Having already spent nearly a month swanning around Malaysia (both parts), the only parts of me that have seen a tropical strength dose of ultraviolet are the usual lower arms and legs. Plus I hadn't actually been anywhere near a decent beach so far, this is sacrilege towards any trip where you're in a part of the world most people would only get as close to it as gazing enviously at a holiday magazine. So being that Englishman I decided to join those mad dogs out in the mid day sun on a decentish tropical beach.
Apparently one of the best places to go on the island was Batu Ferringhi, about 30mins on the bus from George town to the north side of the island. It is however, very touristy, not Benidorm mediocre touristy but beginning to head that way. With hotels bustling for space near the beach, market sellers with knock off goods and other tourist traps springing up and wrestling for the limited space between the beach and the hills. But still when you hop on to the beach, nearly all is forgiven as it is a rather splendid view. The usual white sands and palm trees, although the sea is far too churned up for it to be crystal clear to compete the perfect expectation. I strolled part way down it and decided to crash on the sun loungers of a Hawaiian themed beach bar called 'Bora Bora' and grab a few drinks. Whipping off my t-shirt for the first time to show the sun, the whiteness of my body almost reflected all the sunlight back into space, it had to get a shade darker at least before the days end.
A guy from the beach bar called Mohammed, dressed in beach bum attire, was serving me for the time I was chilling out there. He was obviously very bored as he sat down near me and chatted about random stuff for ages. Saying that he wasn't sure what to do with his life and his 5 other siblings had all got successful lives else where in different countries, and the only thing to look forward to is the prearranged wedding he had next year to this 15 year old! I mentioned that it was illegal in the UK to have forced marriages and he couldn't understand why it was such a big deal. The jobs all done for you, so no need to run around trying to find the right one all the time. There might be a small point in that, but only if you don't care who you actually marry and can put up with that. Finding out with slight surprise that I was also single, he started to pimp off his absent 18 year old Philippino work colleague to me, giving me her name so I could go check her out and messenger her on facebook. I think that she'd take some exception to the fact she was being sold off by her work mate, although being 18 and a tropical cutie not some thing to turn down just like that, but in reality i'm going to stay the gentleman and leave well alone. One to pass on to cousin Guy maybe.
The sun eventually got clouded over mid to late afternoon so once I had enough of the lying back and reading the old neurotic twitch kicked in for a bit of high octane action. I'd never really had a decent opportunity to have a go before, but this is the best time to do it, so for `15mins I went berserk on jet ski for 20min. Cost about 70RM or £14 so pretty reasonable, a bit cheaper possibility than in England or in Spain. Felt pretty exhilarating going at 50mph across the bow of waves and bouncing up and grabbing some air. Raced along side a few of the speed boats as they ferried tourists to remote beaches around the headland, and one's pulling people along attached to a para-sail. I did think about being strapped to a parachute and getting pulled along from 100 feet up, but I wanted to save it for another time so I could spread out the life experiences a bit.
Once I had burnt off all my water sports energies I wondered for an or hour so up and down the length of the beach, checking out what other bars and hotels were sharing the sands. I stopped under a tree over hanging the beach and chilled for awhile, gazing out over a small cove where a number of fishing boats set anchor next to a tall rocky outcrop, which had a message of love graffiti painted on the side of it. Looked like it had been a challenge to paint the big white love heart and initials seeing as though the person would have had to hang off the edge of the rock with one hand to do it. As I sat chilling, a group of dogs were running up and down the beach having a bit of a canine laugh, I whistled to one to say hello, and it quite happily came over, plonked himself down next to me on my beach towel and joined me on gazing over the ocean. The mutt obviously got a bit bored after about 30mins so w***ed off to join his other friends else where, nice to have a short lived companion for a while though.
On the way back up to the Bora Bora bar I chatted to a greying middle aged beach bum, who was helping to grab the para sailers down from the sky so they wouldn't have a messy landing. He seemed a bit shot away, and confirmed that he wouldn't be able to remember me or the conversation the next day as his short term memory was so shot away. Poor bloke, mind you you think that if he forgets every night that he works on a tropical beach for a living, he would enjoy the revelation every morning for the rest of his life, it might be a great feeling. His name is Toni by the way, actually, I suppose it is or it might be a name he made up for himself that day because he can't remember the one he gave himself the day before. Crashed back at the Bora Bora bar for a couple of beers before heading back to George Town to grab some dinner at the food court around the corner from the hotel.