Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Borneo, KL, Pangkor and Penang.

I'm in Penang, Malaysia enduring cheesy TV adverts. Malaysia is heavily promoting 2007 as the Visit Malaysia Year and uses 'Malaysia, the essence of Asia' as the catchphrase. So lame.

Iban tribe
I never made it up the Rejang river after Bako National Park, I got back to Kuching and indulged in some serious boozing with two Aussies and a lad from Carlisle who'd married a local lass. One of the Aussies decided to splurge and stay at the Holiday Inn after the rigours of the jungle. We felt highly refined sipping wine on his lofty balcony with fine views of the Sarawak River. I visited the Sarawak tribal museum where I discovered that the men of the Iban tribe (a branch of the head-hunting Dayaks) used to stick metal bars through their bell ends. Looking at these excruciating penis piercings, known as palangs, caused involuntary shudders and nauseousness - I couldn't help but clutch my balls! I even went to the Islamic museum as a token effort to do something not booze related.

I left some great folk behind at the weird Anglican church hostel and flew back to Kuala Lumpur where I caught a bus to Pangkor Island on peninsular Malaysia's west coast. A week was spent swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, sunbathing, jungle trekking, reading, motorbiking and eating. I stayed in A-frame digs which consisted of a small wooden hut on the jungle periphery. During the week I saw: Hornbill birds, Sea Eagles, Monkeys, Snakes, Lizards, massive jellyfish and leeches.

After a short jaunt into the jungle I was shocked to see my ankles covered in blood! I had a dozen leeches sucking the life out of me. I flicked them away but the bleeding wouldn't stop. It looked worse than it felt. A local explained that they're totally harmless although it's hard to believe when you're covered in blood - I lost pints man! I'm glad I never experienced this in Borneo, I still have the marks on my ankles now.

I had a standoff with a pack of Macaque monkeys. I hate these creatures, they reckon they're so hard. We'd just found a great spot to watch the sunset when these monkeys started harassing us. I frightened the alpha male away but he came back with reinforcements - the whole troop. I tried to get rid of them again but they stood their ground, growling and flashing their teeth. They advanced on our position so I backed off and found a stick. Now armed with the stick I went back but they'd retreated to the trees. I couldn't believe how afraid I was faced with so many of them - imagine the diseases you might get if one bit you? I used to think they were cute. The locals tell me they can smell you're a foreigner as they're afraid of the locals!

Georgetown (or Penang) is Malaysia's second city. It's a canny place situated on a large island in the North West of the country. There are some English colonial buildings, an impressive fort along with churches, mosques and temples catering to Christianity, Islam and Hindu. Tomorrow, we're hiring a scooter to tour the island. Next week Thailand!

Zakar menindik = Malay for penis piercing.

1 comment:

  1. perhaps the leaches where sucking the excess booze left in ure blood !nrnrnice monkey story, sounds like u are quite the jungle king with ure sticknrnrlive it up matenrnrDan


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