12 November 2020
We've been here so long we're now quite well known amongst the locals...... probably as the nutters who walk for miles and miles under the blazing sun. We've also effectively eaten our way around the world as Langkawi is home to quite a diverse population. The Jasmine for the Indian Butter Chicken, the Yasmin for Syrian lamb mandi, the Palm View for Chinese and Arts Cafe for Malay, each offering a range of exotic dishes...... and a dozen or more variations of chicken and rice. Where it goes wrong is when one nationality tries to cook another's food, eg: Scrambled egg, salmon and salad at our favourite haunt, The Smiling Buffalo, but it works. If it weren't for the walking we'd be about fourteen stone by now.
Yesterday morning we went ashore with M & P (nameless, to protect the innocent) and over breakfast, we talked about options for our day's walk. Michael had a suggestion (oops, that's his cover blown). "Yes", says Michael over breakfast, "if you go out of here, turn right, keep left at the river, then you'll be in the workings of the new road. When it's finished it will link the cruise terminal to the main road."
And so, fortified with a breakfast of Scott's porridge oats, bacon, eggs, sausage, fried tomato, beans, slice and a few cups of builders tea, off we went, (in my culinary dreams - actually, it was a breakfast of roti, dahl and curry sauce with tea and condensed milk - just to keep the diabetes moving along).
We knew the road Michael mentioned as we'd walked out to the cruise terminal a few days ago and seen the workings up on the hill. It seemed pretty logical that the road could be joined up into a scenic, albeit, long hike around the headland.
Just as well we had the condensed milk. It was all that kept us going as we climbed higher and higher up the hill, each "last crest" merely leading to the next. Forging deeper and deeper into the jungle, up this mud, rock and gravel half built and ever narrowing road we soldiered on. We didn't see a single soul, just one passing works truck. On and on we went, sweating like a racehorse, although, being British, we merely perspired. Nearly expired as well.
Nonetheless, after 14,324 steps, the next crest was, surely, the last, and, even if the road stopped, as seemed increasingly likely, there surely had to be a workers' path up to the road workings from the cruise terminal.
Our plodding in silence was broken by the sound of a truck labouring and bouncing up the broken track.
"Allo, allo, allo.......... what are you two up to then, out walking around in the middle of the lockdown," said the passenger..... from the door of their dark blue Polis wagon. Or at least that's what I think they said.
We were not only on rocky ground on the track but with new lockdown rules, not sure whether we were actually allowed out and pretty sure the big red warning sign, we'd ignored, a few K back, was Malay for "No Trespassing".
Dancing around their loaded questions about who we were, where we were going, why we're we going and where did we live, we stuck to our "we're dumb, lost tourists" line, which wasn't far from the truth.
It was also clear we were where we shouldn't be and were invited aboard and climbed, for the first time, into the back of a police car......... at least as far as I can remember.
For a while, we weren't sure if we were en route for jail or just being escorted from the premises. Fortunately, it was the latter and our two new best pals drove our sweaty, exhausted bones back to Chenang. "Anywhere particular you'd like to go? This is a good cafe".
And with a cheery wave and possibly Malay for "'evenin' all", off they went. Or maybe it was, “nutters”.
What nice young men.