Frankie says…

Relax!! What a relaxing final few days on the island. Laid back, feet up, doing the bare minimum, chilling out.

We haven’t walked nearly as far as we expected to each day, which means my body is craving exercise. It’s also not giving in to sleep very willingly. Hello insomnia, my old friend.

Once, I got up in the middle of the night to go for a quick walk, up and down the beach. It was still warm, pleasantly so, and quiet. Just the sound of waves gently caressing the shore and the odd cricket in the distance. But no boat engines, no music from the restaurant, no people, no children’s squeaky shoes, very quiet.

An empty bikini

I spent some time looking for the owner of this garment, to no avail.

Plus, I tried to take some nocturnal photographs. As we’re quite close to the equator, the constellation Orion appears to be lying down. In theory, we can see the whole sky from here, but the view was obstructed by the Island Resort’s bunglows, the trees, a few clouds and the other islands.

Orion (you might have to let your eyes adjust to the darkness: give it 20 minutes or so)

One delightful sight was the Moon setting behind the smaller of the two main islands, peeking out from behind Snoopy.

What a marvellous night for a moondance

Other attempts at artistic shots weren’t very successful. In fact, I immediately deleted all the rubbish pictures.

I heard a rustle in the bush, immediately turned on the flash and took a picture. Whatever it was, was faster than me. Probably just the cat that occasionally frequents the restaurant.

Our friends from the north have now moved onto their next destination. I say ‘from the north’ but although she’s originally from Yorkshire, they currently live in Brighton.

We made significant progress with the books we’re reading. Some authors need an editor though. Interesting story, but you told me most of it twice. We had mixed success with our puzzles too.

Cloud made from the finest meringue

To keep body and soul together, we had to eat, so we walked all the way to the dining area twice a day. There are two routes to choose from, the short way and the slightly longer way which takes you by the beach. Most times, we sat at the same table. It was just too hard deciding where to sit, otherwise. Even harder, though, was deciding what to eat. Western or Malaysian? We tried to alternate but I think Western won overall as the breakfast was heavily biased in that direction. The rotis were fantastic, though not as nice as Jyoti’s rotis.

We always enjoy watching the other people and listening to them. Little Squeaky Shoes is still here and I’m sure he’s really trying to run away from his footwear.

On one of our short walks, we did spot a rare sight. It’s always hot and sunny here but the country is pretty much run for/by the oil company Petronas. So imagine our delight when we spotted this solar panel on the island. Just the one.

Malaysia’s token solar panel

We never did get around to snorkelling. But we did go fish-spotting from the jetties and piers. Another opportunity to play with my phone camera.

We kept our legs away from these fishes

It was of course very hard to identify the species, but we did see parrot fish and zebra fish plus shoals of little fishes, maybe sardines. One was bigger, it looks like a pike or something.

A ball of little fish
Long pike-like thing

This crab was trying to climb the plastic pipe. Three steps forward and two steps back every time a wave came in.

Very persistent crab

Mind you, he’s brighter than these black crabs, who were trying to climb the stairs.

Crabs are as good at climbing stairs as Daleks are

Sometimes the nerd in me takes over. I had to check that my phone was still tagging the photos with their geographical location. In most cases, yes, but this one gave me latitude and longitude instead, to a remarkable degree of accuracy.

Google slightly overdoing the accuracy of its coordinates

By my calculations, that’s an accuracy of less than one millimetre! Amazing!

After our final evening meal, we were treated to a light show. There was a storm over on the mainland, and we could see lightning in the clouds. Another fantastic opportunity to take some exciting photos. Don’t worry: I have deleted at least 99% of the 1300 photos I took over about an hour, around the time of sunset.

The storm begins
The storm’s getting exciting now

I did take a video from the dining area too. Instead of rolls or claps of thunder accompanying the lightning, all you can hear is squeaky shoes walking up and down.

This long time exposure also shows the boat embarrassed by its own relatively insignificant display of lights. A green light to starboard, a red light to port, flashing every second or so.

A long exposure

Our final Perhentian breakfast gave us all the energy we needed to pack. The boat was due to leave at noon and while waiting, I walked to the end of the jetty for more fish photos.

The swordfish making sure we didn’t eat too much breakfast

Sadly, there was nothing as big as the swordfish in the sea. But there were zebra fish amongst others.

Zebra fish
Where’s Liesel?

The sand on the beach is lovely, and there are bags of it all over the place. The instructions say ‘Store in a cool dry place’. Well, this island is never cool, not even in the middle of the night. And the beach isn’t necessarily dry: the sea can be quite damp at times.

Store in cool dry place

But what makes the sandbags more interesting is that at least one lizard lives amongst them. I saw one yesterday, over a foot long, quite colourful, but very shy with humans. And with me.

Tuna Express, our ride

The main shock to the system on arriving back at Kuala Besut and disembarking from the boat was seeing cars, traffic, roads, people covered from top to toe in thick clothing: such an anticlimax after our lazy week in paradise. But, the evening meal fixed everything.

We are now resident in a ‘Transit Motel’ right next to the airport in Kota Bharu. The journey was two hours, first by boat and then with another mad taxi driver. He held out his hand for a tip, so I shook it instead.

Our hostess is a lovely lady, she cooked us the most delicious meal we’ve had in Malaysia. Next time, we’ll definitely go down the route of home cooking! They offered us dinner and breakfast at a cost of 40 ringgits, we couldn’t say no. We had a coconut curry with okra, aubergine, corn etc with rice and an omelette with onions and greens, followed by curry puffs, pineapple and watermelon juice.

Curry puffs

I’m embarrassed to say we don’t know her name, but our hostess told us about her family. She has 7 brothers and 4 sisters. Her husband has 10 siblings. When her oldest daughter got married, they had 2000 guests, all family and friends. Her second daughter says that she doesn’t want that big a party!

Author: mickandlieselsantics

We are a married couple, married to each other, one American, one Brit, one male, one female, neither of us as fit as we would like to be, over 109 years old altogether.

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