Friday, 28 December 2007

Christmas in paradise

Forget Odysseus' epic journey back from the battlefields of Troy, our journey from Langkawi to Koh Lipe was was far more hideous. Admittedly the early start wake up call was not a great start, but our hour ferry to the Thai mainland took a little longer than an hour and we were able to watch the whole of the Bourne Ultimatum in Thai. Once there we were told we couldn't get a ferry from there to Lipe but would need to get a taxi to Pakbara. Not a problem you would think, unless you had a driver who was refused to admit that he was lost and drove in perpetual circles while pretending to be finding us an atm. Happily we just boarded the next ferry to Lipe - a 2-hour trip and we would be there. Four and a half hours later squished together with fruit, plants, miscellaneous nik-naks and of course lots of other travellers we finally sighted our destination. Hoorah! Limping up the beach we checked into our huts and collapsed for a beer. After explaining our 12 hour journey the barman he collapsed in hysterics and informed us that there was now immigration on Lipe and we could have done the journey in an hour! Hmmmm not impressed.
However, the journey was well worth it. Our beach on Lipe has to be one of the most gorgeous I have visited. White sand, sun and Singha - what a way to spend Christmas. Of course we were also surrounded by national park so were able to enjoy snorkelling in crystal clear waters and relaxing on uninhabitied islands. I think this won't be my last visit to Lipe. Highly recommmended.

Langkawi Life

Helen and Kate arrived as soon as school ended and we caught up with Tom and Emma in Langkawi. I clearly should have asked our resort to warn all the bars and restaurants that we were arriving as disaster struck on the first night! The first bar ran out of Corona, the second ran out of wine, and the third ran out of vodka and gin. They clearly weren't prepared for the Sharman invasion. Needless to say we were a tad shocked.
The Beach Garden Resort was everything we could have wanted. Fantastic (included) breakfast, cute rooms and comfy, shaded loungers with a great view of the beach. Our time was spent reading, swimming, swimming and reading with the occasional stop for yet another plate of chicken satay and a leisurely wander down the beach. Not a bad way to unwind after a long term.
We did manage to venture from our beach one day and hired a car to take us round the island. We admired the view from the top of the highest peak, avoided the monkeys lining the road and enjoyed the virtually deserted beach at Tanjung Rhu.

Of course we also sampled as many delicious dishes as we could manage. Gorgeous fish, tasty curries and of course a fabulous meal at The Lighthouse.

Strangely our evenings seemed to gravitate towards Little Leilas, an entertaining beach bar. I'm not sure whether to believe the garbage that came out of Mr G's (our host) mouth but he was very interesting company, although I won't be taking up his offer of starting a school out the back of the bar. The bar staff were in varying states of inebriation, unable to remember orders or indeed successfully clear a table without all the empties falling on the sand. When we asked if they had vodka and lime one particularly sozzled guy plonked himself down besides us, announced "Don't ask me, I'm too f***ing wasted" then rested his head on the table and had a quick kip. The live music was also slightly suspect. The french busker approached our table and asked for a request. Anything by Jack Johnson was our reply. What came out of his mouth was unrecognisable, a low growl of unpronounced lyrics and confused guitar playing. We had some difficulty keeping a straight face - it has to be the longest 2 minutes ever!
After nearly a week of relaxation the Sharmans headed off to Lipe - but that is another story. And Tom and Emma headed to the Cameron Highlands where the very romantic Tom popped the question. Congratulations guys!

Thursday, 13 December 2007


For a local shopping trip my nearest mall is the appropriately named MegaMall, which leaves you in no doubt as to the scale of it. It is a prime example of riduculous town planning which allowed it to be constructed in the middle of a spaghetti junction-esque merging of main routes around the city. So not only does this roundabout have to cope with traffic in and out of the mall but also any traffic to and from all surrounding areas. The jams here strike fear in the heart of even the most muscled clutch-controller.

Once you have negotiated the snarled up traffic you then need to find somewhere to park. On Tuesday this took 45 minutes. The cars crawled around the airless underground carpark, beeping, revving and cutting each other up. In the middle of a total sense of humour failure I headed towards an exit (who needs christmas presents anyway?) when I spotted a space under some pipes and squeezed the beast in. Admittedly it wasn't an official carparking space but beggars can't valet park.

Our shopping list was brief:
Christmas candy for the kids
Jusco vouchers for our TA's and cleaners
A get well pressie for the poorly Ed

In and out in half an hour? Not a hope.

The book store lady headed off to find the book we were looking for only to disappear into the ether. The CD shop had a great collection of Malay classics but not the album we wanted. A wealthy customer had just purchased the last 10,000 rm of Jusco vouchers. The usually slow malay walk had deteriorated into a slither and I was not finding any of it amusing.

Finally, with rumbling belly, parched mouth and a pounding head we managed to make our escape a mere three hours later. No wonder this place has been dubbed Megahell.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

He's behind you!

13 years after my acting debut as an ugly sister in Cinderella it was time to tread the boards again this weekend. This time I was a woodland creature (I still haven't worked out which one yet) in Little Red Riding Hood. It was our task to lead Prince Rupert out of the forest and back to his beloved Rosie. Unfortunately this involved dancing to You've Got a Friend in Me and scurrying about rodent like. The kids found it funny though - and have to admit it was a laugh.

Back in Bangers

I have no idea where the last week has gone but I just haven't got round to posting - a busy little bee I have been.

Last weekend I headed back to Bangkok to see the guys. After a ridiculous time spent being delayed I was finally able to fall into the Bulls Head and play catch up - which I did with suitable style.

It was great to see everybody and I have to admit I feel a little homesick for the old stomping ground. But don't worry I'll be back to see you all again soon. Thanks for having me : )