Our plan today was to walk to the boats that went out to the islands, grab one going to Sapi and do a bit of snorkelling some rest and relaxation – this sounded like a good plan to me. On the way there we saw a march by the local Chinese people, complete with a Chinese dragon.
I am not too sure what it was all about as all the banners were in Chinese but being so colourful and having a dragon it certainly had my vote!
On the way to the official boats we were accosted by guys who were trying to undercut the official operators but we had been recommended against this course of action as the ‘captains’ often charge extra for the return journey or if paid leave you there! Most too, with rotten teeth and wooden legs actually fitted the bill of looking like pirates too so there was no way this landlubber was going to be fooled! The official boat though better – did not actually leave at the time it should have, rather it went at ‘full o’clock’ – this is when the bus, boat, etc leaves when it is full rather than following any scheduled leaving times!
The crossing was not too long and very nice as we went past other islands along the way and Sapi itself looked a very nice island.
Pristine beach, clear blue waters and above us clear blue skies – topped off with a bit of greenery this was the ideal spot to hold up for the best art of the day – oh forgot to mention the Malaysian coastguard complete with automatic machine guns but what the hey. The clear blue waters were currently inhabited by less-than clear blue (we were told) Chinese flapping about in the water, worse still some of them were actually standing on the corals so we were a bit worried about whether there would be anything in the water worth seeing. However, it was a very nice place to snorkel with plenty of different types of fish, starfish, etc etc.
There were a couple of old mine casings too for the coral to grow on so all in all the place was very nice. We spent the best part of the day there and it was all very relaxing aside from a brief ‘moment’ at dinner when an inquisitive monitor lizard decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Home afterwards and the long stroll back to the hotel – at least no pirates after our money this time, after a shower and a kip we were back out and had the find of the evening. Next to the place we ate last night was a (what we would call back home) ‘a greasy spoon’ a place owned by locals frequented by locals with a certain rustic charm about it. What was so good was the roti – I had the simple yet possibly underrated egg roti and it was brilliant and to top if off the curry was not bad too.
From here we went for another walk along the ‘front’ by the sea but this time we actually treat ourselves to a drink. Having a drink in Malaysia can be a bit of of an expensive affair – the country is predominantly Muslim and if they cannot drink they try by price to ensure that your drinks do not taste as nice (and cheap) as usual! We stopped at a bar with an offer and some live music on and decided ‘what the hell’. Though the drinks were good the band was not so great basically the singer was poor and the guitar solos would have been better if shorter but it was a good end to a good day.
On the way home the market in the square in front of the hotel was in full swing and we saw in full swing a, what I can only describe as a ‘snake oil salesman’. The guy had very small bottles or phials of a clear liquid that he would then rub onto bodies of ‘passers by’ who would then – spring into action/see through solid walls/hear sounds many miles away or sometimes all three at once. I was impressed but not so impressed that I actually bought anything or could even think of any part of my body that needed such a strong revitalising effect – my wife however thought of one or two places!!