Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Halloween from Tioman Island!

I’ve been very neglectful in updating the blog lately.  I don’t know if I have been too busy or just not very motivated.  Either way, there’s a good bit to tell. 

We finally left Kuching.  We took a day or two to leave the river and get our sea legs back and then we made the 4 day trek across the South China Sea to Tioman Island.  For the first time ever, I was the only one on the boat not sick.  Andy caught some sort of bug just as we left Kuching that put him down for a day or two and Jake got dehydrated and just a bit seasick.  I had on my trusty patch and ended up actually reading a few books on the passage…something normally unheard of.  I didn’t come out completely unscathed though.  A nasty side effect of this patch is blurred vision.  A small price to pay for keeping my food down, in my opinion.

This little guy did most of the crossing with us.  Unfortunately, I
found him belly up in the cabin on one of my night watches (I swear
I did not step on him!)

These are the kinds of things you have to watch out for around here.
This actually marks a fish trap.

Tioman Island is a small island on the east coast of peninsula Malaysia that was touted as “one of the most beautiful islands in the world” in some publication years ago, a phrase they use on all of their advertisements.  I don’t know if I would go that far, but it sure was a welcome change from the crocodile infested rivers we’ve called home for the last few months. 

It’s a pretty common stopover for cruisers heading across the sea both ways as its one of the three duty free islands in Malaysia.  Duty Free = cheap beer/wine/booze.  It’s also got pretty good snorkeling, decent beaches (although they appear to be filled with sandflies), and a genuine laid back atmosphere.  It’s not yet overrun with tourists, but has enough to bring in a few good restaurants and give locals a reason to tolerate some of our western ways.  But not all… you see it’s mostly muslim and while they do capitalize on the tourism, there are some things they just can’t give way to.  For example, Andy and I saw the most unique sign (for our western ways) at the local shopping center.  You know those signs with pictures and then the circle and slash through it to say ‘no this’ or ‘no that?’  We saw one with four pictures on it…

If you went to a beach in Florida and saw those signs, I’m pretty sure most people would go home!  We got a kick out of it as it’s another reminder of how our cultures are so different.  I told Andy, I’m too old to prance around town in a bikini anymore, I can’t afford the calories of the ice cream, and well, we prefer to drink our alcohol and smooch in the privacy of our own home.  So we’re good….no issues here.

There was one major difference in our ways that we thought might cause more of a stir for some of the crew.  There is no Halloween here.  Jake’s grandparents sent him the greatest costume and he has almost worn it out getting ready for Halloween.  He loves to dress up…it’s actually a daily thing.  It doesn’t matter what…dinosaur, dragon king (his own creation), pirate, Obi wan Kanobe.  His costume this year…vampire bat (and very appropriate I might add – there are THOUSANDS of fruit bats just outside the marina here).  Surprisingly though, the idea of no trick or treating didn’t cause that big of a disappointment.  Jake decided that we would make a haunted house on the boat.  And at the end, I would hide his candy and he would find it.  He even “visioned” us sitting in a circle around the pumpkin telling ghost stories.  Simple enough.  So we spent all week making decorations, carving pumpkins and planning how to scare “the poop” out of each other.  At the end of the night, he declared it one of his “top 3” Halloweens.  I’m not sure he remembers them before age 6, but we’ll let that slide. 

Our little vampire bat!

He wouldn't smile because he was trying to look scary.

Andy and I were talking about how lucky we were to have a kid that can adapt so easily to whatever is thrown at him.  I don’t know how much of it is lifestyle and how much of it is just personality, but I do think living on a boat and making do with what you have contributes greatly.  Our next challenge will be Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I asked Jake what he wanted for Christmas.  He said instead of writing Santa a letter this year, he was just going to let him decid what he should bring Jake.  With no commercials, advertisements or catalogs to look at, I do believe my 9 year old has run out of things to ask for! 

We’ll spend a few more days here and then we’re off towards the mainland.  Lots to do…visit Singapore, meet up with old cruising friends in Penang, high tail it to Thailand to haul out (along with a thousand other boats)…I’m tired already thinking about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Get him a ABC GPS watch- that way (if he doesn't already) he can learn from the captain how to navigate, and no better way then with a gadget!

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