Wednesday 1 February 2012

On Our Own - Langkawi

Well the backpacking trip officially started when we said goodbye to Penang and jumped onto a ferry to Langkawi Island, the last stop in Malaysia. Langkawi is a big island (bigger than Penang) but has fewer locals and more tourists. We stayed on the ferry side, which is well away from the action. This created a problem – how do to get to the action? Simple. We hire a scooter. So our first two-wheeled adventure began.

The evening sunset was turning into a cracker, so I quickly grabbed the camera, tripod etc. and we raced down to the closest view I could find. Here I set up the tripod, camera, made sure it was all level for the panoramic I was about to take. Switched on the camera and fired the first shot … nothing happened. Odd, I tried again … still nothing. What’s going on here? Argh … flat battery, and I forgot the spare. No matter what people say, I’m still an amateur. Frustrated I tried to mount the little camera onto the tripod, but didn’t have the baseplate, so I ended up hand holding it onto the tripod. The sunset was a pretty good one nonetheless.

Sunset over Langkawi
 The next day we woke up early, had brekkie and took off on our powerful 125 scooter with tiny wheels. We first decided to head to the touristy Pantai Cenang Beach, but found ourselves lost quite quickly. I’m usually not one to take the main road, but finding ourselves on a road no wider than a foot path was a bit of a surprise; it was good fun trying to keep up with the locals and getting plenty of laughs. Finding the beach, we stayed for all of five minutes before deciding that was not for us and went hunting for a waterfall instead.

The Seven Wells Waterfalls were nothing special in themselves, but we discovered that the rocks they ran over were an immensely fun set of natural waterslides. Think slippery smooth rocks for a good 10m ending into a big pool of water. Some friendly locals showed us how to slide (feet first, head first, standing slide, out-of-control-but-still-cool slide), and also fed us with some of their barbequed chicken, sweet fish and squid, cooked ikan-bakar-style on a fire right next to the pool. We didn’t want to leave, but we had more to see.

Slippery rocky waterslides - Langkawi
A Trio of Backflips - Langkawi
Skating on slippery rocks - Langkawi
Back on the scooter we headed to Tanjung Rhu Beach on the north of the Island. It was a spectacular beach and we decided we would race back to the hotel to grab the tripod to shoot the sunset there. On returning we were refused entry saying we will have to come back tomorrow. No matter what we said we could not gain entry. Frustrated, we raced back to another nearby beach, it was nothing special, the local cement factory nestled in the hills, but I thought the sky had potential and wanted to do something with it. Again I set up the tripod, and with a full battery, set up the camera. Grabbing my filters I opened it up, took one look and muttered some explicit language under my breath. I still cannot believe my stupidity. Before I left home I changed some of my lenses and no longer needed one of the adapter rings for my filters. So I left one behind. The problem is, I left the wrong one. So now my most often used adapter ring is 8000kms away, and I’m lugging around one that is totally useless to me… Thankfully the sunset died a boring death, and we rode home after dark with many suicidal bugs choosing my eyes and sunburnt arms as their final resting place.

And that was Langkawi, a great island with some high highs and low lows.

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