Georgetown to Langkawi

We felt sad that we were only staying one day in Georgetown. I almost tried to extend stay, but didn’t. Seemed like there was lots to do and see. I felt bad, felt like I was rushing us. Anxiety spiral again. Trying to manage it and calm down and just roll with where we are.

We taxied back to the hotel and  hopped onto our bikes to ride to the ferry terminal. Weirdly the hottest I’ve felt all trip, was just wildly, shockingly hot. Felt like my skull was straining against my helmet and I was sweating in every possible place. But we made it to the terminal and got coconut waters and sat in the shade and I made a full recovery.

Got on the the ferry, which was much more of a ramshackle deal than expected. Lots of people getting off: sunburnt icky white tourists with elephant pants and backpacks, older guys in weird old guy capris, and some Muslim couples with the women in full burkas, which I haven’t seen much of yet. I wonder if they are tourists from the Middle East, coming to a Muslim vacation spot. Bonkers Bollywood movie played on loop for the entire journey.

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We arrived on Langkawi around 6pm and had some fried rice at the port and headed toward our hotel. Icky ride thorough Kuah, a little like Denpasar in Bali. But once we got out of town it got so beautiful, rolling hills and palms and rocky treed hills in the distance. Golden light and friendly people—I felt giddy. Made it Temple Tree (I went with the expensive option) which was situated down a pretty white gravel driveway. Greeted with a pineapple drink, and told we got upgraded! (I’d told them it was our honeymoon.) The resort is eight old houses from Malaysia, moved there and restored. We stayed in the Penang house, originally from Southern Malaysia, near Singapore. You enter into a little hallway, all wood slat floors and white walls with blue shutters. To the left, a big bathroom with shower that drains right through the floor and a giant wooden bathtub, and to the right, a bedroom with a low bed and AC. First place we’d stayed that wasn’t all AC throughout. Actually super pleasant. Some bugs and heat coming in, but it almost seems weirder to totally block it out in such an intense climate.

Took quick showers and went and jumped in the pool, which was really lovely. Soft light and tons of stars—I floated on my back and looked at the sky. Got dressed (wore my one “fancy” outfit) and had dinner at the hotel restaurant. Had a gin and tonic and it went right to my head.

Woke up the next morning and had breakfast in the room—they leave you a little continental breakfast to put together in the morning. Toast, fruit, yogurt, cake—and real coffee!! Then we called a cab to hire for the day. First stop was the gondola that the bike tourers had heartily recommended. It was in a super tacky “Oriental Village” with go-carts and the fish foot thing and knick knack shops. We bought tickets and headed up. Total cluster of complication and VIP lines. I got really irritated. Finally we got in a dumb pod and started heading up. Amazing view, super steep jungle-y mountain. Neat vantage. Rode with two gay Asian dudes in matching polo shirts and and Aussie dad-daughter duo, who debated whether Mum would have ridden the gondola for the whole trip. (She would have, with her eyes closed.) They make you get off at midway and walk through more crap to buy. Wound up bailing on the sky bridge at the top—and got lucky with our very own car down. Big decal of a guy on a jet ski on the side of the gondola, and it’s the worst white guy in the world, all hulky with stupid hair. Needless to say, I did not love the gondola experience.

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Back to our cheery cab driver and on to Tanjung Rhu, a beach in the northeast corner of the island. Long and interesting drive. Pretty beach, little islands near the shore and big ones in the distance. Mangroves tucked back in an inlet. Found a shady spot and read and swam. I sure do love knowing how to swim and feeling more comfortable in the water after a winter of swimming classes.

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Cabbed back to the hotel and a took a big nap. Feeling really lucky and delighted and in love with Stuart. I think we’re both really enjoying having a break both from biking (short term), and regular life (long-er term). Swam in the pool in the afternoon and read in the shade. I’m reading “Boys of My Youth” by Jo Ann Beard and laughing a lot. Great stories about the weird feelings you have as a little kid. And sad adult stories. Funny story about restoring a house with a perfectionist husband and sucking at the little tasks he gives you and his insane sweetness about it. (Something I know a little about.)

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Biked into the nearby beach-y area for dinner. Drinks at a fancy hotel—turned out to be free beer and bubbles night for guests so it was totally nuts. Sat behind some rich Aussies/Brits—one lady with Dior sunglasses was taking a hit off a pink sparkly vape every three minutes and blowing the tropical-flavored cloud way, way out. Made me laugh.

Wound up chatting with Dev, a super nice gay tour guide for a nature company (he really did not seem like an outdoorsy dude at all, in his super tight tropical print shirt) and he recommended some dinner spots. Headed to Sugar, down at the next beach. Kind of tacky and slammed busy but got a great spot to watch the end of the sunset—lots of para-gliders taking off. We had a white girl with mouth piercing giving her a crazy lisp as our waitress—turns out she’s from Tyler, TX and has lived on Langkawi 8 yrs, married to a Malay guy and has a kid! Got a little drunk, ate lobster, biked back. Fun biking a little buzzed in the warm night. Had coconut sorbet and lemongrass ice cream at our hotel and went to bed.

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Woke up, headed back to the nearby beach. Read and swam, had lunch (good cheap chicken soup with celery leaves and peanuts), and headed back to our hotel. Had a little rest and packed up, sad to leave—we are headed to Satun, Thailand. Had one last watermelon juice on the porch and headed out into the heat. Sizzlingly hot ride to the ferry in the middle of the day. Had some good Indian food at the terminal and waited in a puzzling maze for our boat. Fast ferry, easy ride. I got so excited when we got nearby—so excited to see a new place! This is turning out to be the magical part of touring, for me at least: going somewhere new, being somewhere new so frequently.

Offloaded in Satun, had an easy entry into Thailand. Biked past a big road riding group resting by the water. Very different landscape—no palms, lots of trees. Very nice road. Quick ride into town to “The Gleam,” a place we booked on Agoda. Turns out to be incredibly pretty, little Garden of Eden with pools and ponds and blooming fragrant plants. We have our own little cement house for $27. TV, AC, big bed. Asked for a restaurant recommendation and got pointed down the street—immediately saw the sweet place. Little individual roofed palapa things, with a speakers inside playing bouncy Thai pop. Stuart noticed that we barely heard music in Malaysia. English issues at the restaurant—we gotta learn a little Thai. Wound up with some sautéed beef with herbs and rice and an egg, super good. Plus beer and ice—little pucks of ice frozen in the bottoms of the glasses! So many amazing smells coming from the kitchen—thought we’d ordered more but it never came. Had a hard time flagging anyone down, eventually just paid and left, then everyone came to say goodnight to us, which was very sweet.

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