Hot and steamy 1-10/12/10

Posted: December 11, 2010 in 8.Malaysia

I hope you are sitting down people, we have a lot to get through in this blog: It’s been a while since my last big one so I’ll do my best to fill you in with two week’s worth of adventures, hopefully without losing your attention half way in…..

During the week following Langkawi we spent three nights in Malacca, which was about two nights too many, as there really wasn’t that much to do! but it’s an interesting enough place to spend a day. There were also a number of museums which we wandered around to escape the heat, some were good, some not so- there is only so much interest I can show in ‘Seagrass of Malaysia’, fascinating as it is.

Halfway though our stay we got a call from our agent informing us of our car’s arrival to Malaysian shores! As I said in the previous post it was about five days early which was amazing, so we hopped on the bus back to Kuala Lumpur to pick it up. Unlike the other shipping agents we have dealt with the guy in Port Klang had in fact already cleared the car from the port and the container was ready and waiting for us in his yard. What service! As I have already mentioned the car started first time! Actually, did I mention that it started first time? First time people!?! Not even a couple of turnovers but straight away, key in, engine on, magic. It put a little smile on my face, something that the Land Rover had not done for a while.

We had a few little jobs that needed doing to the car and as it was Friday we would have to wait until Monday to get the car to the Land Rover garage. So our agent took us to get insurance, which cost £44 for the whole year and a sat nav, yes, a sat nav. You see, since we lost all sat nav coverage once we entered Turkey it’s fair to say that mine and my navigator’s relationship has taken a bit of a knock. We therefore thought it best to invest in the magic box in order to ensure we are both still on speaking terms by the time we get to Oz. The best £100 I’ve ever spent.

Over the weekend we took a day trip to a place called Fraser’s Hill, an old English hill station about two hours out from KL. At this point I want you all to google map (yes that’s right, I’m using ‘google’ as a verb) Fraser’s hill and zoom right in to see the road leading up to the top, it’s ok, I’ll wait…………………..Done it? Really? Ok, good. I doubt there is a road with as many turns in it anywhere in the world! It was ridiculous. For well over an hour we didn’t get out of 2nd gear as we weaved our way up to the top of the hill. Megan got a little car sick, as did I to be fair, in fact I’ve been on ships in force 10 storms that didn’t sway as much as we did that day. By the time we got to the top I actually had arm ache from all the steering! The town itself being very high was a lot cooler than city the and we spent an enjoyable couple of hours wondering the lanes and footpaths, and like home there were even grey skies with a bit of drizzle, lovely stuff. Coming down was more of the same, luckily though neither one of us actually puked!

Monday came and we took the car to a garage that had been recommended to us by the people at the Malaysian Land Rover club. Basically, it was an old farm that was totally full of every different type and make of Land Rover. I was in heaven, and although Megan seemed not to share in my joy, I can tell she secretly loved it too… The garage was very good at fixing all of our last remaining little problems and they even moved the roof tent into the middle of the car, as Harriet had started to get a slight port list and we thought we should even up the weight a bit.

Car fixed we spent our last night in the capital with One Dollar, our agent, who took us out to an excellent restaurant, which served the most amazing fish. He also put us up for the night in his house, very kind of him.

So on the Tuesday we were finally off, back on the road and heading for the rainforest. Ahh the rainforest, where the trees are big and the bugs even bigger. We went to visit one of Malaysia’s best known national parks, Taman Nagara, which is slap bang in the middle of the country. A good friend recommended a nice little place to stay so we set the Durian Chalets into the sat nav and off we went. The chalets were basic but clean and at £8 a night it didn’t seem worth camping. To be honest, as accommodation is so cheap in SE Asia I don’t see us using the tent again till Australia. We ventured into the national park the next day and having been warned by the Lonely Planet to cover up because of leeches we both wore rather thick trousers. Big mistake, within ten minutes I was soooo hot you could have fried an egg on my forehead and within twenty minutes I was totally drenched in sweat from head to toe. There was not a dry patch on any of my clothing and a steady river of sweat was traveling down my back, collecting in the gusset of my trousers and making for a very uncomfortable and somewhat embarrassing experience. I don’t mind telling you, it was all a very bleak time of my life and my cheer was only lifted slightly when we did a tree top canopy walk, which was actually quite cool. Somehow Megan didn’t seem to suffer from the heat, apparently real ladies don’t sweat I was told! Squelching around the rain forest all I could think of was the shower I was going to have when I got back and man was that a good shower.

The second day, determined not to make the same mistake I wore shorts, and as I hadn’t seen any leeches on the first day I thought I would be safe. It turns out that I actually had no idea what a leech looked like. I thought they were big black things but they actually look like short worms, a fact that soon became obvious when one crawled up my boot at a surprisingly rapid pace, making for my naked flesh. After an appropriate amount of screaming and foot shaking on my part

Megan sprayed the bugger with some hardcore bug spray and it fell off. Yet again my man hood had been called into question, something that seems to be happening with increasingly regularity on this trip. From then on our meandering walk turned into a quick march, as we couldn’t stand still for too long before the leeches started to make their way towards us, it was like something out of an alien film!

Sweat and leeches apart we enjoyed the rainforest and I even managed to do a little off roading, admittedly because I turned down a logging track by mistake but it all counts! The walks we did were amazing and we saw tones of wildlife, not only in bug form but also monkeys, wild pigs and butterflies the size of pterodactyls.

As I write this we are staying in a hotel in Kuala Lipis on our way to the Cameron Highlands in search of cooler weather and longer leech free walks. The car is going well and it’s great to have our freedom back.

We aim to be in Bangkok for Christmas in case anyone wants to fly out and meet us (with presents of course). Although there are Christmas trees and decorations up everywhere neither of us feel like Christmas at the moment, but maybe that’s because it’s 35 degrees and 99 percent humidity!

PS Megan has updated the expenses sheets and we have added a shipping one as well for those of you that are interested. We are slowly getting back to the £60 a day target we set ourselves (not including shipping) but with the massive overspend in Turkey it’s going to take a few more cheap noodle dinners to get there. I saw a web site recently where you could donate petrol money through pay pal to the writer; we are not there yet but if we have any more hiccups I might just start charging a subscription to this web site… Hands up who would pay?? Only you mum? shame on the rest of you!

  1. Paul and Cathy says:

    Evening guys … well another interesting blog from you two!!.. looks like the leaches and humidity are character building!!

    Whilst we’ve been putting up with the snow (and 5 1/2 hours to drive 20 miles from Gatwick last week!) you two have been lourding it up!

    I’ve flown into Langkawi in the past and wondered where the hell we were (on the way to Aus!), I thought it was a direct flight to KL, but ended up stopping at Langkawi as the fuel is cheaper there (cheaper than 1.20 a litre @ KL!!)

    Anyway looks like you guys are having fun in down town Malaysia .. as always we’re super jealous!, and … would we pay to subsidise your fuel costs!.. hmmm .. ptolly not but is it inspiring to do something similar .. absolutely!!!! 🙂

    Anyway keep the diary entries coming .. very interesting and entertaining!!!


    Paul and Cathy !

  2. Michiel says:

    Good to jear that Harriet is ok again. And that Megan and yourself are saved from not talking by the purchase of a satnav, god I wish all in life was that simple.
    I would say happy christmas and keep de diary entries comming. I don’t know if i would contribute towards your fuel….. I’ve just spent over £1.000,00 on a new gearbox for Nellie. Tooth of a gear snapped off. So no presents this christmas, no money in tha bank. Donations
    welcome… 😉


  3. Paul says:

    No way will we contribute to your fund… Sorry – have also had to cancel your xmas pressie too as just spent all my money buying smaller wheels and snow tyres for the X – i kid you not SNOW tyres in Ireland. Our current weather is just not funny. And very embarrassing when your 4×4 does not go in the snow! New wheels will fix that. Great blog entry. Keep it up. Alls well on the Irish Sea am sure you miss it really…. not!

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