Perhentian Islands: Beach, sea and bloody big lizards.

Holy bloody yes. ”This beach ain’t got nothing on Blackpool.”  

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My newly adopted ‘dysfunctional’ family had departed KL and dispersed around the globe. I had applied for a Chinese visa and had to wait for it to be issued. Instead of waiting in KL, which was slowly killing me through a variety of good food, alcohol and late nights, I decided to join the final member of the dysfunctional family, The Jelly, on a trip up to the Perhentian Islands. Paradise beckoned.

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The trip there was a simple one. A long but comfortable bus ride up north to Jerteh, a taxi to the harbour and a boat trip out to the islands. We stayed on Cecil Island. This place had two beaches, one quieter than the other. However, compared to Koh Phangan, this place was almost dead. We decided to stay on Coral Bay and chose a chalet on top of the hill overlooking the beach. Paradise engaged, a few days of detoxing was on the cards.  

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The next few days involved a lot of lying about on sun loungers, drinking cold drinks, eating amazing food and drinking the night away. The pace of life here was slow. The heat was perfect. The beach was ideal. The water was crystal clear. The service was impeccable and the backpacker contingent were of a high and stable standard. We bumped into Joe and Joey from Future Music Festival at Monkeys, the only live music venue on the beach. We got to know a man called Aris. An Indian dude with a chronic head wiggle and extremely disturbing views on life and humanity. We also befriended some ex-pats who were cashing in on jobs in Singapore.

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Life was way too easy. The hours just drifted past. My walking pace never went faster than stroll speed. The sunsets were pretty damn good here, helped down by some seriously tasty BBQ and cold beer. Snorkeling and scuba diving was on offer but I didn’t have the energy, it was difficult enough lifting up my book to read.  

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After two days of complete relaxing a jungle trek was in order. We’d seen a couple of large monitor lizards walking around the place. They are harmless and don’t bother humans unless you invade their space. However, on a walk through the jungle, over the hill and down to a small beach, we passed an 8ft long monitor lizard. Never have I crapped myself so hard. It was pissed off too. It was next to the path, groaning and slapping its massive tail against the plants, about 1-2 meters away from us. We had to get past. We had no other option than to squeeze past. As we got closer, his breathing got louder and the tail whipped the trees harder. At this point I legged it past, hoping for the best. This monitor would have broke me in two. His tail was thicker than my body, a true beast.

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After our brief encounter with our little friend, we managed to get some stunning views from the view point and somehow ended up on a small beach before getting a boat ride back.

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I could have lazed about on this beach for longer but China was calling. After six months plus on the road and my savings account looking shamefully low, I needed to get some more cash-cash-money before I travel any further. Laura, my American ‘friend’, is located and working in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. She helped me gain the correct paperwork for my visa. She assured me that jobs are plentiful, the money is good and living expenses are minimal. China intrigues me. So does Laura. First stop is Beijing. Next stop Chengdu, the home of the panda.     

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