A Travellerspoint blog

April 2010

Freddo the Motorbike

and other good news......

rain 35 °C

If you haven't read my last entry, you might like to scroll down to the first of this two part series.

For those of you not in the know, I have three sisters. One kakak (Jacqui) and two adik perumpuan (Bethany and Megan). Thanks to an Air Asia bargain basement sale, all my sisters had booked flights to visit me for my birthday before I even knew what was going on. Actually I still don't really know what is going on. And unlike the time they found me stealing mum's port from the pantry, I was actually happy to see them.

I tidied my apartment but as soon as they walked through the door their massive backpacks exloded and left stinky clothes hanging off everything that could hang them. They also brought me a wonderful birthday present - a brand new Canon SLR. Hence the 140 photos on facebook. We had one weekend together, so first stop Tioman. Another one of Malaysia's island paradise locations. Our brainchild was to get up super early, catch a bus to Mersing and then the first available ferry to Tioman. But something is wrong with the world of travel in Malaysia. You always seem to get where you are going, but nothing runs on time, nothing appears logical and you can never trust anybody. Are they telling you it is the only ferry to the island because it is the only one they get comission from, or is it really the only one? And is that the real price or the real price + white man tax? Anyway, we made the 3pm ferry which was two hours late and completely full but it seemed to leave AFTER the 5pm ferry which was almost empty. ??????? Our reward was waiting.

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A stunning island with monkeys, minotor lizards, butterflies and friendly locals. And the snorkelling was sensational. Huge big sea turtles, stingrays and schools of angel fish. All for the cost of a $4 mask and fins. In fact the snorkelling was so good that we stayed in the water for over two hours and came out as white prunes (Megan was a red prune). The only problem is that I didn't think to pay any attention to the huge tide markings around the bay. I was too eager to get in the water to realise all my things were well below the tide line, including my brand new camera! The water was a few very useful inches short of my camera but our towels, a pair of thongs and leather sandals were not quite so lucky. There were a few funny minutes of scouring around the bay and up a tidal stream before the occassional shout of "I found one" had accounted for everything. The adventure walking there was amazing on it's own. But the supposed 30 minute trek had turned out to be a serious 1.5 hour hike and we weren't looking forward to the return trip, especially with wet stuff. Beth thought she had asthma only to find her poor attempt at sarong tying was choking her airway. We almost didn't make it home before dark, but that day would have to be a highlight of my trip so far.

IMG_1517.jpgIMG_1365.jpgWe then had a few days here in Johore Bahru discovering new eating places, smoking sheesha pipes, buying cheap top quality pirated DVDs and decking out the new turtle enclosure. I'm sure my sisters are going to miss Oscar the Girl as much as they miss me. Funnily enough they all split in different directions and I had to say goodbye one by one. Beth to Laos, Megan to Amsterdam and Jacqui back to Melbourne. Sad to see them go, but I do have to study.

So that brings me almost to now. After the stolen bike, I decided finding transport was a major priority. My money is not going as far as I thought with the high rental I am paying so I was on a budget. The problem is that these little asians can ride little motorbikes comfortably and big ones (still smallish for me) come at a price. Finally I found a ride suitable for me, and cheap enough. Even with it's size my friend Fitri said I looked like a frog on it. I aptly named it Freddo. Should be delivered tomorrow, but then he said that 2 days ago. Fingers crossed.

EL250.jpgIn addition to this great piece of news, I found a third year Malaysian student to share my apartment with. The spare room has been great, especially while my sisters were here, but it is also a waste of money. A lot of money. Once my sister arrived back with a pen she bought for RM6 and we scoffed at how expensive it was. "What" she said "it is only $2."Sure it is only $2, but that is also the cost of a really decent meal here. So while this rental deal might only be worth a couple of hundred Aussie per month, it is enough to buy 700 coffees or go to the zoo 350 times or 100 tanks of fuel. So I will be much more comfortable, much more relaxed and having a lot more fun. Not to mention someone to talk to and a new set of wheels.

So things are working out, as they always seem to in the end. Now I just have 2 assignments to knock over, and a pile of other homework to do. Pffft, I'm still on holiday.

I will try and keep up from now on, and thanks for reading. Please leave a comment if you liked reading this, the encouragement will help and check facebook for all the photos. My camera has been busy. Thanks, Sam.

Posted by The Doctor 06:53 Archived in Malaysia Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

Oscar the Girl

and other bad news......

sunny 33 °C

OK, it has been well over a month so here is run down in point form for those that can't be bothered reading this whole entry:

-> saw the Chinese new year out with another festival and lots of fireworks
-> went through weeks of boredom and heat and boredom
-> had my pushbike stolen from my "secure" apartment building manned by "security" guards
-> received a visit from all three of my sisters at the same time
-> watched my apartment disappear into a sea of clothes and backpacks
-> went to another resort island called Tioman with my sisters
-> ate lots of food with my sisters
-> said goodbye to my sisters and found my apartment again
-> finally bought that motorbike I have been searching for
-> found a housemate

So that pretty much brings you all up to date. I will share some details, but this will be a long one so grab a coffee. First let me explain why I haven't written for so long, point form again:

1) I am lazy, that is the main one, but most of you already knew that.
2) I haven't been real happy. It is very difficult to broadcast an interesting story to the world when you are not actually interested in it yourself.
3) Now I have something to write I am actually really busy. Namely because of sisters and assignments. One of which I would happily do without.

It seemed that all my fun left when Jess got on the plane back to Australia. I got used to my Malaysian classmates saying "we will do it tonight, you are only here for 6 weeks" and then it got replaced with "we will do it later, you are here for 12 months." And they all disappeared into a sea of study and incoherent language. It is almost like the orange traffic light that everyone speeds up for, but now I am green so everything has slowed down again. I am going to start telling everyone I am going home next month and see what happens. I bet I get parties.

Just to compound my new found boredom, some jackass stole my bike. I have had bikes stolen before and you would think I would learn, but I wasn't expecting this. I live on level 19 of an apartment building that has 24hr security surveillance. Like real people, and I can even watch their office on channel 1 of my TV. So they don't sleep - or do anything at all for that matter. In addition to this the lift has an electronic security system that requires all the residents to swipe their security tag. It only allows you to go to the level you live on. So essentially only residents can enter the building and only those living on level 19 can come to my apartment, which is very few people.

Three weeks ago one of the lifts was broken and the security system had been overridden. It was still broken when I left my bike unlocked outside my door for a few minutes. CCTV showed me I was followed to level 19 and my bike was nicked within 5 minutes of me leaving it there. It appeared as if this guy had been watching and waiting for me to make a mistake. Amazingly the lift was fixed the next day.

It isn't the bike so much, it is the constant feeling of being ripped off. Like the fact that my room seems to have attracted a rental dearer than anyone else. And when get food from a buffet the price is double that of Malay guy next to me. I'm getting a lot smarter but it seems my vulnerabilities have been taken advantage of, and it doesn't leave you with a warm fuzzy love of Malaysia. A poor student from Australia is still a cash cow here. Someone tipped this thief off, and my nature is to trust people first, doubt them second. Well everyone in Malaysia is now a thief until proven otherwise. It is shame, but as a friend said on my way to report the offence "welcome to Malaysia."

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So there is one more bit of bad news. The grim reaper has struck again and a turtle has died. I think it was injured from the drain accident. It never ate properly since that day. Then I got a replacement and that one died too. Sounds bad but I'm sure it is not my fault. The other turtle, Oscar, would be fat if he wasn't trapped in a shell. He never stops eating so I assumed it to be a boy. Turns out it is actually Oscar the Girl, and I have been buying her lesbian partners. Now that I think about it, girls eat a lot.

And here is where the good news starts. However this entry is already long enough and good news deserves a fresh page.

To be continued....

Posted by The Doctor 03:11 Archived in Malaysia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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