In Malaysia - I made it!

(sent: September 27, 2005)
Sorry, I thought I wrote this on 20th Sept. I guess it didn't go through the first time.
Email was very, very slow in Tioman. So read this while I draft the tales of
Tioman Island and Taman Negara. Stay tuned...
I made it to Malaysia in one piece. The flight over from Bangkok, Thailand was
really fast, as was the ride to Ampang (the town east of Kuala Lampur (KL). My
contact Cathy, decided to put me up in a hotel for the weekend (to give me
time to get over my jet lag) because the same day I arrived her younger daughter
was celebrating her 15th B-day, along with her older sister, 15 of her friends
(who were spending the night), her dad, three dogs and three kittens.
Talk about a full house. I did go over for the celebration and to have some
dinner. I later went back to the hotel and haven’t slept well ever since (17 Sept).
My body doesn’t want to adjust to this side of the world. It also didn’t help that
my hotel had a bit of a roach problem and pot scented incense, mixed
with roach spray, that infused the lobby and followed me up to the 10th floor.

So, roaches just freak me out (sorry Jerome). I had an event the night before
(18/19 Sept) with my little friends... Since my late afternoon nap went on a little
longer than I had wanted it to go, I popped out of bed at around 11 pm and
tried to go back to sleep. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I turned on the lights to
read a book. Well, to my horror, my tiny visitors had surrounded me. To my
right, there was a gathering on my water bottle where the creatures were
enjoying a drink on the condensation on the bottle. To my left, was a good
sized creature just sitting on the pillow next to me, just staring at me. A little
close for comfort for my taste. Let’s just say, I didn't get much sleep the rest of
the night. Don't worry I got my revenge. I don't think they've figured out here that
roach spray doesn't kill them, it just sends them away for a while (and into my

I departed yesterday (19 Sept) to Tioman Island from this tiny airport in the
middle of nowhere in a town call Subang, west of Kuala Lampur. There was a
torrential down pour right before the flight so there was about an hour delay. I
stupidly got to the airport two hours before my flight, so the delay was just killing
me. There was nothing to do there. This airport was the original airport
before they built KL Intn'l airport. Now it's barely opened and used for repairs,
the military and short flights to Tioman and such. This airport was damn empty,

The flight took about an hour and we landed on the landing strip in Tekek (the
main town on the west side of the island) that literally was in people’s backyard.
While I waited for someone to pick me up from my chalet, I was delighted and
amused by the bats hanging in the tree behind the "airport".

Then this dude on a motorbike picked me up and transported me and my things
to the nearby jetty where another dude on a motor boat picked me up and took
me north of Tekek to Air Batang. There is only one road on the west coast and it
runs the length of Tekek. All other transportation is done by boat with odd
schedules. So my transport to Air Batang was flying over the choppy waters and I
was sure I was going overboard. He just drops me off at the jetty and had to find
my way to the chalet for another 5 or 600 meters. It doesn't sound like a lot but
my bag seemed to be getting heavier with each step that I took (especially
after the night I had). (I'm staying in ABC as recommended by Kristina's friend
(Thanks!- they serve really good BBQ fish here).

I settled in and then went to interrogate the owner about "jungle trekking" in the
area and if she had seen leeches ('Linta' for freshwater leech and 'Pacat' for
jungle leech - pronounced pachat). I got the usual confused look when I asked
about leeches, but the word is that they are not so common in the northern part
but more so in the south and southwest. That's where I'm heading next.

I went to bed pretty early that night so I was awake by 5:30 am (I know, that is a
shocker for most of you). I did go to sleep around 10pm. So when the sun finally
came up I got myself ready, shoved a granola bar down my throat and went on a
short trek to Panuba Bay, north of Air Batang. It only took about 20 minutes to get
there, so I went alone.

On the way I ran into a family of macaques, and made it through the hilly and rocky
trail to the next bay. No problem. NO! leeches though. It was a little on the dry side
and you could still see the shore from the trail. From Panuba bay you could see
towards the southern mountains were still with morning cloud cover.

I need to get the interior of the forest to find these leeches. I'm surprised it hasn't
rained more since it's really gloomy and humid here. We'll see how it goes in the
south. Hopefully I'll get some and hopefully there will be more rain. I'm here until
Friday and then I go back to Ampang to stay with Cathy.

On Saturday we depart for Taman Negara NP on the western side of the peninsula.
There I'll have several bodies to use as bait :)

Anyway, wish me luck and hopefully the next time I write I will have some good
leech news.

Kuala Lampur, Malaysia - Petronas Towers
Torrential downpour at Subang Airport
View of Tioman Is. from Berjaya Air window Landing strip on Tioman Island
Jetty at ABC My chalet in ABC - called ABC!

Macaque troop along trail from ABC to Panuba Bay. This is best picture I could get of a macaque. I was afraid they were going to attack me.

View of southern Tioman from Panuba Bay

Resting on my hammock after the hike to/from Panuba Bay Pretty butterfly feeding
Tioman's friendly cat