quite a long page, I'm afraid. If
you have no interest in anything to do with fishing, just grin & bear it
in the bit between the
picture captioned "My life is shit..." and the picture of Dutch Jaco
looking mental. The rest of it is normal(ish).
When back in England, my initial plan was to visit Penang and Langkawi
when in Malaysia, but a couple of things had put me off a bit by the time I
was in that part of the world. The first was that I had spent one night at
Patong in Phuket, in what seems like a lifetime ago. So, and I admit that I
may have got this all wrong, the prospect of
discussing just who did the best Full English on the strip didn't
particularly inspire. The second was that I had met a couple of people
around and about who had mentioned the Perhentian Islands, and both had said
about just how nice it is out there.
So, kicking the Penang side of
things into touch, the Perhentian Islands meant that I headed east from Tasik Temenggor
rather than west. The usual sequence of lugging my rucksack about,
sitting baking in the sun for a bit, and then crawling along on another bus
ride was negotiated, and then an overnight stop in the town of Kota Bharu
I stepped off the bus there at one of the terminals, collected
my bags, and got mugged into staying at the a backpacker's lodge in the
centre of town near the night market. I had no say in it- one minute I was
ambling down the street, next I was in reception signing in. Still, it was
only 20 Ringgit a night, and I've found out that this is about as cheap as it gets
where a light bulb still comes as standard. With an evening to kill there, I decided to
go and wander around in the streets and find somewhere to eat, and to this
end soon found myself in a small cafe cum restaurant, which was chosen
simply because it had air-
just can't believe anything you read these days. It said nothing about "clouds"
in the brochure.
con and I was dripping like an otter's pocket
(with sweat!). All I wanted was a swift couple of beers and a
bite to eat, but in the end it turned out to be quite a trippy little
There was a bunch of Malaysian blokes sat at a table there, and
they gestured me to join them. So I pulled up a chair, and immediately I had
a beer slid in front of me, while they went ahead and ordered me some food.
One of them spoke very good English, another spoke a little, and the other
two were at the same stage of development with English as I am with Malay and
pretty much all the other languages of the world. Now, the bloke to my left
was absolutely steaming pissed. He had a really nasty case of pink-eye, and
from what I could decipher, was slurring his words already. After the beer landed in front of me, he
made a gesture, brushing his hand in the air as if to say "get
lost", so I looked a bit confused. Give me beer and then get abusive?
But the English speaking
bloke chipped in:
"He wants to race
you- 'down in one', as you say". "Ok" I thought, "no
problem", and down the hatch it went.
The process was repeated about
4 times in 15 minutes, and he's still baying for more, but by
now, due to his head start he's struggling to get more than a couple of
mouthfuls down before resurfacing for air. "You - strong man" he
says, noodle and beer spit spraying across the table, as he flexed his
right fist and forearm in the air with his left hand grasped across it
like Sid James in Carry On Doctor.
after 6 or 7 of these mate" I said, and they all start laughing (after translation anyway).
Meanwhile, the bewildered looking waitress
was dispatched to fetch more beers. Still Pink-Eye won't give in, so we have to
do the 'down in one' thing again, whereby he had to stop twice to gulp
air, and he'd spilled more down his shirt than he got in his mouth.
"Strong man! Strong man!!" he shouts at the top of his voice,
bottom half of his face sopping wet with lager. And then he squeezes my leg under the table.
I froze. "Easy, tiger"... Then he does the arm gesture thing and
mumbles "Stroooonnnng maaaannnn!" again in a kind of wheeze,
and then starts to grasp and rub my arm and shoulder.
"Oh...bollocks!", I thought, "I'm right out of my depth
with Rambozo here!".
The English speaking bloke must have seen me squirm in my
seat, and he certainly couldn't have missed the 'rabbit in the headlights'
thing petrified into my face. "Oh, don't worry" he says, "he's
always like this". Somehow that wasn't much of a comfort. Anyway, we
had to do the 'down in one' thing another couple of times before he
finally can't speak, see, or drink any more, and he eventually blacks out
with his forehead on the table. I relaxed a little, relieved he didn't
insist on a bedtime story and a cuddle before he went off to sleep.
That just left the more sensible
contingent to deal with, and after a couple more beers and some
conversation, one of them starts to talk about business. After a while, for some
reason he starts to get the idea that he and I can start some import/export
deals to and from Malaysia and the UK. Don't ask me why, cos I had just
told him that I used to be a draughtsman and had recently thrown the whole
thing in to become a full-time waste of space for as long as I can get away with it:
what?" I asked
"Anything you want" he replied,
"Tell me what you need and I can get it. And ship it - anything. You
name it", as he looked out of the top of his glasses through a thick pall
of cigarette smoke and then handed over his business card.
This in itself may have
been a front. I don't know for sure though, since I'm not clear on how the
world of staplers, paper clips and photocopier repairs and servicing could tie in with munitions
and child labour supplies. I'm not an expert on these
things. But I slipped his card into my pocket, and reminded myself that no
matter what career opportunities don't appear when all this is over and I
am forced to start paying off the accumulated debts, I would not be going
into import/export with my new Malaysian partner.
Beach, Palau Perhentian Kecil. I thought I'd visited paradise on some previous trips. I now know that I hadn't really.
for 'Cudas around a rocky outcrop.
Eventually everyone at the table was
starting to get really badly the worse for wear, and I had no idea what
was going on to be quite frank. I was also starting to feel well pissed
myself, although covering it fairly well, I thought (although I've thought
that before...), but then suddenly for some reason I realised that the Alco-Safety Switch had just
tripped, telling me it was time to make my excuses and leave. Not before we all almost ended up
having a row
over the bill - simply because my new business partners were offended that I
actually wanted to pay my
part of the cost. They wouldn't hear of it, so eventually I gave in and
left, handshakes all round (and the cutest of little waves for Sleeping
Beauty who was now snoring face down on the table), and promising to be in touch
soon with my first order of whatever it is I decided to order. A strange
evening. By the way, I still have his card in my bag somewhere, so if anyone
reading this wants to order anything, something or even a bit of everything, then
please e-mail me, and I'll pass on his details.
Next morning I was on the bus to Kuala
the small harbour town where the Perhentian Island boats pick up and drop
off, and it was so very convenient that the bus dropped off right outside the
shop where you buy the ticket for the boat. To be fair, myself and another
couple were shepherded into there before the bus had even
and by the time the engine was turned off the tickets were in our hands and
we had been relieved of 60RM. Nothing if not slick!
It was a bit cloudy and choppy on the fast
boat over (the cheaper slow boat somehow wasn't running that day- probably
engine failure I should think), and we all got a proper good soaking as we crashed through the waves. As we
approached the islands some 30 minutes later, the driver asked "Which
island, man? Small or large?". A question I hadn't anticipated... (you
mean I have a choice?)
"Which beach, man? You want Long Beach?"
"Ermmm... Ok. Long Beach sounds
good. I suppose".
The end of another perfect day in a perfect
And so it was that my Lonely Idiot guide came up trumps yet
again. One final local strange-ism to negotiate: the 'Boat Taxi'. This is where the
fast boat stops 50 to 100 metres from the beach, and another boat then comes
out from the beach, transfers the lucky punters and their luggage from one boat to the other,
and then takes 30 seconds to run them back to the beach for the princely sum of 2RM a head. You've gotta pick a pocket or two
eh? Still, finally I stepped out onto
the powder-fine white sand and surveyed the scene up and down said beach.
impression? "I might just drop in this cafe here and have a beer I
think". Second impression? "This is nice". And as I sat
having a cold Tiger, I began to realise just how cool a place it was.
The sand and beach were perfect, hemmed in by rocks at either end and palm
trees and thick green forest up behind, the sea was a clear turquoise, with a
few small restaurants and dive shops scattered along the sea front, and a few
wooden chalets for accommodation set back just behind them. Some cool,
chilled out music drifted down on the breeze,
And that was it for the next four or five
nights- or so I thought. But after two of them I moved to a cheaper, more, shall we say 'rustic' place so I could stay a bit
longer, which was right next to the beach, and complete with a novelty
'white-water log-rafting' toilet (although at least it had a toilet).
eventually four or five nights turned into nearly three weeks. Don't ask me
how, although I suppose it helps that it's the
kind of place where, apathy permitting, you could go snorkelling or scuba diving in the morning,
have a bit of lunch - roti canai (spot on!), fried rice or noodle soup perhaps, then lay
in the sun on the beach and sort out those awkward, uneven tan lines, then sit in the shade and have a cold drink for a
bit, then nip for a couple of hours fishing in the afternoon and evening. To
finish off you could then spend the night eating the barbecued fish and satay and
drinking more cold beers and local vodkas until the sun comes up - providing there's
a party on somewhere along the beach that night. And that was a typical
pattern- along with a lot of hours just sitting around doing... well...
nothing, because it just felt like the right thing to do at the time I
suppose. You could, of course, rearrange all these activities into a combination to suit
your own requirements and itinerary. And apart from one or two squally showers,
the sun shone down from a cloudless blue sky virtually without exception the
Friendly Fisherman holds up a Golden Trevally for a snapshot.
and I suddenly realised this
place was so very close to the kind of place which I had sometimes dreamed about. It
wasn't just how it looked, it was a lot to do with how it felt too.
Like it was relaxed, but not comatose; like there were few people about -
enough to meet like minded fools, make friends and have some fun, but not
too many so that it would be full-on party-crazed lunacy 24/7. Just about
perfect - for an old fart like me anyway.
It took a while to find a chalet- in fact I
dumped my bags at the cafe where I had just had some beer and walked the beach from
one end to another until I finally found a free one. It cost a little more
than average, but without any choice I snapped it up and soon got my stuff
chucked around randomly on the floor and bed so I felt at home.
This is a Parrotfish!
"My life is shit".
used to it now... a day out on the water for the most part in Asia usually
involves 4 hours fishing and 3 hours farting about with the engine. Note
careful cigarette placement while working out the throttle situation.
Don't try this at home.
this is loosely supposed to be a fishing website, I guess I'd better write
a bit about the fishing I encountered there during my stay. Right at the
start I'll note that I didn't catch anything huge there - though not
through lack of trying - at various times I trolled big Rapalas, let large
livebaits swim all over the ocean, and dropped lumps of dead Grouper &
Snapper onto the bottom in the hope that something big and ugly would eat
them. In short, nothing did. It's also worth noting - and this isn't the
first time I've encountered this since I've been on this journey - that
each time I told a boatman what I wanted to do, for instance try to catch
Cobia (Kingfish as they call them on the island), or Queenfish or shark,
they would either just laugh as if to say "I bet you do mate", or
just ignore me and do what they wanted anyway!
A typical case in point was when a local bloke heard I wanted to go
fishing and said he could take me out on his boat that evening (for a fist
full of dollars). He even asked me what I wanted to catch, and
when I told him Barracuda and maybe a Kingfish (I had been given orders for a BBQ
on the beach that night), he said it would be no problem. So we met up at
the allotted time and place on the beach, me with my trolling rod and a
heavy spinning outfit in hand.
Captain Ahab prepares to launch
his Trevally Distress Flare
Nice hatrick of reef fishes
on a handline for Captain Ahab.
Luckily I had also brought a little light
rod with me just in case. This was lucky, because within minutes of
leaving shore, we were heading to a spot I had fished earlier in my stay
for Snapper... When I asked him what we were doing there, he just said
"Ok. Trying Snapper first. Maybe Barracuda later. I know
spot" (this now sounds so bloody familiar!). Another shrug of the shoulders and shake of the head from
yours truly. In the next hour or two I went on to catch Snapper Nrs.3478 to
3506 of the trip, along with Grouper
Nrs.1563 to 1578... Same
same but similar.
At least we had secured some fish for the barbie that night I
suppose, which was good, because we eventually
with funky headgear and another pretty tropical species I
don't know the name of.
went to his Barracuda spot,
where he told me to rig up with a float to kind of 'sink and draw' a strip
of squid across the surface. This was all new to me, and I had my doubts about the
methodology for obvious reasons,
but having caught cudas on tube lures in the Florida Keys I gave it ago
without any real protestations except for a sceptical look and a pair of
raised eyebrows. Nothing
happened to begin with, and then he started pointing animatedly:
"Barracuda! There it is! See?". And swimming along behind the
strip of squid was a long, thin stripe of iridescent blue... a definite,
100%, certain bloody
Needlefish. Dilemma... do I tell him or not? I decided to let it ride, not wanting to burst his
bubble, and then asked if we could go trolling instead... where I then caught a really
handsome Grouper (Nr. 1579) on a lure not much shorter than the fish itself.
(almost) interesting little vignette of local mind-sets when it comes to 'big' fish was on an
afternoon fun fishing with a couple of the blokes from one of the
restaurants, a mentalist (in the nicest possible sense of the word) I befriended called Jaco Ooms from Holland, who as it turned out liked
a bit of fishing too, and
the kindly Aunty Sarah Dalton from Exeter/Brighton, a lady who had been
tending to needy and weary travellers on the island with the moistened
corner of her tissue for so
Grouper Nr.1579 (give or take 1500).
long that I reckon she had put down a tap-root
on the beach. We spent a lovely afternoon on a bright blue sea under clear
blue skies catching several species of tropical stuff, but with the majority share being... you guessed it, Snapper,
Grunts and Grouper. During the afternoon, I happened to fluke out quite a
big Grunt (not my first big grunt in Asia though- I still remember Laos
like it was yesterday), and it weighed perhaps a pound. As I lifted it aboard, the local blokes were
laughing and shouting "Oooh- big fish! Big fish! Good one! Good
one!", and giving us a mini round of applause. In the meantime Jaco and I were swapping glances and shaking
our heads as I grimaced and mimed the word "Big?" curiously...
Other angling stuff I did was to go out a few
times with local fishermen on their big wooden boats. These would
go further out to sea, but not too far due to some reliability issues with
the engines it seems. In fact, there seems to be a pattern developing with
regard to the engines out here in Asia too. I've applied a few indices,
reciprocals and log tables, and worked out so
far that you have roughly a 70/30 chance that
you get one that works at all, and if it does work, you have about a 50/50
chance of it
lasting out the day. If I had a quid for every hour I've spent so far,
cast adrift out on the water, listening to spanners and pliers try to wring
just another few nautical miles out of an engine that probably died for
the first time in 1989, then I would probably be extending my trip by
another 6 months.
the trips on these boats though, there was at least a lot more scope for
variety to the fishing. We could start by trying to get a couple of
Trevally on strips of squid or by jigging feathers- which happened
occasionally, then lure fish for
other small predatory species around the rocks where small fry were
scattering, then troll for Barracuda (albeit that the boats had the manoeuvrability
and turning circle of a combine harvester), and then finish the day off with an
hour after Snapper (of course- it's rude not to). And this usually proved to be the pattern.
There was one disastrous day though, where
we trolled all day around the rocky headlands and reefs for 'cuda,
trevally, mackerel or anything else that night want to snag itself on
the fast moving plastic.
Some local fishing boats
having a nice day out sailing on the South China Sea. How very pleasant.
Cut a long
story short... Lost 1 Rapala when the snap link to the 100lb test swivel (Ron Thompson...) just snapped in mid-troll-
nothing even hit the lure. Should have stuck to Berkeley. Lost a big blue
Yo Zuri lure when a large Needlefish struck at the leader swivel and bit
through the line just above it. Lost my last silver spoon when I cast it
(without a wire leader) into some spraying baitfish thinking they were
being chased by Trevally or Bonito... only to find out it was a school of
Barracuda... And then to cap it all off, lost
seven Barracuda while on the troll that day. Don't ask me how, because I
wouldn't think it possible to do it seven times in a row. I have now
replaced the rubber hooks on my lures with
metal ones (well, the ones I have left).
these hooks I just mentioned were purchased on a return trip back to Kuala
Lumpur. A quick look at a map of Peninsular Malaysia, would show you that Perhentian Islands are about as far as it is possible to get from
the capital and still be 'in the country', which brings the phrase "what
were we playing
at?" into play immediately. The next phrase into play is "well
it seemed like a good idea at the time".
We were at an after-party
party in a group of Malaysian's chalet at 5.30 in the morning, the vodka
had taken a fair beating, and our Malaysian attaché, Uncle Roy, turns to Jaco and tells him that
he, Aunty Sarah and Jose (an old fella type of bloke who was into "peace,
love and watching the river of life flow by..." (!) and helped out at one
of the restaurants on the beach) were going back to the capital for a
couple of nights to sort out some supplies and furniture for the new bar
he was about to open as an annexe to the famed Lily's Restaurant. Then
he asked if we wanted to join him cos he could show us a night out on the
tiles in K.L. while we were there, and it would be really useful to give him a hand to
lug all the heavy stuff back.
"Ok, count me in" I shrugged over some
kind of hard-core trance type of stuff that Jaco had throbbing out of the
mini-speakers he'd hijacked from the Malaysians. And that was it - cause for celebration and another drink- and
then a few hours later, before the hangover had even cleared (or maybe
even started), we were on a
ferry back to the mainland to get to Kota Bharu and the bus back to the
little hiatus to the Perhentian Experience was certainly an experience all
of it's own...
Fusilierfest. No lack of baitfish.
Dutch Jaco. Listen kids;
please, talk to Frank.
Two nights turned into four straight away (with all the travelling).
Then when we got to Kota Bharu there was only one bus left, and
only one seat left on the bus- which it made sense for Uncle Roy to take
since he had to meet someone the next morning. So, we sat about for a bit
wondering what to do, and eventually, after much fannying about (as usual), the four
of us ended up rammed into an appropriately named Proton SAGA 1.6L on a 9 hour taxi drive across the country. Smart.
In common with many cars in this part of the world though, it did have a
very nice big-bore exhaust and alloy wheel set up.
time we were in K.L. we got very little sleep at all due to being up and about
most of the night. And anyway, we were sleeping in dorms where for some
reason it seemed
like I was always the last person in, trying to creep into the loosely bolted Meccano
bunk at 5 or 6am and not wake anyone, although probably sounding
like a baby hippo being kicked down a fire escape. This was always followed
shortly after 7.30am by some other considerate tool, sorry, soul, who would then
turn the bloody strip light on... then off... then on... then off... then
on again, until the rest of the lodgers were suffering from strobe
sickness, and then sit next door telling all
and sundry over a nice morning coffee, through paper thin walls, about having "done" Cambodia
or "done" Vietnam or "done" Laos or whatever other
unfortunate Third World country
he had recently chosen to inflict himself upon.
My little gecko
"Never trust a hippy", I was told. If only I
had listened to my old man's advice.
what's in Kickapoo Joy Juice? And do I really want to know?
Oh, and then
there was the incredibly strange bloke from Delhi who smelled like a newly
opened jar of warmed up pickled onions (yup, he was in our dorm).
No matter what time of the early morning you ventured back home to the Pondok Lodge, you
would always find him creeping about, silently, stalking the corridors
like some kind of evil smelling spirit (we're back onto pickles again). It
wasn't just my observation of the bloke either, since he was eventually
asked to leave the guest house by the owners- which is quite a hard act to follow.
We also did some shopping to pass the time of day while Uncle Roy was buying
stuff from Ikea and having high-level meetings about his bar, then did quite a lot of hanging about, and
then a night out at one of K.L.'s most exclusive nightspots with what
seemed like the most expensive bottles of vodka in Asia for sale. No
wonder it only had 6 other people in there. The general consensus was that the settees were the most comfortable thing
we'd sat or laid on for weeks though.
Finally there was quite a nice bit of
R&R up on the roof garden of the guest house, where Jose filled us in
on his colourful life from all the corners of the world, including living
in a little hippy colony in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand, many, many full-moons ago.
As he was telling us his tale, I was idly adding some scratchings to all
the other travellers graffiti in the dirt smeared into the table. As it came
into my mind- while I was reading some of the other stuff on there and listening to
Jose's tales - I pretty much sub-consciously scrawled in the words "Never Trust A Hippy", which, along with
"Try Everything Once- Except For Paedophilia And Morris
Dancing", is about the most sound piece of advice I have ever been
given. Aunty Sarah admonished me for thinking such a thing- "I quite like
hippies" she said. And a discussion then ensued, during which I pointed out
that I thought that hippies are usually
into some kind of alternative lifestyle or another, which therefore means they
are usually skint,
which therefore means they usually need some money... and who's better to
have than someone else's? Excuse my cynicism... (again).
Aunty Sarah's catch of the day. Like I say, bird's can't fish...
Anyway, Jose wanted to borrow a little
money... just a little ('man')... just until he could get his money from the
bank... he'd give it back as soon as he got back to the island on the next
Monday. Since the rest of us were getting back on the Saturday, and as I had set a final
departure date for the Wednesday, this was fine. After all, we'd all been
hanging out together for the best part of 2 weeks, and previously he'd borrowed
money off both Aunty Sarah and Jaco and paid it back - albeit when they
asked him about it. I did manage to laughingly
slip in a little jibe about "not being a mobile branch of Barclays
although the interest is twice as nasty"
as I handed over the dough, and he laughed and told me he'd bring some
liquor for me back to the island when he headed back.
What a sucker. He
has not been seen or heard of since we all waved goodbye and set a course for
K.L. Central Bus Depot. No reappearance at the island on the Monday, no phone call to
Uncle Roy - nothing. Why-oh-why didn't I listen to my own (very sound and
advice? Still, it wasn't a huge amount of money, and if that's the worst
thing that happens while I'm on my jaunt then I'll have got off lightly.
But to have the piss
taken? By an ex-hippy? That's what really, really hurts...
"Spot on, blob on...".
Dutch Jaco fishes in paradise.
As it turned out, after another 10 hour
overnight bus journey back to Kuala Besut, the heavy stuff Uncle Roy needed a
lift with was manhandled onto the boat by Sarah and he himself in the time
it took me to have a pee in the dock-side. I think I lifted one of the
fittings and an oscillating fan while Jaco stood and had a fag. And as we
surveyed a job well done, we both wondered just what the hell we had
just spent the last four days of our lives hanging about for.
seemed like a good idea at the time... I have to admit though, we all had
some great laughs on the outing (which I have neither the time, space nor
inclination to go into here), so it definitely wasn't time wasted.
wasted or not, it was sure good to be back on the island again after the
heat and pollution of Kuala Lumpur, and it felt like a homecoming when
I dropped my bag back onto the sand covered sheets of the bed in my luxury
beachfront condo, that had been saved back during the enforced
absence. Same items of general rubbish laid all over the floor, same sheet
on the bed- complete with half a sack of sand on it and 10 days worth of
hangover-sweat dried in it. I checked that the toilet still flooded the washroom when
flushed, and had the pleasure of an instant homely feeling as water
sprayed all over the floor tiles and poured down the hole in the corner.
Ahhh- it's good to be back.
Within hours of re-arrival, I had arranged
another fishing session, decided to do some kayaking and snorkelling, had
grazed upon some of Lily's lovely roti canai, slid down a couple of ice cold Tiger
Beers, sat in the sun for a bit, had a game of dominoes in the shade of the
bar, and finally discovered that there was a beach party taking place the
very next evening. Oh yes, it was very, very good to be back...
this final stage of my stay, our Malaysian cultural attaché told us about
a spot around the other
side of the island where we could probably walk
and fish close in under the rocks. I wish he'd told us sooner. So Dutch Jaco
and myself decided to go and investigate. We had to be a bit crafty with
this, since we were told it wouldn't be such a great idea to be seen
carrying fishing rods around the island in case everyone got the same
idea. But Jaco grabbed a handful of Lily's squid (pictures with words?), I rigged us up a rod each, and
then off we went to try and
find the place. We followed the paths through the forest, and even though
they are marked out, we still managed to take several wrong turnings and
ended up spending three quarters of an hour doing a loop of the central
part of the island. After some time, covered in insects and sweat yet
again, we heard the sound of the ocean, and picked our way down to it
hoping that we hadn't ended up back at Long Beach where we started. We
exited the forest onto a tiny strip of white coral sand, with a
big mass of rocks to our right.
"Do you think this is it?"
"Don't know mate, but these look like rocks.
scaled the rocks - not easy in flip-flops - and the welcome sea breeze
started to cool us down a bit. Soon we had some strips of Lily's squid
under a float and slopping about in the waves, and within minutes the first fish were coming
ashore - an array of almost luminous coloured wrasse, parrotfish, some nice
sized Grouper (of course) and other exotic species being unhooked and
released back into the turquoise swell.
Great fun fishing, and some
beautiful fish were caught (and NO Snapper!!). It was only a pity that Jaco hooked a really
big parrotfish that set off like crazy, peeling line from the spool only
to bite through the line just above the hook. Arse! We stayed on until we
could see the floats no longer, kept three Grouper for our BBQ that night,
then picked our way back down to the beach by torchlight.
This is a yellow kayak.
Cheesehead foraging in the bins again.
What, pray tell, the hell is that?
And if the
journey there in daylight was confusing, darkness was even worse. A couple
of wrong turnings, falling down potholes, stumbling across the smouldering
embers of a bonfire which was sectioned off with wires and effigies like some kind of tropical Blair Witch
Project, getting carried along by the bloody mosquitoes,
tripping over roots and logs (spot on in flip flops), swearing and sweating loudly and
abundantly... Then suddenly a torchlight appeared in front of us:
"Hello" said these chirpy Swedish sounding
and female voices in total harmony.
"Hello. Long Beach? Is it this way?
"Oh yes - keep straight ahead - you cannot
miss it. Have a lovely evening!!" they warbled in unison.
And then off they skipped, hand in hand,
quickly disappearing into the darkness like a pair of little Scandinavian forest pixies.
We bravely pressed on deeper into the jungle. A minute later we recognised a
clearing... and a junction... and a wooden post... and realised that our
walk there would have been 5 minutes instead of 45 if only we had just
followed the signs...
Roy's beach bar opened that evening- my last on the island, and the band
of friends and acquaintances we had made there dined on the Grouper
we had brought home, all presented in variety of ways; deep fried, barbecued and
steamed: excellent. And then we all made like a Grouper and got steamed ourselves and partied until it was almost breakfast time.
Finally: if anyone who happened to be on the island at the same time
bothers to read this far down - cheers very, very much for a great, great time.
(I guess you regret giving me
your e-mail address now?)
Phew. I'm pleased to have that lot out of the
Repeat: "Just Say