I’m 10,000 metres about the earth, with endless darkness outside my window and an overweight Malaysian dude drooling onto the lapel of his Hawaiian shirt next to me. My holiday is over, and it’s time to head home and face the real world.
Fortunately, my last day in Asia provided all the drama and excitement that I could hope for, which is why I’m currently so tired I can barely lift my can of beer to my lips. With a boat taking me back the Malaysian mainland at midday, I headed out for one final snorkel in the delightful ocean. All I wanted to see was a turtle. Just one. They’re all over the place in the Perhentian Islands, but in three days I hadn’t seen one. I splashed around, chasing fish and savouring every minute of my time in that underwater kingdom, but there were no turtles. Finally, reluctantly, it was time to head back to shore and pack my bags.
And there it was.
Centimetres from me was a giant sea turtle, elegantly soaring through the water while I stared in amazement. I just stopped, treading water while I soaked in the beauty of this incredible creature. As the turtle swam further out into the blue, I paddled alongside her, diving deeper into the ocean, not wanting to lose her. I finally had to let her go, and she disappeared into the deep while I reluctantly returned to shore.
I dragged my bags out into the sun and waited for my ride back to reality. And waited. Turns out they forgot all about me, and a special water taxi had to be called so that I could actually start my journey back to Australia. When it finally arrived, there was a pretty Japanese girl in it. Her name was Anri, and she’d also been forgotten by the ferry, so we travelled back to the mainland together, struggling with the language barrier as we both tried to come to terms with our holidays ending. We shared a taxi back to the airport, then caught the same plane back to Kuala Lumpur, where we both faced a few hours of waiting around for planes in opposite directions.
We had time to get to know each other. We shared photos of our families, talked about what we’d seen and what we had to go back to. She was off to teach scuba diving courses in Thailand, which I thought sounded a lot better than writing about tits in a cold office in Sydney. We held hands, an innocent act that meant so much. Anri couldn’t even pronounce my name, but when it came time for her to catch her plane, I farewelled her with sadness. I wish I’d kissed her as she left for her flight, but I didn’t.
In six or so hours, we had a complete relationship – from meeting each other, to being introduced to the family, to breaking up. In some ways, it was the best relationship I’ve had, one without the inevitable fighting and sadness. And it was the perfect ending to a great holiday.
And now here I am, fighting the need to sleep and cradling a warm can of Heineken. The Great Wall of China and the Petronas Towers are behind me. Cled and the Chinese bloke who liked Norm Peterson from Cheers and the dude in Guilin who rooted the dog are nothing but memories. It’s been an incredible experience, one full of wonder and excitement and adventure. It’s been my first solo trip overseas and I’ve grown so much. I grew up thinking I could barely go to the shops by myself, and here I am, coming home from a month in Asia on my Pat Malone.
After three-and-a-half weeks of drinking, spewing, exploring, embarrassing myself, falling over, down and into things, running from perverts and chasing women, here it is – my last full day of my holiday. Another glorious Malaysian sky greeted me as I made my way out of my hut at dawn, skipped across the golden sand and flopped into the azure ocean. And that’s largely how the day went. I truly had no desire to do anything other than just flop around, soaking in the magic of the Perhentian Islands.
The only thing that interrupted a second day of snorkelling, sleeping, reading and generally bludging was a necessary trip to the other island – the BIG ISLAND, also known as Besar – to get some money out. It wasn’t much of a hassle really, and was quite a bit of fun. I returned to the fishing village, marveling again at their carefree lifestyle, then took a tiny boat across the two kilometres to the other island. The water here was truly wonderful – so bright and blue and clear that my brain had trouble registering that it was actually real.
Once on the island there wasn’t an ATM to speak of, but that didn’t really matter. The Big Island is the more tourist-friendly island, with more expensive resorts, but is still wonderfully quiet. There’s nothing that could be mistaken for a village, and little more than a string of tiny resorts looking out onto the beach. I got a beer and a couple of bags of chips and just sat down, staring goofily at the idyllic scene playing out in front of me.
As I was checking my phone, I noticed that I had a friend request on the Facebook, and it was from Cled. Yes, Cled, the gluttonous, perverted Yank I met in Brunei, had somehow tracked me down on the information superhighway (how good is that term!) and wanted to catch up. His profile showed him naked bar for some tiny pink lingerie wrapped around his pudgy body, which made me feel sick. I added him, anyway.
Cled messaged me immediately, and it was a dick pic. Of course it was a dick pic. While I was gagging, a fat woman in a sarong waddled over, and as soon as she saw what was on the screen, she started screaming. “This sicko is watching gay porn on his phone!” she squawked, and a group of angry tourists stormed over and surrounded me, berating me for being a sex pest. I tried to explain what had happened, but they weren’t listening, and instead started throwing things at me.
They were treating me like Gary Glitter, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before the angry mob started stabbing me, so I ran away like a small child. I belted along the sand, dodging boats and sunbathers, while the maniacs screamed and acted like berks as they chased me. The little champion who had brought me over saw me coming and waved at me, then quickly started pushing his boat into the crystal clear water. “Get in, get in!” he wailed, and I dived into the dinghy just as it slid into the water. The angry mob howled with rage as I escaped, standing at the edge of the water and shaking their fists as I mooned them.
After watching the sun sink into the ocean one last time while sipping on a can of Tiger, I found a quiet restaurant overlooking the ocean and reflected on my trip while munching my curry. It’s been fun, exciting, scary, hard and inspirational. I’ve walked through the world’s biggest cities, sailed down pristine rivers, and sat on stunning beaches. And tomorrow, it all ends… but I’ve got a feeling there’s still some adventure left in this holiday.
I wrote this back in May, 2012, while sipping rum from a coconut.
The Perhentian Islands, off the east coast of Malaysia, are glorious and unspoilt. However, it seems like I ruined the island experience for two young sausage-munching lasses.
I woke up alone, the German girls never having found their bearings and decided to join me in my hut. When I climbed out of bed and staggered out to my little veranda overlooking Petani Beach, I noticed a note pinned to my door. I grinned to myself; obviously the Berlin beauties regretted ditching me and wanted to apologise.
“You are the worst thing to happen to the German people since the Nazi Party,” it read. “You suck and we hope your penis fall off and you get cancer of anus. Fuck you.”
I dunno, must’ve been the German sense of humour, or maybe the message was lost in translation or something. I thought I was a perfect gentleman to them. I rambled back over to the cafe, where I had a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast, while the few people who wandered through pointed and whispered about me.
After that, the day consisted of little more than snorkeling, lying on the beach reading, lying on the beach sleeping, lying on the beach writing and wandering around snapping photos of this wonderful place. The most active thing I did was take a stroll along a jungle path towards the island’s only village. This unnamed (alright, I simply can’t be bothered looking it up) place is a tiny fishing village consisting a handful of shacks scattered through the bush and, like the rest of the place it’s extremely picturesque. As I wandered around like a drongo, the locals went about their daily lives – washing clothes, eating delicious food, playing soccer on the beach and heading out on their tinnies to fish. Shit, back home we lock ourselves away in office blocks all day, and we reckon we’re a first world country? I’ll take this lifestyle any day (and the fact all the women were walking around in sarongs that barely covered their naughty bits didn’t hurt, either).
The Perhentian Islands are by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. I’ve been to Thailand and Vietnam and Cambodia, and have explored the best beaches in Australia, but nothing comes close. This place is remote and hard to get to, there’s not much electricity, few actual resorts, and not a lot of comforts, and I hope it can stay this way. There are no no cars, no motorbikes, and the only sounds are birds singing and waves crashing. To sum it up, I fucking love the Perhentian Islands!
I gave the cafe a miss for dinner, instead choosing to make the trek back up to Long Beach to get something to eat. It was worth it. When I got there, the sun was just starting to set and there were plenty of restaurants to choose from. I picked one that had a bunch of tables and chairs on the beach and got myself a couple of beers. They put an edge on my hunger, so I splashed out and bought two meals – a green curry and some sort of squid thing – and sat there munching away like a fat chick in a biscuit factory.
Afterwards, feeling as full as a public school classroom, I waddled down the beach to see what was going on. It was much like the night before, with clumps of smelly hippies huddled together, only it was even quieter and the hippies even less inviting. I smashed a few beers, then a sexy little blonde sheila wandered over. She put the word on me – hard – and I was sure I was in. Just as I was about to ask her to walk six kilometres back to my barren hut, she started trying to sell me a bottle of some sort of filthy-looking orange spirit. I felt so used.
I thanked her for her time, then wandered straight over to the next shop and bought a bottle of the same orange shit for half the price. It was called Orangutan and, from the taste of it, it was most likely orangutan piss. It was awful, and was the first drink to actually give me a hangover WHILE I WAS DRINKING IT. A headache crept into my skull, I started sweating, the whole deal. I still finished the bottle, of course, but there was no way I was gunna finish the second bottle I bought – I gave the last couple of swigs to some sunburnt Pommy-looking bloke, who took a sip and promptly fell into a bin.
From there, things are somewhat hazy. I remember dancing around a fire, and going for a swim in the ocean with a heavily-tattooed South African girl, and singing a Michael Buble song on a karaoke machine, and getting into trouble for pissing in the corner of some sort of dance club thing. But that’s it.
I don’t have a clue how I got home, but I woke up the next day covered in scratches and bruises, without my singlet and with a video on my phone of me pashing (what I really, really hope was) some hot chick. All up, not a bad night.
I wrote this back in May, 2012. In case you’re wondering why there were no updates last week, I was out working in the bush and had no interwebbing connection. Yes, working, which means I may not be jobless, I’m sure as fuck still drunk!
Travelling can never be simple for me. If everything went to schedule I’d be catching a taxi to the airport, a plane back to Kuala Lumpur, another plane to Kota Bharu on Malaysia’s west coast, a taxi to a tiny little town called Kuala Besut, and then a boat out to the beautiful Perhentian Islands. But there was a possible problem between me and the final destination of my adventure – the time between landing in KL and jumping on the next flight was a slim 95 minutes and if anything went wrong there, I could say goodbye to a one of my three nights on the islands. Even Clementine Ford’s bedsprings aren’t under that much pressure.
I got my shit together and walked out of my room, and was shocked to see a huge pile of garbage opposite my door. As I walked past, fuck me, one of the bags moved! When I looked closer, it wasn’t a black plastic bag full of garbage at all, it was a black plastic bag full of sweaty, naked Cled. For some reason he was wearing the bag as a sort of one-piece suit and was hiding in amongst the rubbish, doing his best to not be seen.
“Cled, mate, what’s the deal with your clobber?” I asked, and he pretended like he’d just seen me.
“Oh, this? Everyone’s wearing garbage bags this season,” he swanned, then blushed.
“That’s a load of crap, what’s the real story?”
“Alright, but keep this on the down-low. The girls,” and as he said this, he raised his hands, “wanted a bit of public sex. You know how kinky chicks can get. So I took them out and we had a saucy threesome in the lift.”
“Alright, and then what happened?”
“Well, my body may be beautiful and sensual and covered in a fine layer of fur, but it doesn’t have any pockets to put keys in, so I was locked out of my room.”
“So you decided to climb into a dirty garbage bag and sit in a pile of rubbish?”
“I figured the cleaners would be around at some point, and when they opened the door I could sneak in like nothing happened.”
“Oh yeah, there’s nothing as inconspicuous as an obese American climbing buck-naked out of a fucking garbage bag.”
“Glad you agree, buddy.”
“See ya, Cled.”
“Oh, you’re going? Have a safe trip.” With that, he stood up and a gentle breeze lifted the bottom of his bag dress, exposing the tiniest, hairiest little cock the world has ever been cursed with. He chucked out a hand, and I politely declined. Shit, I almost cut my hand off after touching him the first time, so I didn’t need to do it again.
I mate it to the airport alright, but or some absolutely batshit crazy reason the good people of Brunei don’t use scanners to check carry-on luggage before the flight. Instead, they had two or three little blokes who would open up ever pocket of every bag and rifle through it. And they were slower than a retarded turtle. The woman who checked my bag grabbed a pair of my undies and gave me a big smile, but I wasn’t in any mood for returning the grin, and it wasn’t just because of the skidmarks.
I made it onto the plane, took my seat and waited while the other passengers s l o w l y filed in. Our departure time came and went, and still people were climbing on. Ten minutes late… 15… 20. Finally, 22 minutes after we were supposed to have pissed off, the doors closed and we started moving off. Crap.
As you can guess, it wasn’t a particularly fun trip. For the next hour, I was on the edge of my sleep like a bloke with haemorrhoids. We landed, I pushed my way through the other passengers and sprinted the 2km to the baggage terminal, dodging fatties and diving past strollers and champions in wheelchairs. I cleared customs in seconds, got my bag without too much trouble, and blazed my way to the other side of the airport to check-in. Tick, tock, the clock counted down. With only minutes till check-in closed, I made it to the counter…where a dozen fat, useless pricks were flobbing around in front of me. To make it worse, another half-dozen chubsters pushed in front of me, claiming they were there with some prick in front of me. I told them to get fucked. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
The check-in time passed. I’d missed my flight. I wouldn’t make it to Kuala Besut in time for the last boat. I’d be stuck in a rubbish little town for the night rather than a beautiful island paradise. I might even get raped. And all because of the incompetence and selfishness of others.
And then an angel appeared. A spunky young chick walked over and asked if anyone desperately needed to check in, and then took me to an emergency counter. I handed over my details, and the girl smiled. Hoo-fucken-ray, I made it onto the plane just as it was about to taxi out! I didn’t get the spunky young chick’s name, but ya can’t win ’em all.
With that out of the way, the flight was relaxing, and before long I was in delightful Kota Bharu. I say it’s delightful, but I wouldn’t have a clue, because I jumped in a cab and pointed him towards the village of Besut, an hour south. As the towns and villages rolled past, I was obvious the eastern side of the island is very different from the west. Almost everybody was in traditional islamic dress and mosques decorated the skyline.
I’d heard that Kuala Besut was a boring little nothing place that was only worth staying at if you missed the last boat to the islands, and they weren’t wrong. I had a decent amount of time to kill there till I set sail, and after five minutes I was bored out of my skull. There’s one main road with a handful of shops, a couple of deserted side streets, a polluted beach and… that’s it. There wasn’t even an ATM, which was kind of shitty since I knew there wouldn’t be one on the Perhentians, and I barely had enough dosh in my wallet to pay for my accommodation and food. Shit.
The boat finally rocked up, I dragged my suitcase onto it, and we set out into the blue. And, as we drew close to the Perhentians, it was astonishingly beautiful. I’ve been to Thailand, Vietnam and Newcastle, but nothing could prepare me for the unspeakable glory of these islands. Rainforest-covered mountains climbed out of crystal-clear water before my eyes. Thousands of fish danced below me, while cute little huts hugged the beach, with just a smattering of suntanned visitors wandering along the sand or snorkeling. It was like a computer screensaver come to life, but I definitely wasn’t sitting at my desk.
The little boat dropped off a handful of people at different beaches, and then we puttered along to Petani Beach, which was perhaps the most wonderful of them all. At the eastern end a dozen bright red bungalows ran up the hill and disappeared into the forest. In the middle sat six tiny, rustic huts that looked like they’d been washed up in the last high tide – my accommodation. Not a person was to be seen, and it was exactly what I’d hoped it would be. It was, in a word, paradise.
The captain of the boat honked his horn and a little Malaysian dude came rushing out of one of the huts. He dived into a dinghy and came out to meet us, and I carefully stepped into his ride, making sure not to fall into the bright blue ocean beneath me.
He introduced himself as Ebu, and after a short but fun blast, I was dragging my can-filled suitcase along the most wonderful beach I’d ever seen.
I walked into a hut that looked like it must’ve been the front office, and was appalled to see a bloke choking the chicken in his living room. What, no, don’t have such a dirty mind! He wasn’t masturbating, he was actually choking a chicken so he could cook it for his dinner. After Ebu raced over to tell me I’d just wandered into some strangers house uninvited, he led me to my room and handed me a towel and a snorkel set. No key, but then a key wouldn’t be much use when my door didn’t have a lock on it.
Wasting no time, I changed into my boardies and raced the 15m to the beach, then dived into the water. It was wonderfully warm, and incredibly relaxing after a long day of travelling, but I wasn’t here to splash around like a downie in a bath, I was here to see some fish! And shit, did I see some fish! Just a few metres from the shore was a reef that was absolutely crawling with thousands upon thousands of the scaly little bastards. There were clown fish, blue fish… ah, red fish. I even saw a sea cucumber, but enough about my penis.
Life under the surface of the water was every bit as wondrous as the mountains and beaches that rose above it, but far, far busier. I spent over an hour just following fish around, taking photos and generally just floating around with a big, goofy look on my face. When I finally got out I relaxed on the beach, dividing my attention between my book and the spunky, bikini-clad babes spread out on the towels next to me. I got so turned on that I almost had to rub my sea cucumber.
With the sun setting, I had a cold shower and headed over to Petani Beach’s only restaurant, a wonderful little wooden shack that’s completely open to the beach and made entirely of driftwood. The sunset was astonishing, and after a seafood dinner I decided to see what the island offered in the way of nightlife.
There’s only two ways off Petani Beach at that time of night – a bush path to the east, and one to the west. Both were pitch black and scary-looking, but I took the one to the west and walked blindly through the gloom, with only my mobile phone for light. After an hour I found the main backpacker beach, which wasn’t exactly Surfers Paradise, but there were a few little bars that served the liquid medicine I required – beer, glorious fucken beer! And there were also girls, glorious fucken girls!
An hour later I was shitfaced and dancing like a fucktard on the beach, when one of the hot Germans from Petani walked up and started dancing with me.
“Hello,” she said in a voice that made me think she wanted to either suck my dick till my eyes exploded, or murder me. “My friend and I, we see you back at resort. You masturbate in water?”
“Uh, yeah,” I blushed.
“Were you thinking of us.”
“What were you thinking about us doing.”
“I was thinking about slamming you harder than a sledgehammer into the Berlin wall.” Smooth.
Good old-fashioned romance won the day, and the chick said we should probably get back to our shacks – and that her mate should come with us. Ooh la la, as the Germans say.
Things were looking great for the Row Show, and I would’ve had a great night if it wasn’t for that bloody hour-long walk through the darkness. My torch gave up halfway back, the moon wasn’t nearly strong enough to light our way, and it wasn’t long before Helga and Eva (or whatever their fucken names are) tripped over a root and slid down a muddy slope, ending up in the ocean at the bottom. I, of course, acted like a perfect gentleman and laughed my arse off, which obviously wasn’t the correct response, because when we got back they went into Ebu’s hut instead of mine.
Easily confused, those Germans.
I wrote this back in May, 2012. I wish it was still May, 2012.