Malaysia 2014: Day 3

14 05 2014

We woke up early the next morning with a trip to the marine park on the agenda.  I also woke up with a horribly sore pair of calves from yesterday’s stair climbing.  Ehsan suffered the same fate, so we spent most of the next couple of days wincing and walking stiffly after getting up.  Calves are a terrible pair of muscles to have sore, I’m glad I didn’t have to drive!

Good morning, Langkawi!

Good morning, Langkawi!

Our first stop was breakfast.  We each had a couple of selections from the menu.  For an American, it was shockingly inexpensive.  Prices listed are in ringgit, and the exchange rate is approximately 3 MYR to 1 USD.  So yes, items cost cents.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Roti or roti canai is a breakfast dish that’s sort of a cross between a pancake and a tortilla, with an assortment of fillings and/or toppings.

Roti kaya, my first pick.  It had a sweet filling and a dipping sauce that tasted like sweetened condensed milk.

Roti kaya, my first pick. It had a sweet filling and a dipping sauce that tasted like sweetened condensed milk.

Still hungry and encouraged to eat a hearty breakfast, I tried a banana-filled roti pisang next

Still hungry and encouraged to eat a hearty breakfast, I tried a banana-filled roti pisang next

With fresh lychee juice to drink.  The assortment of fresh fruit juices is something I really miss!

With fresh lychee juice to drink. The assortment of fresh fruit juices is something I really miss!

After breakfast we hopped onto a bus waiting outside the restaurant and rode to the dock at Kuah, where we boarded a ferry to the Pulau Payar Marine Park.  The ferry ride took about an hour, and we dozed for much of it.

The ferry

The ferry

Following Arie to our seats

Following Arie to our seats

The marine park offers swimming, snorkeling and for those trained, scuba diving.

The island from the jetty, with the swimming and snorkeling area roped off

The island from the jetty, with the swimming and snorkeling area roped off

The water was crystal clear

The water was crystal clear

The dark spots are coral.  It's deteriorated in condition, but still, fascinating!

The dark spots are coral. It’s deteriorated in condition, but still, fascinating!

As we stepped off the boat we were issued life vests, then given instructions, snorkels and masks once we reached the island.  I’d never been snorkeling before, but it was easy!  Strap on a mask, bite down on a snorkel and swim along facedown.  We decided first to swim from the shore and meet up at a platform at the edge of the rope.  We swam along slowly, taking a good look at the colorful fish that darted around the coral and the sea urchins.  We’d been told there were black tipped sharks in the water, and we saw a few.  The coral may not be in great shape, but I loved it anyway.  I’ve always been fascinated with the ocean and its life forms, and it was fun to see it up close!  I guessed the water was about 30 feet at its deepest, but I also knew my depth perception was altered when I stretched my arms out as far as I could in front of my face and my hands only seemed a foot or so away.  (Yes, I felt like I had T-Rex arms, which was weird!)

After swimming around and exploring for an hour or so, we swam back up for lunch.  It wasn’t great, but it was food and I was hungry, and thirsty!  We’d brought some snacks and water along since there isn’t any for purchase.  After lunch we reapplied sunscreen and headed back into the water.  Oddly enough, no one in this culture has ever heard of any old wives’ tales about waiting an hour after eating before swimming.  Nor did anyone get a stomach cramp.  We explored more of the coral and snorkeling area, then swam up to a small patch of beach that no other tourists seemed interested in and just floated around and enjoyed the water and sun.

As the excursion was wrapping up and the tide coming in, most people got out of the water and more sharks showed up, despite being told not to feed them, a few idiots did.  There are always idiots!

View of the water from the shore

View of the water from the shore

Sharks and small prey fish

Sharks and small prey fish

One more, because I can

One more, because I can

Back on the ferry, we tried some snacks, including this little treat.  I tried durian last year and even though I did eat some, like most Westerners I found it pretty repulsive.  It smelled like durian, but tasted like corn pops.

Still, why?

Still, why?

After returning to Langkawi, we visited a night market.  These are sort of like farmers markets in setup, and from the map it seems that they take place 5 nights a week around the island, with vendors simply packing up and moving on each night.  The wares were food, both prepared and harvested, and trinkets and reminded me a bit of a State Fair at night.

One vendor's food offerings

One vendor’s food offerings

Samosa, yum!

Samosa, yum!

Juices and juice blends

Juices and other drinks

Pie slices and desserts

Pie slices and desserts

Jewelry

Jewelry

After the night market, we ate at a traditional Malaysian restaurant, where dishes are served family-style.

Dinner

Dinner

After dinner, we did some shopping along the street, which is fairly narrow and lined with restaurants and all sorts of shops and vendors.

This vendor made keychains from colored wire, and offered custom-made name keychains.

This vendor made keychains from colored wire, and offered custom-made name keychains.

I wrote  my name down, and in just a couple of minutes he'd deftly whipped this up!

I wrote my name down, and in just a couple of minutes he’d deftly whipped this up!

After shopping, we headed back to the hotel and set out our spread from the night market for some midnight snacks.  My favorite was a fruit called water guava, which looks like a small, one-lobed, pink bell pepper.

Midnight snacks

Midnight snacks

Not long after, I went off to bed, the fun being worth the sunburn!

 

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