Friday 11th Cont…
He’d given his all. There was no way he wanted to go around again, so from here we tried to retreat to the relatively sedate activity of archery, but it was full and we were virtually sent packing. Ummm, how come when we were there and new people arrived we had to leave, but when it was full and we arrived, it was still us that had to leave? We didn’t mind too much, but it didn’t seem quite fair. And it was our last day so there would be no more opportunities. We really should buy our own equipment and get involved with a club at home.
As we were heading back towards the main area we saw the biggest lizard yet. This fellow (and look at that cheeky face!) must have been a metre (3 feet) long, and solid with it!!! It’s so hard to tell in the photo because the grass had very wide blades so you can’t compare it to non-tropical grass for size.
We went for a shower – in David’s case to clean off the sweat, and in mine to get the nasty mossie repellent chemicals off me. David did the camera downloads and backups, and we packed our cases as much as we could at this stage and had a cuppa.
We slowly walked to reception and looked at the list of who was checking out, mostly to make sure they’d planned transport to the airport for us. No surprise, they had. The Club Med machine is well-oiled, reliable and efficient! There were 6 other names as well as ours and, looking at the names, I said to David “They’ll be Irish I’d say!” We saw the girls behind the desk to ‘pay our account’. We owed nothing, but needed to return the pool towel vouchers. Obviously we still needed to hold onto our room key though. And then we headed for the train stop to go to the Aussie BBQ.
Along the way we heard some excitement from the people around the main pool and realised they were pointing to the main restaurant roof. No wonder! There were about a dozen monkeys up there!
Admittedly we were quite early but were very surprised that nobody else was there waiting for the train, nor turned up. Eventually a G.O. called out to us “Are you waiting for the train?” and we replied yes, expecting the G.O. to tell us it didn’t run at this time of night – which it didn’t, we knew that, this was the special ‘other restaurant run’. Well, the G.O. told us that it runs from reception for this trip. What??? I’d read that flyer twice, though of course we ‘weren’t going’ when I’d read it so I guess I must have overlooked it saying where the train left from.
We hurried back to reception and found a couple with 4 children also waiting for it. He was Aussie but the lady spoke with an Irish accent. Add together 6 people, one with an Irish accent and I said “You’re leaving early tomorrow morning aren’t you?” and indeed they were. What a coincidence! We felt like old friends within about 2 minutes of knowing this family they were truly gorgeous! And what I loved most about them, as time unfolded, was how totally they accepted each of the different character types of their 4 children and allowed each to be who they were while giving support and love to them. I know we didn’t know them for very long, but their incredible parenting skills were very obvious to anyone who cared to notice, and I surely did!
I honestly think that this Aussie BBQ was to enable people who culturally queue for things to be given a safe haven from those that don’t. Every single day at every single meal, we had been exposed to a culture for whom barging in front of you seemed to be a national sport, never mind a pastime! They (and I’m talking about many people, not just the odd few) would even change their trajectory to walk right in front of you and make you come to a standstill to avoid a collision. Even David, who can never see any harm or ill-intent in anyone, had been forced to notice it. We’d been told by a G.O. that management had already received complaints about the coach loads of people that had arrived. We don’t know specifics but I’d suspect that it was because they are so… I don’t know what to call it! This is far from the first time we’d encountered this. You’ve only to read my Singapore or Phuket stories to see how appalled we’ve been in the past by this attitude of ‘me, me, me,’ pushing in, railroading, and expecting you to vaporise into nothingness to get out of their way. Anyway, that was a long outburst wasn’t it? But when you belong to a relatively polite culture and are suddenly exposed to such… is it rudeness, or is it just the way they are? Well, it’s both isn’t it?
Anyway, once the train arrived we piled into a carriage with our new best friends and talked nineteen to the dozen all the way to the little restaurant. Eduardo was there to greet everyone, as were Sasha and Karlien, but they couldn’t stay! We were so disappointed! They were there long enough for me to grab a photo of them with David and then they were gone 🙁
Someone asked me if I wasn’t jealous of him having the 2 beautiful girls hugging up to him. Well, he’s been coming home to me for almost 40 years so, even if they weren’t young enough to be our daughters, I’m not expecting that to change any time soon. He’s my best friend, and I’m his.
We were offered drinks. David surprised me by also accepting the ‘Blue Lagoon’ cocktail offered and I took a couple of shots of them on the table with the palm trees and ocean in the background through the open sides of the restaurant as the light failed. One of the staff here was a gorgeous, gorgeous person and truly worthy of mention. She had colourful tastes in clothing, particularly to be able to show this despite wearing a uniform, so I instantly felt that we were kindred spirits. And her name was Fairy. How wonderful is that? She told us it was actually Fairy Glen and I don’t know why she’d dropped the ‘Glen’.
The meal was nice with a variety of salads and a whole row of BBQs with such things as salmon, steak, chops, sausages, crayfish and prawns. And what was most glaringly obvious was the way everyone queued politely and waited in turn. Normally we’ve had a flight home between being pushed around and returning to normal, but this was just a short train ride and oh boy did it highlight the cultural differences! I didn’t eat a whole lot, I was very wary of getting an upset stomach with an early start, bus ride and then long plane journey ahead of me!
After the meal was over we again stood and watched lightning in the night sky until the train came back from its first trip for us and returned to the main area ready for tonight’s show. Being Friday once more, it was going to be a repeat of ‘Bang It’s Love’ but we couldn’t wait to see it again and have another go at photographing it, particularly the act with our beautiful Sasha and Daniel. We had improved our ‘low light photography’ skills during the week and it was exciting to see if we could get better shots tonight than we had a week ago. Apparently Eduardo had made a few changes to the show as well. Bosses always seem to do that don’t they? Anyway, here are lots (probably too many I know) of photos from our final show.
As soon as the show finished we went back to the room, cleaned our teeth and packed as much more as we could before climbing into bed at 11pm. We set our alarms for 3.30am. Yes, truly. Who knew there was a 3 in the morning as well as the afternoon one? I took a long, loooong time to go to sleep, I’d estimate about 2 hours. Well, I went for a loo trip at 1am and hadn’t been to sleep by then, but I think I fell into fitful sleep after that.
3:50am the phone rang with its automated wake-up call but we were already up. We double-checked our cabin bags, and checked that the cupboards were empty, and put our absolute final things in our cases before putting them outside the door as requested. Then we headed to reception to return the room key. Reception was quite dark and deadly quiet and we presumed the staff member was out the back so didn’t bother to disturb them yet, knowing that the other couple would have to come and check out as well, so we just wandered up and down the wood-decked pathways for a little while until the other man arrived. The reception guy heard us speaking and came out and there really was nothing to do other than hand over our room key and then go in to breakfast. Obviously this was the early, early shift and the room was totally empty except for one staff member and, even though we’d been deliberately trying to chat loud enough for her to hear us, we still made her jump. It was now 4:30. We’re guessing there’s a daily flight out of Kuantan at 7.30 and that there would be daily, or at least regular, breakfasts at 4.30. Maybe she was new and didn’t expect it.
We sat at a large round table so that ‘the Irish family’ could join us and I only had yogurt. I didn’t feel like anything more. David had toast and then yogurt. The only other choices were cereals or ‘whole fruit’ such as apples or bananas, there was no cut fruit yet – completely understandably! The dad was an Aussie and I think the children were too but I liked the title ‘Irish family’ for them because of the children’s names as well as the mum’s beautiful accent.
Oh I haven’t said. It turned out that they had met each other in Darwin in 1999 so I told them that we were up there in ’99, in August. The reply was “No way! We were there in August as well!” That seemed really incredible given the tiny size of Darwin in those days.
The last thing I did at breakfast was to take ONE travel sickness tablet. It took courage to only take one, but it would also have taken courage to take two! All of us went out the front to the dark forecourt and the small bus was already there. All of the cases and hand luggage were loaded in and David went to check in the back to make sure our cases were there. They were not! Thank goodness he’d gone to look! After the driver and the security guard, who was understandably our only farewell, were just about to panic, word came that the cases were just on their way. I guess it was one of those little electric cars with a trailer approaching – I didn’t hear or see it, but they were quite common around the place. So, now we had everything, we were off into the darkness of the early morning to get to the airport.
Along the way we were amazed to see a massive, open-sided but flat-roofed ‘cantina’. The lights were on and we could clearly see about 50 tables with chairs around them. Considering the tiny size of the village this was quite a surprise, but then I noticed the entrance for a resort nearby. Then there was another cantina, and another. We were both so amazed and wondered where everyone came from to eat at these places, but there did seem to be plenty of resorts so perhaps they fed the tourists. We honestly have no idea.
The drive seemed very long, but this time we could see out the front and we were on a reasonably sized highway, then turned into another and travelled for a distance, and then turned into a third. Signposts pointed to Kuala Lumpur and I think I’d have actually preferred to drive it. However, the tablet had now kicked in and I was really happy to find that I was feeling great. Perhaps because I’d been dosed for movement and we were actually moving. Perhaps because I’d only taken 1 tablet, though the wisdom or otherwise of that was yet to be proved. I wish these things were an exact science so that I could get it all off pat, fully understand it, and thereby avoid the many pitfalls. But this 40 minute flight was my best opportunity to find out if 1 tablet was enough.
After being dropped at the airport we found the staff to all be super cheery. They truly were a pleasure to deal with and there were so many smiles, from and to us. There were 2 waiting rooms, each only big enough for a smallish plane and one of them was shut off, but the wait was pleasant and soon enough we were called to board, which involved walking across the tarmac and climbing the steps into the plane. I much prefer to get on a plane this way rather than the passageway that hides what you’re actually doing and makes the entire trip seem like trickery so that I keep expecting to get off the back of the plane and find myself back home, the way the trip to see Santa in his Grotto used to be in the department store of my youth.
It was a quiet journey, during which I felt perfectly well. And yes, we were served burnt peanuts again! I’ve suffered really badly with travel sickness all my life and I can’t begin to tell you the relief that I felt that I could be fine on the half dose, as long as I take it early enough before getting on the plane. I despise mediations and only take these under sufferance because of how truly awful travel sickness feels. And it’s only twice a year.
Once we got off the plane in KL and walked along the concourse to customs there was one heck of a big queue! The whole time we were walking towards it I was hoping we didn’t have to join it, but we got chatting with a nice lady behind us so the time went quickly.
Then we took the awesome, well-organised little train, and walked for a while before finding our departure gate. It’s always good to know where you’re going before taking scenic tours so we now went back for a cuppa and cake and to take another tablet, as the 4 hours were up already.
The flight home was very, very good and we had chosen the back seats again. For only the second time ever, we came down the WA coast far enough out into the ocean to be able to admire just how beautiful our coast is! White sand beaches that stretch for hundreds of kilometres spread out before us, with the occasional dead straight road heading inland to either mine sites or cattle/sheep stations, or the meandering route of rivers cutting through the red earth. I suppose everyone loves the view of their homeland and, if you don’t, I feel very sorry for what you’re missing.
David looked out at one point and said “That’s got to be Moore River, look, it doesn’t join up with the ocean!” And indeed he was right. There was the broad river mouth with its very recognisable sand bar. And we continued down the coast, now seeing Mindarie Marina, just clearing the little bit of cloud in time to see our own suburb of Kinross, which stands out a mile from the air, Hillarys Marina, then Perth city, the course of the Swan River where it meanders out to the ocean at Fremantle, and we continued south to another Marina that we didn’t know existed but we now believe to be at Coogee.
By this point we were about 30 kms south of the airport and were hoping we were going to turn around soon, but we started to bank left and I looked at David, pointed at the fantastic view out of my window and made ‘camera motions’ with my hands while looking sad. He said “Well do it then!” and he reached down, grabbed my camera case from under the seat and got it out for me. I took several shots and then we stowed it again quickly before we got any lower. When I had a tiny camera I used to take photos during take-off and landing, but the one I have now really should be stowed during those times.
We enjoyed a landing so smooth that we’d have sworn we were still airborne if we hadn’t been looking out of the window! Then we waited for our cases, went through customs, and texted Dan to tell him we were now outside and ready for him to come and collect us. The weather felt decidedly chilly, but at least the sun was shining.
Once we got in the car and chatting to Dan it turns out that if I’d have looked in the right spot as we had almost landed I’d have seen Dan and our car! It seems he’d just pulled up in the aircraft spotting place, got out and aimed his camera at the sky as ‘a jet’ was coming in to land so he took a few shots. Given a slightly longer lens you would absolutely have been able to make out my face in that last window.
One final and, you may think, totally off-topic topic is that I enjoy painting my nails. Not just with plain polish ‘like everyone else’, oh no, no! It’s one of my very favourite artistic outlets to paint tiny art on them. And for this holiday I had seen somewhere a ‘sunset beach’ picture that I chose to duplicate on my nails. So here is what my fingernails looked like for the holiday.
Normally a manicure lasts the 7 days I require of it quite happily, but this one had to last 11 days and the tips of the nails is where the polish starts to wear off first. Without the black ground the scene lost its impact so I took along with me a large black fibre tipped marker and nail polish top coat and ‘topped up’ the black as needed. It amused me each time I did it. Most sane people don’t write on their fingernails with marker pens – but nobody said I was sane anyway 😉
And that’s the end of this holiday; this story. If you’ve looked at the whole thing you’ve viewed 114 photos! Whether we’ll be going anywhere in November when David next has leave is unknown at this stage. We shall see. Thank you for sharing this trip with us and please do write a comment if you feel so moved. I love to read them. They all come to me for spam clearance so they don’t show until I click yes, but I reply to them all within a few days. All email addresses are hidden, please don’t feel at risk. Bye for now!