Friday, October 14, 2011

The Back Side

We have often wondered about the 'back' side of Pulau Kapas, our favourite weekender island. So this time we arranged a little boat ride right around.

This interesting character, a friend of Zah - the resort chap - was very happy to earn himself a few ringgit by driving us around the island. We were a little disappointed with the boat which, while it delivered a reasonably comfortable ride (as long as we sat still), had no covering for very necessary shade for us pale-skins!

So what is around the back?

Well, it's very beautiful, and very rugged.

Quite inhospitable really.

So then we landed on the other little island - Gem Island.

Quite an exclusive little resort.

Very pretty, flowers and all the picturesque stuff.

And a little 'Infinity' pool, flowing over into a smaller pool where they have baby turtles. (The sign says "Do not touch turtle.")

The turtles, however, seem to have forsaken their instincts and associate the presence of large shadowy creatures (people) with the possibility of food, and all come crowding over begging to be loved.

The actual beach area is very tiny, and nice and secluded.

I had not eaten sufficient breakie before leaving home - forgetting that we would be going out on the boat and not supping on Zah's coconut pancakes when we first got there - and I had a diabetic moment.

Couldn't have a plain ole glass of orange juice though ...

So, we wobbled our way back across the pontoon (no jetty at this island) and into our little boat with our character.

Back home to our island weekend home.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dried Squid???

It was two weeks since our last visit to Pulau Kapas - definitely time for another relaxing weekend!

The beach had an unusual fishy aroma - then we noticed that there was something on the wooden steps (which are sometimes used for climbing in and out of boats) ...

Ah there was the source - Zah had caught some squid and was drying them in the sun. Occasionally a slight breeze would waft across them and into the 'restaurant' area.

I asked him what he planned to do with them after drying them...

And he was eager to share them with me after frying them!

Actually, they DID taste good, but they were really really tough!!

The wet season is very close. The days remind us of the"Doldrums" from our Murray Island days - hot and still, ocean like a millpond. But lately the weather has settled into a pattern of afternoon and/or evening thunderstorms.

As we sat on our little verandah reading our books and watching the ocean, we heard the thunder getting going over the mainland.

A really spectacular storm front came across - but it didn't rain on us, just rumbled away. Then, later at night it just pounded the island with heavy rain - great to sleep through!

When we first arrived we slipped straight into our bathers and ran down for a swim - there was almost no one around so I felt I could wear just bathers and not all the usual clobber. The sand was shiny with rows of little blobs sparkling along each waveline as the tide had receded - jellies??

The water was sparkling and welcoming us, but it was like swimming in porridge. The tiny blobs were everywhere, although there was no stinging. It was just so unnerving! We swam around a bit, but soon came back out. Later in the day I tried again, and there were very few of the tiny jelly blobs.

In the morning, observing little shiny blobs all along the beach, we went for a bit of a walk. We found these amazing-looking flowers on the beach under a tree.

They gave off an overpowering sweet aroma. The tree where they came from had these funny big square fruits/nuts.

So ... we headed back to the resort restaurant for some breakie, and Zah cooked up my favourite "local pancakes" which have coconut in them. :)

Oh, and Peter found a few more unhappy and distressed rocks which needed rescuing!

Back on the boat, and home again by lunch.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hospital Spelling

It was actually just a visit to a hospital clinic.

Previously, we had seen a doctor or two in the Specialist Hospital, but this was the State Hospital, and I was unprepared for the total lack of English. (Everywhere else there is a scattering of English and/or 'Manglish' signs.)

This sign was the first hint of a problem.

(Can you read it? I'm guessing it's the way to the Psychiatry Ward ...)

So inside we go and we find a roomful of people milling, and one of those number announcing machines (all in Bahasa Melayu, of course - time to remember my BM numbers) and a loudspeaker telling people with certain numbers to go to certain numbered counters.

Times like this, it's good to stick out like a sore thumb! There was no number-ticket machine, because a man at one of the counters was guarding it, and he caught sight of me, motioning me over to get a number. Then I joined the crowd, practising saying my number in BM and watching the numbers on the screen.

Finally my number came up and I went to a counter. The chappie wanted me to pay a little money ($20), gave me another number chit and told me my clinic was up on the first floor ...

So we went up the stairs - and that's when the full force of the language problem hit me. So many signs, all in BM in capital letters, and all such big words. Psychiatry wasn't so hard to fathom, so what word would they have on the "eye" clinic. I looked at my number chit and it said "OFTAL" - no help there.

Standing there with our mouths open we looked like sore thumbs again, and a lady came up and offered to help. She led us to the OFTALMOLOGI clinic - DUH!

Everyone looked after me really well after that, they either spoke a word or two of English or gave reasonable hand signs. Until after I had seen the doctor lady and she sent me for an eye photo (to compare with later). A little nurse led me to a room and pointed with her thumb (the way they do here) to a chair in the corner. The lights were off in the room, but I didn't mind as my eyes were all dilated with drops, and I presumed I would wait there for a technician. But after a while I began to feel that I had been deposited in a store room - there was a lot of equipment that didn't seem to be in use. I started trying to work out just how long I should wait before I go looking for someone.

Suddenly the young nurse came back in. She looked at me, and she didn't say anything but I noticed just a slight downward motion with one hand - and then she walked back out. The door quickly slammed behind her but I leapt up and followed her. Back out in the corridor I caught sight of her already some distance away. Again her thumb pointed to a chair along the wall and she glanced back at me. At least I was back in the world of people!

I sat watching a couple of young chaps in white lab coats playing with a computer, and I recognised a troublesome error screen. Occasionally they glanced at me with worried looks. Sooo ... the machine was out of order. The young nurse was called for again and she led me back to the doctor's office where it was explained that I would have to come back another day.

Well, okay, it was kinda fun. My language skills are improving 'sikit-sikit' (a little).

[Thanks, Chew, for correcting my BM!]