world cup glory for the Wallabies…
We worked our way back to the hotel, via a nice walk on the beach. It was quite warm out today, not near as many full Muslim kitted women out on the beach – just too hot for full head to toe black. We hung out in the A/C room for a while then went for a sunset stroll on the beach. As mentioned above, another fantastic sunset followed, with dinner right on the beach – ah, life is good.
Tomorrow we are heading for Thailand. I am very excited. Nancy is perhaps a little excited but also quite worried. We do have a bit to do, change money, sell Lonely Planet Malaysia book, get Thai Internet sorted and hope that we can read at least few of the road signs. Overall it is a short day for riding, but with customs and immigration, plus the aforementioned, it should be a fun filled day of adventure travelling.