Thursday, May 23, 2013

Island tale

We had a partly lovely time on Pulau Perhentian Kecil. I went snorkelling and swam in the sea for the first time in ages and magnificently failed to learn from my past experience of this exact island at the same time of the year as the parts of me that are still vampire-white and normally covered by clothes got painfully sunburned.

Thanks to our tiny, reclusive resort, we also got to enjoy/endure trekking across half the island or braving a bumpy water taxi any time we wanted to go anywhere and Jackie got to experience the on/off Wi-Fi annoyance that's plagued me for two years and might have led to a deeper mutual understanding. Now I just have to take her to Cambodia or Vietnam to experience the hassle of taxi drivers and street sellers and she'll never complain about my stress outbursts again.

I could present scattered photos of fond memories tarnished by sarcastic commentary, but instead I'll take the risk of posting a short story vaguely inspired by our tranquil island week, written in pain as I avoided sun, sea and surfaces while waves lapped outside our window, flying foxes tried to scavenge our biscuits and fluorescent fish flitted beneath the brilliant blue. It's a bit bleak.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Highlander IV: Not a Flower

After spending time in Baguio and Sagada recently, I was happy for another chance to enjoy cool air and pine fragrances when our route east from Kuala Lumpur to the Perhentian Islands was rudely interrupted by the Cameron Highlands.

This was one of my favourite stops in Malaysia the first time, and judging by the disproportionate number of Europeans hanging around here, I can only presume my blogs were successful in boosting its tourism profile. Coming back meant I was able to tick off the final outstanding item on the region's conveyor belt package tour itineraries by trekking deep into the forest to find the world's biggest flower that isn't even a flower and isn't the biggest of these even if it was, which it isn't.

Still, nice walk.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pre-lance Planne(u)r

In Fife, in another life

I started this blog in September 2010 as a self-indulgent travel journal, a means to let anyone who cared know what I was getting up to, so I didn't feel obligated to join a social network or something, and as a way to keep myself sane during the more emotionally confusing and stressful times. It's succeeded admirably.

Before this blog, my only means of expressing these feelings, whims and frustrations was in the form of Word documents written for my own benefit and saved to my hard drive. There's also the angst-ridden emails to the few people I feel comfortable talking about deeper feelings with, whether they want to hear it or not. This practice is still alive and well, but as a ruthless minimalist I occasionally go through my old emails and annihilate any that I feel don't serve a practical function, so all that girl trouble is hopefully lost forever (unless Oliver still has a load of incriminating stuff from me).

So, for the sake of historical context, here are extracts from some of those documents written in the months leading up to September 2010, offering an insight into my changing mindset, the reasons I left Scotland and my original travel 'plans,' back when I clearly had no idea what travelling involved. I just read it through and it's probably the most pointless and boring post I've ever done, but as an origin story it's at least better than those Star Wars prequels.