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Friday, August 14, 2009

Kami kembali ke Singapura

After having two days of fun, we finally arrived on the third day of our trip. We had bookings for the 4.30 PM bus from Mersing to Singapore. However, we had tickets for only the 2.30 PM ferry to Mersing. Our experience was that they are pretty late. So, we wanted to head out early. Ahmad suggested we try our luck with the 12.30 shuttle. So, we had time till then to kill. We decided to head out to the nearby waterfalls, as suggested by Ahmad. This trek was quite fun, with different scenes to absorb compared to previous 2 days. On the way to the waterfall, we saw a Monitor lizard from above.

A few minutes trek took us to a small spot where a little water was getting collected. Being Indians and used to large waterfalls, we decided to trek further to see if we can reach the source. Doing about 15 mins of it was leading us to nowhere and we decided to track our way back. We got into the point where the rock fall was and then returned back.

With that little adventure behind us, we managed to get into the 12.30 ferry, which arrived an hour late and dropped us at 3.30 at Mersing. We had enough time to get ourselves a table in the nearby cafe. On my own, I decided to explore a bit of Mersing and head to the Chinese and Subramaniar Temples in Mersing.

After that, I returned to find myself an extremely tasty banana split for only RM7.

Not just that, these folks had already managed to grab a well made tasty vegetarian Pizza at that place. Apart from serving good food, they also have rock on boards.
Mersing truly rocks.

The bus operator, though issued a ticket to Singapore, made us change buses at Johor Bahru into the local bus connecting JB to Singapore. This was quite inconvenient as the local buses are far crowded. Once we cleared emigration at Malaysia end, we had one more super long queue for the Singapore bound bus to contend with. Once we navigated ourselves out of it, the rest of the trip was most uneventful. We ended up at Queen street by 9.30 PM having to go to office the next morning. We decided to grab a good meal at nearby Komala Vilas before hailing a cab back home.

The journey was quite good and Me and Nidhi greatly enjoyed the company of Hyacie and Rajiv. If you two are reading this, thanks for making the trip memorable for us. I would also like to thank Ahmad, the resort manager, for providing us with the deal fairly late in the game, when everything else was booked, and providing us with a good experience when we were there, including all the vegetarian food.

All our photos here are on flickr.

ps: "Kami kembali ke Singapura " in Malay means "We returned to Singapore" in English, just in case you were wondering about the title.

Kami pergi ke Pulau Tioman Day 2

Note: This is about day 2 of the trip. Read out Day one.

Up early on the second morning, all excited about getting into the water and doing some snorkeling, we were looking forward for the day. An early cup of Teh got us going.

Tioman island, apart from having clean beaches, also has some very lush green vegetation. Its a good idea to head out for an early morning walk and snap a few photographs.

Ahmad, our resort agent, took care of organizing a snorkeling trip for us as part of our deal. He organized for somebody to pick us up from the resort with the gear and the works. He even arranged for packed lunches. Of course, we had to pay for renting out the snorkeling gear, since that wasn't part of the deal.

The snorkeling guy took us near an island, and gave us one full hour for snorkeling. This was deep water. Here, a little problem presented itself to me. I did not know how to swim and did not initially want to try it, but given everybody's encouragement and the fact that life jacket was on, I decided to jump.

I was warned that I would feel a sense of panic in the sea, not knowing how to swim. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. I panicked, searched for the nearest thing to hold on to, which was the side of the boat. Once I held it, the legs, which were unsupported, starting looking something to anchor on.

All it could find was the side of boat, which was really a very bad idea. All I ended up doing was bruising myself at the side of the boat. So, my legs from knee down was badly bruised with scratches from the side of the boat. I somehow managed to get back into the boat. With so much blood oozing out, I was pretty disappointed.

Somehow, in all this, I did not want to spoil the party from Rajiv and Hyacie, whom I indicated to carry on. They did have quite a nice time snorkeling there. In the meanwhile, me and Nidhi (who never even bothered to get a snorkeling gear) decided to feed the fishes and watch them. It was quite a fun thing to do.

Once the designated hour was up, he took us to Marine Park, which was a far better place to snorkel, even for novices like me, since it was shallow water and you can launch yourself from the beach. I got back into the water (with the bruises still intact :-) and spent some time doing snorkeling. I have to say that the experience was quite worth it. It is amazing to have a peek into the marine life with all the dynamics there.

In hindsight, if the guy had first brought us to shallow water, allowed people like me to gain a little confidence and then taken us to deep water, I would have probably managed much better. But, hey, life ain't fair!

I did this till our time was up, after which our boat guy took us back to the resort. I wanted to do a little more snorkeling which I was hoping to do in the beach next to the resort, since it was shallow. Unfortunately, we had low tide and hence there wasn't enough depth to put your face into the water.

So, effectively, my experience was about as much as I could extract at Marine Park. Nevertheless, it was quite fun to try this out. At the end of the day, there was lot more Rummy before we headed to bed. We had a few hours to spare the next morning and we planned to do some trekking. Will write about it in the final article for this trip.

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