Hi all! Thanks for having a look at our blog. Its been a crazy month and so much has happened I dont know where to start! We flew into Singapore and were both overwhelmed by the heat, we knew it was going to be hot but it was so humid! Most of the time we were there, we just wandered around in a daze, soaking it all up and trying to get over the jetlag. Made a silly mistake the first day by staying on the bus back to the hostel too long and ending up back at the airport 1 day after we flew in!
Singapore is so clean and westernised, its like being in London (buit also being in a sauna at the same time!) so we didn't stay too long, trusted good old lonely planet and went to Pulau Tioman, a small tropical Island off the West coast. It was a pretty hellish day getting there, 5 buses and a 3 hour ferry but it was worth it. We spent the next week and a half there just relaxing, snorkelling, trying to make ourselves slightly less pasty by sunbathing, and being shocked on a daily basis by the wildlife. By day 3 we had seen a python, maqaque monkeys, 6ft monitor lizards and spiders so big I dont even want to think about them!
We evetually dragged ourselves away from Tioman, mainly because we felt guilty that we still hadn't done any actual travelling! We headed to Melaka, which is near the west coast, not a very logical route! The city was nice but very small so we only spent a few days there, wandering around Chinatown and enjoying some really nice food. Next we headed to the Cameron Highlands, a hill station up in the mountains, that is a lot cooler than the rest of the country, it was nice to not be sweating all the time! Second typical travellers mistake we made was to travel around during a public holiday, we arrived in the Cameron Highlands to find that all the hostels were full and that we probably wouldn't be able to find anywhere to sleep beyond the one night we managed to book! At this time we met a German guy called Ewald Schmidt who we ended up travelling with for the next week or so. We all decided to do a one day tour, encompassing most of the good things that you could do in the highlands and leave after a day because of the accomodation problems. It was a full on day, 2 hours of jungle trekking, visiting a traditional Malaysian village and learning blow pipe hunting, and visiting a wierd mossy forest and highest peak in the afternoon, we were all exhausted! Luckily we got another night at the hostel we were staying at and set off with Ewald the next day to an Island that another Germen couple had told us about, Pulau perhentien, off the East coast, so another long day of travelling!
The Island was a lot more touristy than Tioman but the beaches were better and after a horrible first night in a dive of a room (a shack on the beach but nowhere near as romantic as it sounds!), we found a lovely room overlooking the Sea and did some more relaxing, I also did a snorkelling trip, which was amazing, saw sharks, turtles and at least 20 different types of tropical fish.
From there, we said goodbye to the Island and Ewald, as well as a lovely Italien couple we made friends with, Federico and Laura. It just so happens that Federico is a physical therapist and for the whole time we have been away, darren has has a trapped nerve in his shoulder, which has been causing him lots of pain and geberally becoming a real nightmare, as it flared up even more each time we travelled somewhere. Federico diagnosed the problem and gave Darren some free massages, that eased the pain quite a bit so it was definitely good luck that we met them!
We then had a journey from hell, which involved 18 hours of night buses, waiting for buses to come and lots of waiting around to get to Penang, we were literally zombies when we arrived at 5 am sunday morning in Chinatown, only to find that obviously none of the hostels were open yet. We had to sit in a reception for another 3 hours waiting for free rooms and listening to 2 drunks having such a bad fight that the police were called! That night (our first full night in Penang), it rained so badly that we had 2 inches of rain (and sewerage, judging by the smell!) in our room. We had to somehow perch our huge rucksacks on benches for the night! So all in all, Penang has been a mixed bag so far but its a really nice city, very relaxed and lots of nice food, visited a butterfly farm yesterday which was great, as we missed out on the butterfly farm in the Cameron highlands. That pretty much takes us up to today, as I said, lots has happened and we've got another 11 months to go!
Be in touch soon and hope all is well in Blighty!