Monday, March 9, 2009

Malaysian Getaway: Short & Semi-Sweet

At about 1:45 am Saturday, we solidified our weekend plans... with a departure at, oh, 4 am. Needless to say, my final weekend adventure was very last minute. Due to some complications with work schedules, plane schedules, & departure schedules, my Chiang Mai plans to live the life of Cars/Jo for a weekend were screapped. Time was not on my side. So, I ended up heading to Rawa Island for a beach weekend.

My dear SF roommate Mowen, was able to manipulate her work schedule so that she'd be able to head to Singapore from Japan accompanied by her 'friend' (cough cough) Derek. Derek, has been out and about in Asia looking for work for the past month, so was also in need of some relaxation. So with 2 hours of sleep on our side, we headed off to Rawa Island in Malaysia, about a 4 hour drive/ferry ride from Singapore.

First, we took a cab over the Malaysian border. This cab then dropped us off at a 'cab meeting place' where we met our second cab. Then we drove for 3 hours in the dark at extremely high speeds along curved semi-paved roads (Derek was scared, while Mowen and I passed out) with our sweet cab driver who barely spoke English.

Derek: So, sir what kind of animals do you have in Malaysia?
Driver: Monkey
Derek: Any snakes?
Driver: Monkey!
Derek: No Snakes?
Driver: Monkey!
Derek: No other animals?
Driver: Monkey!

Mowen was very excited about seeing monkeys. Unfortunately, the first one I spotted for her also happened to be roadkill ;). We arrived in Mersing, where the ferries for the various islands pick up, about 2 hours early and sat ourselves down outside of a closed pizza joint. Everything that was open, only took Malaysian ringgits and everything that took Singapore Dollars was closed. So, we explored a bit. I was a bit miffed when I first saw the brown water and the garbage that caked the surface of the harbor that was sup to take me to my dream beach weekend. But, as I've learned, 'you shouldn't judge a beach by it's departure harbor.'

At about 9, the gates to the Rawa ferry opened and we trudged in accompanied by about 30 french 20-something tourists who didn't pay us a second glance. We got aboard the first boat after walking down a rickety pier and climbing over 2 other ferries. This is not a trip for the non-agile physically unfit. Though the clouds were looking a bit ominous as the ferry took off, the island looked like absolute paradise. Cliche, but true. Clear clear aqua water, coral reefs, white sand, bungalows dotting the shore, hills/mountains covered in lush vegetation, peacocks! (even an albino one), coconut trees lining the beach with perfectly ripe juice... heaven. I felt like I had stepped into a stereotypical travel photo of a southeast asian beach, and I was not about to complain. Plus, as most of you know, I love little fat children. And little fat toddler babies (with accents!) were playing everywhere along the beach.

There was plenty to do on the island: hike, kayak, snorkel, sail. But, to be honest, we were pretty tuckered out from our lack of sleep so we plopped down on the beach after checking into the last available bungalow on the island. It rained off and on, but the clouds and dark sky only served to highlight the beauty of rawa. And if it started raining, we'd just jump in the perfectly clear refreshing water and swim about until it stopped. Idyllic, but not luxurious by any means. Ants in hotel rooms, electricity off 3 hours a day, smell of burning trash permeating the fresh beach air every few hours, etc. But honestly, I couldn't care less. I was so happy doing the swim/lay/read combo, especially when accompanied by a fresh coconut and buffets for every meal. I work for Google, I live for the buffet.

Although my shortest and most hurried weekend getaway, it was definitely my most relaxing and arguably the prettiest. There is really very little to report, except I urge you all to head to Rawa if you have the chance. Though, I don't want to retire there (Kep, you're number 1), I definitely wouldn't mind retreating there for a few months just to marinate. After eavesdropping a bit, I learned that this is exactly what a lot of the other visitors do, make it their yearly rejuventation spot. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends/spouses/children/3rd cousins, etc.

But, before we get to pictures, let me just pick on Mowen, and her Texas pronunciation skills. Tidbit from dinner conversation:
Mowen: I'm pretty sure I pronounce this correctly, but I just want to see. How do you guys pronounce the capital of Afghanistan?
Ams: Whoa, whoa, whoa... no no, I want to hear how you pronounce it first.
Mowen: ok... (hesitantly)...Cobble.
Derek: (Spiting out 50th Tropical drink) you pronounce Kabul (kah-bool)... cobble?
Mowen: Is that not right?

We also learned that she pronounces 'poem' 'poh-eem.' Awkward considering her own name rhymes with poem. Anyways, it was so so good, again, to be with close friends. Mowen, is so easy to travel with, extremely laid back and organized, that she really made this come together easily. Plus, she'd lived in Singapore for about 4 months in college, so she was also able to take me on last minute 'Little Ams! I can't believe you haven't been here yet!' tours across Singapore.

Some Rawa pics attached, but more are on facebook:

Now, I'm in Hong Kong with my mama. We're having a great time... as the credit card company can tell. Midway through a purchase, we were told that our credit card was 'declined.'




Josh Farkas - Water Media said...

This is a test of comments.

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