Langkawi? You hardly know us!

Okay, obviously it was hard to think of a good title for this blog post, so I went with a bad pun over something simple like “A little trip to a tropical paradise”. I stand by that decision. (and if you didn’t figure it out, which is a possibility considering how bad it is, the title is a take off on the old “rectum? Damn near killed him” kind of pun. Sigh…it is a bad one)

So in one of my first blog posts I wrote that heaven is a chinese “coffee” shop and that I was not surprised that my version of heaven would be filed with good food and people shouting in Chinese. (The coffee shops are little mini hawker centers and are amazing by the way) Well, I guess somewhat surprisingly my version of hell is filled with Chinese people too. Chinese tourists. More specifically, Chinese tourist who came to Langkawi and annoyed the crap out of me at the Sky Bridge queue. I say surprised because I have been in a Chinese tourist situation before. When I went to China some years ago I took a river cruise down the Yangtze River that was about 90% Chinese, with a few Canadians and a few Dutch tourists to fill in the gaps. And it was awesome and I did not have any bad experiences with the Chinese tourists on the boat. Actually, it was the Dutch that drove me mad. Every announcement was made in Mandarin and English. When we were on a bus taking us to the Three Gorges Dam, after every announcement one of the Dutch Tourist would turn to me to complain that the announcement was made in English and not Dutch. Of course, it is obviously the British’s fault that English is everywhere but Damn it Dutch Tourist, do you speak Mandarin? No! Does anyone else who is not Dutch who visits China? No! So English is the second most commonly spoken language in the world so you are god damn right the announcements are made in English and not Dutch!

Seriously, every single time. “oh you Americans, they have to do this for you because you can not learn any other languages.”

Anyway, point being, I have been around Chinese Tourists and it did not bother me. Now a note: I do not think I am being racists here when I call them out as specifically CHINESE tourists. I am generalizing for sure, but there are some things I have found out living in Asia. Personal space is not a thing. If someone wants to get ahead of you in line, be it in traffic or in person, they will just walk up and get ahead of you. It’s your fault for not being alert apparently. I think tourist in general are like this everywhere. So add in the hatred of personal space and manners that one generally finds prevalent in Asia and you get my personal hell: Large groups of Chinese tour groups, made up of families with little kids who like to stare at big white men like me. I hated it.

The general experience that is. Iris might have more to say on the topic but I am ranting here so I will continue. (also don’t be confused: I enjoyed the Sky Bridge and would tell everyone to go if they visit Langkawi…but the crowds sucked)

Our first day in Langkawi was spent at the Sky Bridge. It is actually a kind of cool thing. It is a big steep mountain that you get to by two cable cars, with observation decks on top, and a sky bridge. The pictures will do a better job o explaining it all. To get there, you had to go through what I think, if I am remembering correctly, was called the Asian Village.

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The Dome…we’ll get to that in a second

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So the dome in the second picture is this weird movie thing they MAKE you go through while you are waiting in line for the lift up the mountain. There was a poster outside saying it had been feature in this blockbuster movie that made $17 million USD worldwide. I think Star Wars made that on popcorn sales alone this weekend so I am not sure why they were bragging about it. But you go in, and all sides of the thing are movie screens and it is suppose to seem like you are riding a roller coaster on Mars and it is terrible. Moving on.

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Like I said, it is worth a visit despite my rantings

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The sky bridge

So yeah, it is a nice view from up there. It was obviously a bit cloudy this day and started to rain just as we were starting our long voyage down the lift. (Gondola….what do you call those things again? I just call them lifts, thinking in skiing terms)

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As close as I got to stepping on this

You every notice how there are a lot of pictures of my wife Iris on here and not a lot of me? One, she is better looking than me obviously. Two, I have the camera usually. But three, SHE NEVER OFFERS TO TAKE A PHOTO. Calling you out Iris, calling you out…

But moving on because we still have a lot to talk about.

After the Sky Bridge, we went to the Seven Pools waterfall. It is a waterfall that has, well, Seven Pools.

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Here is a picture of it from the tram ride up
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Here it is up close. We went to the lower part of the falls. One of us, no names, did not want to walk up to the top.
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Another monkey in the “wild”. Ho-hum. Yeah, he is eating trash. Sadly a lot of monkeys hang out at the tourist sites because they know idiot tourists will feed them and leave food because idiot tourists are, well, idiots.
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Maybe it is culturally insensitive to take this photo but I am okay with it. She is in a full Burqua, face covered and everything, standing in a waterfall on a tropical Island. Yeah, I dont see that everyday so I took a photo. Also, I thought it looked cool.

So there you go. Day one in the books. Phew…..this is a lot to write. I might power through the next two days with mostly photos.

Day two saw us taking an island hopping boat tour and switching from our first hotel to our second one which was much better. The first one was nice, but the second one was where would have stayed the whole time if there was availability. You’ll see why soon.

First stop: Island of the Pregnant Maiden. Story is some pregnant maiden drown herself here a long time ago. Now if you swim in it, you will be very fertile. Watch out world, I am fully loaded now!

Too much? Probably, but it won’t be the last time for sure. And the pictures below are kind of out of order.

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The boats that take all the tourists on the island hopping tour. They coordinate via stickers. You might have seen some on Iris and I in an earlier picture.

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Iris with the ocean behind here. Game Night represent!

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The fresh water lake, just a few meters from the ocean
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Me with the lake behind me. Garden Grove represent. This picture and the one taken of Iris are on the same little platform. There is a small piece of land, maybe 5 meters wide, that divides the salt water from the fresh water. Pretty and pretty neat!

I am skipping the next time, the eagle feeding for two reasons: No good pictures, those birds are quick! And it is a manufactured feeding for tourists like me. The animal’s diet changes as a result and they do not hunt as they normally would. So not a big fan.

Next stop…some island! I have no idea the name but it was a chance to swim in the Indian Ocean on a little tropical island so yeah, it was awesome!

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So I asked Iris to take a picture of me and make it a wide shot. She right away knew that what I really wanted a picture of was the women next to me swimming in full burqas. Modesty never stops here. Again, maybe culturally insensitive but I am just observing something that is unusual for most people who will read this blog. I will write my judgmental post when I am no longer afraid of getting kicked out of the country.
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Again, this was the norm for all girls. Men, they could wear whatever they wanted but the women were all covered, except for the western ones.
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And the close up view of the shot I asked Iris for.

Okay, so I think I have been writing for over an hour now and I am tired and I want to make dinner and play video games and just not sit at the computer anymore. So this last part will move quick

So here are some photos of the second place we stayed at. Samantha, if you read this, this is a beach I would take you to. DESERTED. Empty almost all the time except for us. There were some people a bit up the beach at the Sport Center (para sailing) and the Four Seasons even further down but in front of us, just empty.

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The sunset. I have no idea what caused these little mounds of sands but it was amazing.
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The fish and chip place down the beach where we ate both nights.
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These little crabs (you can see one in the top hole) eat things they find in the sand, and then spit out the sand into these little balls. They were all over the beach and made some amazing designs. Art by accident!
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A big boat and a big island that is actually part of Thailand
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My wife relaxing in front of out little condo where we were staying. Notice how no one else is around? Yeah, it was like that most of the time

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A spot on the beach where no one had walked all day apparently. That is ALL little balls of sand made by those crabs. Amazing.

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The black sand beach. The rocks are volcanic, left over from the eruption that created the island (and Malaysia apparently-it was a big shift in the plates I think) and most of the beach was black sand-ish as you can see.

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Okay, so our last adventure was an eco tour we took with Dev’s Adventure Tours. ( http://langkawi-nature.com/)

We found out about the possibility of this even happening and this company through a blog like this so I want to make sure to put there name out there and say that it was AMAZING! We opted for kayaking in the mangroves. I wont go into what mangroves are but they are apparently the only trees that can live in the salt water, which they do, during high tide and floods. They act as a great barrier and protection for the island, so much so that people actually leave their boats in the coastal waterways near the mangroves for like months at a time.

Oh, also we saw a monitor lizard! Like 4-5 feet long from head to tail. It was awesome!

Okay, so not only is this one of my longer posts ever, but I think Iris might have more to say on this topic. If she is upset because I covered ground that she wanted to, too bad! She is in Mexico right now and spent a few days back in the States so you snooze…uh…er…enjoy time with you family, you loose….yeah

 

Jumpa Lagi!

 

Kevin


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