Malaysia ~ Huge Mixing Pot
Malaysia is such a diverse and spread out area that it is almost impossible for us to describe or even come close to explaining all the intricacy's of the country. We'll just say that for our own understandint we "think" that Malay's consist of Straits Chinese "Baba Nonya", some mixed with Malay "Peranakan" (some Buddhist, some Muslim), Indian (some Hindu, some Muslim) Indigenious Malay "Negirtos", European (British, Dutch, Portugese & Scandinavian) and various mixes of all the above. Along with that go the various religions and governments that go with each of them. Whew. What a mix. For the most part it looks like everybody gets along pretty well. We found the people to be happy, friendly and outgoing.
Thur Nov 13- Sun Nov 16th
Our first stop ~ Danga Bay, Johor Baru, was a sponsored Sail Malaysia rally event. We joined up with about half of the cruising community, about 30 - 40 boats, that came up from Oz with the Sail Indonesia rally. The transit through the Singapore straits was the usual stress with large ships underway, many fishing boats, traps and nets. Constant observation was required to avoid all the obstacles. We arrived at 2:00 in the afternoon. Sadly the anchorage was somewhat polluted with trash in the water.
Friday morning we headed out looking for breakfast and to find our way around the area. Up and down the street out in front of the boardwalk looking for a bus... Finally ended up taking a taxi, first to the cash machine and then, reluctantly to MacDonalds. It was the only place we could find open until 11 when things finally come alive??? From there we jumped a bus to the city center. It was soooo hot we were forced into a mall. Dave was becoming distraught ~ NOooo, not the mall! Then, he found a sizzling stone resturant where he cooked his own terriyaki chicken & life was good again. We had to head back to the port for our "scheduled" immigration and customs check in at 2 PM..... come back at 4 ...... no, oh.......come back again at 6. They didn't seem to care if we checked in or not so we went to the welcome briefing. Guess the paper work is actually tomorrow instead :>} Come back tomorrow :>} (different field different grasshopper)... so says Scorpido.
We met up with a few other cruisers and found a Mongolian BBQ place where we cooked our own dinner in hot soup. It was spicy, hot & tasty.
Sat Nov 15th
Today we take a rare (for us) "field trip". We're all loaded on a bus at 8AM for a full day of...."field tripping" The first half of the day was spent visiting various mosques and palaces. It was a nice education on the history of the area. The bus stopped at a Pineapple Museum with out any pineapples, either to buy or drink? They dropped us off at a fishing village to find our own lunch. The streets were flooded due to a high tide. We waded out to the restaurants and picked maybe the worst one? I accidentally ordered what looked like some kind of embryo calamari that was deep fried rock hard. Davey's lobster never came. At least he got his beer. So we called it quits and left hungry.
The end of our excursion was to a mangrove walk out to the end tip of the Asian Continent ~ Tan Jung Piai National Park. We enjoyed streching our legs and the views of the Singapore Straits. There were crazy monkeys everywhere.
A free dinner and dance was scheduled for that evening but after being cooped up on the bus with too many people all day we decided to bag it. Our clearance papers were finally ready to pick up at 7:30 PM.(for real this time) We jumped through those hoops then headed back for a hearty meal of grilled cheese sandwitches and Campbells Tomato soup. That was our first and last rally event for a while.
We left Danga Bay at 7AM the next morning. We're day hopping up the Malacca Straits to Port Dickson. Lacking any wind, we motored till 3PM. Arriving at Pulau Pisang island where we had the anchor drill (three tries). We curse that damn Delta anchor. Someday we are going to throw those anchors overboard and get yet another new one. Davey had to have a beer and take a nap after that one! We finally feel like we are back at cruising. We enjoyed our sundowner and made our yummy favorite pork chop dinner.
We were up 5:30 on Monday morning but too dark to leave??? Worked on our broken fresh water pump until 7 when we finally get underway. We managed to sail about 4 hours eventually arriving at Pulau Besar Island. We dropped the hook and it set on the first try! Pulau Besar island is a real Muslim community with "call to Prayer" BROADCASTING over the loudspeakers. It's not so bad during the day but in the very early wee hours it can be a "rude awakening". This one was from 4-6 in the morning. We were up Tues morning and underway at 8.
Tuesday, November 18th
Arrived at Admiral Cove Marina at Port Dixon in the pouring rain. We had to pull rank and remind the staff that we had a reservation or we would have lost the last mooring to another boat. We were planning on leaving Freebird there for a short road trip to Malacca and Kuala Lumpur so really needed the spot.
Thursday, November 20th
Our friends Rose and Tim on the yacht "Rendezvous Cay" (US) rented a car and dropped us off in Malacca. We met up with "Mary Eliza" (Dutch) and "Pelikaan" (Dutch/Australia). The 6 of us toured this World Herratage city on foot for the next 3 days.
Three boats: Freebird, Pelikaan, and Mary Eliza
We had a many kinds of tasty food, relished the Cheng Ho Museum (1421, the Year the Chinese Discovered America) stayed 1 night in the very worst place of my life...... (BedBugs!)then the next 2 nights in a charming bed & breakfast overlooking the river, the Haseen House. Dave met a very talented watercolor artist (look at his beautiful work)~ Tham Siew Inn, who invited us into his gallery/home. His 2 grown sons are are artests and display in the gallery as well. We hope to meet up with them again when we go back to Malacca one fine day. On our last night we had a date up in the Cat Tower for a stunning view of the city. Melaka was a fun mini-trip and probably our favorite city in Malaysia.
We recovered for the next 3 days catching up on laundry, emails & most importantly, we gathered up all of our items that we had saved to give to locals all along the way up from the coast from Australia. Freebird gave a big sigh of relief when we unloaded all that stuff off to Chandra, our dock helper.
Tues Nov 25th
We're off to Kuala Lumpur or affectionatly known as KL, the capital of Malaysia. What a pleasant surprise. First, we took a taxi to the bus station and 2 buses and 3 hrs later we were there. We stayed at the Swiss Inn just across the street from the night market in Chinatown. We immediately hit the streets. One of Dave's biggest pet peeves is me and the Post Office. We could probably have sent all 7 of the grandkids to college or revamped Freebird for the amount of $$$$ we spend on sending JUNK to all our friends and families, especially our Vanuatu family. They keep us broke!!!! The post office wasn't opened earlier in Port Douglas when we first took our taxi to the bus depot so we ended up carrying the whole mess with us all the way to KL. We then again lugged it down the steet looking for the post office. It wouldn't have been quite so bad except there in the capital, they insisted that the boxes be totally covered in wrapping paper. Well, first we bought the paper, then the tape and had to rewrap them in the lobby. What a sport ~ he even helped out. Luv that guy!
The post office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By that time it was too late for any sight seeing. That evening we enjoyed strolling through the night market. We found a funky little restaurant and had a local dinner. The next morning we were wisked away by K7( that's his name) for a city tour. He took us to the King's Palace. We couldn't go inside but did take a few photos of the guards outside. Then to the Veterans Memorial which was quite spectacular. The sculptor depicted soldiers in full fight against the Communists. We went to the National Mosque. They allowed us inside. I had to completely cover up, hood and all. Talk about HOT. It was an interesting design and could accommodate 8000 worshippers. Whew huh?
KL is a very modern city with an insightful superstructure. They are patterned off of Singapore. We found it to be very clean with massive amounts of greenery, flowers, trees, landscaping.
Judy Ready for the Mosque
Judy with Malaysian Friends
K7 managed to get us up into the KL Tower which looks at the Twin Towers. Then we went up into the Twin Towers. They are the second tallest buildings in the world. We could only go as far as the bridge that hooks the towers together. Both buildings had very impressive views. K7 finished up with a Chinese Tao/Buddhist Temple and then the Batu Caves where Hindu's worship. Totally multi-cultural day.
Thurs Nov 27th,
K7 picked us up early to visit the fully enclosed bird aviary, the largest Bird Park in the world? Probably the most unique bird that we saw was the Curved Hornbill. KL has a huge intercity Park that has many exhibits, museums, galleries, lakes..... can't remember them all. Did get over to see the Orchid Gardens before KL came back for us. Thus ending our 3 day visit to KL, it's back to the bus for us.
Saturday Nov 29th
We had one catch up day before we were back underway on Saturday morning at daybreak. Had to turn around after only an hour out as we blew our exhaust elbow out of the port motor. We of course didn't know at first what the problem was, first there was white smoke out of the boat & THEN when he lifted the bed in the aft cabin, thick - dark -black -smoke bollowed out all over everything, we have then we knew... What a mess!!!! Back to the marina for us with just 1 motor....
Miracle of miracles, Gerry on the yacht "Scot Free 2" took our dock lines as we pulled back into the marina. When he asked what happened. Dave described the mishap. It just so happened that for some unknown reason he had saved his old exhaust elbow???? from his old motor after he replaced it....???/?? It was on loan to us for the next 2 months until we were able to have one made in Thailand. Imagine how long it would have taken to have one shipped in from somewhere. Add to that the $$$ for shipping. He deserved that extra special bottle of whiskey, for sure! It was installed and the rest of the day was spent scrubbing the engine compartment and all of the boat interior. What a mess. We were underway the next morning at 5:40, arriving at Pulau Angsa around 3:30 in the afternoon.
Mon Dec 1st
Underway at 6:45. Hot Hot Hot ~Next stop ~ Pulua Pangkor ~ pulled in at 4:45 & was invited over to the catamaran "Truest Passion" for sundowners. It was Katherine's Bday (yacht "The Southern Cross") another cat from Australia. All 5 couples dinghied to shore for a BDay dinner, almost a rally event....
We had to be underway on Tues morning before 6 as it was a long run to Penang. Pulau Penang really (Pulau = island). We stayed in Penang for 3 wks before we hustled on up to Langkawi to get ready for those cute Hayden brothers, Eric & Nick. They are coming for 2 wks during the holidays. Oh boy oh boy.
Judy and the Towers