the long road home (part deux)

So an early morning taxi ride to KL airport by a driver who was drifting across the lanes and sniffing something from a bottle meant that I was on my way East. More precisely, to Kota Bharu, the nearest airport to the Perhentians, two islands off the East coast of Malaysia. This area is much more Muslim such that they had queues for male/female in department stores and areas for different sexes to sit!

I hung around there exploring the market before heading off to the port for a 45 “speedboat” journey to Big Perhentian.

Here I spent 8 days mainly diving with a bit of sunbathing. I completed my PADI Openwater and Advanced PADI. Words can’t really describe how amazing diving was. I saw things I would never have imagined and being underwater is very dreamlike and fantastic. I did night dives, went to a shipwreck site, met lots of cool people and saw some mad fish and coral. We even got caught in a storm where the waves were crashing over the side of the boat and knocking us against the coral. We got back but the back of the boat was starting to sink… Without the internet, radio, TV (apart from getting up at 2.30am to watch England vs France) – I was pretty much away from all the vices of reality (including alcohol which was an under the counter affair for cans of tiger beer)..

But it had to end, so I reluctantly packed up my bags and headed slowly (on a night train) down to Singapore. 15 hours later I was there back to all the traffic, noise, pollution and excitment of city life. My 24 hours here involved walking a lot, seeing some museums and WW2 stuff, and a little shopping. However there were just too many shops and too much choice so I got frustrated and barely bought anything… Little India had the best Vegetarian Thalis and the food overall here was very impressive (though I skipped the frog porridge and the pigs liver meals)..

By 9pm Friday I was knackered so jumped onto the Quantas flight back to the UK.. Arriving at 5.30am Saturday to beautiful blue skies but a cold morning I spent the day recovering in London and then catching the train up to Sheffield.

A few days have past along with a rave in the Peaks (I went from 6am-9am – the price of jet lag) , a few pints watching England “thrashing ;-)” Croatia and lots and lots of jet lag. Think I’ve just about recovered so best head off to the mud fest that Glastonbury promises to be. A full report when I get back.