Cycling to paradise

Having had to get an internal flight from the uncyclable Kuala Lumpur to the east coast, as buses wouldn't take our bikes, we arrived in Kota Bharu hot and hassled. From there we cycled south, with the Perhentian islands in sights. The cycling was hot and, despite a total lack of hills and generally good roads, gruelling. Traffic in towns is chaotic.... cars, brightly coloured buses, taxis and mopeds beeping and weaving everywhere. And very few people cycling. Mmmmm.... I wonder why? But, outside the towns, the cycling is calmer, although no less hot and energy sapping.

Having taken a very necessary, impromptu rest stop at the side of the road, on the steps of a local shop (i.e. part of a family's dwelling turned into a makeshift grocers), the family came out and gave us ice creams and a watermelon and refused to take payment for them. They also let us rest in the relative cool of their shop for as long as we needed, despite, we surmised afterwards, being in a rush to get to the mosque. Such kindness is typical of the Malaysian hospitality we've received thus far. Everyone, and I mean everyone, greets us with cheers and hellos as we pass, waving and clapping. Luca is treated like a celebrity.... every passer-by wants to shake his hand, high-five him or have their photo taken with him.

We arrived in the Perhentian islands two days ago. It's the perfect cliche of tropical paradise! White coral sands, brilliant blue sea, isolated beaches and bays with wooden beach chalets. No roads - jungle tracks leading to even more remote beaches and water taxis to neighbouring bays and clusters of chalets the only transport option (our bikes are locked up in a hotel garage on the mainland). We're staying in the most remote beach on the smaller of the two islands, in a wooden chalet that overlooks palm trees, a stunning bay and the wonderfully warm and inviting South China Sea. There are about six other guests here, as it's just re-opened after the monsoon season. The food is delicious.... amazing nasi goreng, noodles, freshly caught fish barbecued on the beach every evening and freshly fallen coconuts to drink from. And it all costs less than €20 a night. We had planned to stay here for just two nights and then move on to the bigger Perhentian island. Now we think we'll stay for at least a week. The bikes can wait. How do you leave paradise?


At March 6, 2011 at 4:15 PM Roger said...

It looks wonderful! Enjoy your stay. The pictures are great - especially Luca in the hammock! YaYa Roger xxxxxx

At March 6, 2011 at 5:01 PM Unknown said...

It truly looks like Paradise! Yes, how can one leave such a place. Our darling Luca looks very much at home there, he's so amazingly adaptable and fits in everywhere. Yaya Eva x

At March 7, 2011 at 8:23 AM Maeve said...

So jealous! I cant believe what you've already done, and you've been away for 1, 2 weeks! CRAZY! My little friend Luca looks like he's quite enjoying the luxury and peace of Malaysia! Cant wait to see you and (finally) meet Luca!
Lots of love,

At March 7, 2011 at 8:31 AM Linda de Paor said...

Thanks Ya-Ya's and thanks little Maeve-ey (can I still get away with calling you that - especially with your looming?) for the comments. Luca has indeed fitted in nicely to the cruisey way of life in Malaysia - in particular this island life on our little piece of Perhentian paradise. He is actually dozing in a nearby hammock as I type......Love to you all and keep in touch. It's so lovely to hear the comments. Love to you all. x

At March 7, 2011 at 2:14 PM Anonymous said...

Well sounds like it all got sorted in the end but it must have been very difficult to realise that you couldnt cycle or take public transport in Kuala Lumpa!
The island does indeed look like paradise -I love the white beaches ,
hammocks and palm trees ... looks like a brilliant plan B to me!

Luca looks like hes enjoying himself , any room for Auntie Niamh in that hammock ?
Glad all is panning out well .
Lots of love from a sunny(but cold) England ! x

At March 11, 2011 at 4:16 PM Niamh Kendall said...

Hi Guys ,

Are you all well . All good here but wondered if you would send us an update when you get this !!
Love Niamh

At March 12, 2011 at 5:45 PM Anonymous said...

Howdy Travellers,

I love the photos, especially Luca through the gate, eating the watermelon, windswept on the boat and giving thumbs up in the hammock. No wonder he's causing a stir, how unbelievably cute is he!!

Sitting in Trinity 24 hour study room now, uggh! Should be working but couldn't resist a look.

BTW brother, appreciate the Monday morning text describing your heavenly island, didn't depress me at all! Give that little creature a big kiss from his auntie.

Lynn x

At March 13, 2011 at 6:40 AM Linda de Paor said...

Hi Niamh,
Thanks for the comments, texts and the call to make sure all is okay with us in the wake of the Japanese quake/Tsumani...We're devastated by the news.
I have to admit, despite no warnings re. Malaysia, I was a bit nervous. Especially as a wild storm raged throughout Friday night. I didn't sleep a wink with worry and kept waking up poor Phil (who would sleep through a natural disaster) for reassurance that a Tsunami wasn't coming. I even got him to check outside a few times....
All well here anyway and no threat of any kind to Malaysia thankfully.
We're still enjoying our stay here despite some stormy and wet weather recently and, funnily enough, we can't quite fix on a departure date but it will probably be sometime in the next week. The internet tends to be very unreliable here but, once we are securely back online, we will Skype.
Love to you and all chez Kidmore.

At March 13, 2011 at 6:54 AM Linda de Paor said...

Thanks for your comment Lynn. Lovely to hear from you.
Hope that the college is going well and that you and John are both well.
Luca is continuing to have a blast here. As are we. Despite the recent inclement weather.
One of the female staff members of D'Lagoon where we are staying, (who apparently goes by the abbreviated name of "Miss No"), has a teeny wild civet (I'd never heard of one before)
and is nursing it until it is strong enough to be released back into the wild. Luca is besotted with it of course and loves watching it being bottle fed by hand. He/She (?) makes the most amazing noises. Anyway - today Miss No told us that she is calling her little charge "Luca".
We must put a pic up of Luca with Luca.
Hope you get a wee break over St. Patrick's Day. We have a special geansai glas for Luca to wear on the day.
Le Gra, L, L & P x

At March 14, 2011 at 10:13 PM Emma said...

Hi Lin,

OMG, it looks and sounds incredible! Thinking of you all.

Lots of love
Emma xx

At March 15, 2011 at 4:05 AM Linda de Paor said...

Thanks Emma. Hope all well with you guys. We're having a really lovely chilled time. It's just so idyllic. But we have started to plan where to go once we drag ourselves away from here. Will probably head on the 18th. Maybe we'll hit the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands inland or go further south to another grp of islands.
I was just thinking of you actually as, as far as I remember, it's Isobel's christening this week. So hope you have a brill day. Lots of Love to you all. Will keep in touch and will try to set up a Skype call soon. xx


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