My first REAL vacation.. ever!
Prelude... Day 1
After the very exhilarating Genting Jazz Fest, I left for home on Sunday morning, as I had a plane to catch to Langkawi. After sending John Thomas back home, I returned home and packed my stuff and Dad sent me to the LCC-T. Met up with Eddie, Bryant, and Oliver (and also Chee Meng who was also on the way back to Bangkok, as he was in KL for the weekend), as the four of us were going for the wedding in Langkawi.
By the way, we're on the way to Langkawi to primarily attend a Japanese friend's wedding, Aya Takahashi. She was one of the group of Japanese girls who are real jazz and music fans, and always used to come to check out our shows in KL. I can say that they're probably one of our biggest fans! At the same time, I thought of making this trip a possible vacation for myself. Since I started working as a musician, I haven't had a vacation and time-off from work for myself... in other words, I haven't had had a vacation for almost 7 years. Guess it's time to have one.
The flight itself was uneventful. Had a good chat with Oliver, whom we also met through the Japanese girls during our shows, and only got to meet once in a blue moon. After touchdown, we were refreshed at the sight of clear blue skies, and clean air in Langkawi island. I was already starting to feel relaxed! We took a cab to our accommodation, Malibest Resort, which was located at Pantai Chenang. Credit to Eddie who chose a real nice spot to stay in for the next couple of days. Along with our resort, Pantai Chenang is a street full of little shops, ranging from eateries and restaurants, to selling beach wear and street clothes. And further down the road was the popular The ZON duty-free shop.
Our accommodation, Malibest Resort, was a resort full of brick-housed chalets along the beach, and they range from deluxe 2-bed rooms (including tree-top chalets for 2) to family-sized chalets for four! For a price we were paying for a family room, it's FRICKIN' cheap! Again, kudos to Eddie for finding such a nice spot. After getting comfortable and settled in our chalet, we headed out to the beach to enjoy the sunset, and to walk around the beach taking some really cool photos. The beach was really beautiful, not as polluted as Port Dickson, with almost-white sand, and the sea just stretched out so nice, with some other nearby islands not too far from where we were.
Once we got hungry we decided to walk around the stretch of road to find a nice restaurant to stuff our faces in. There were a few Chinese seafood restaurants around, and while some catered to foreigners (judging from the price they were charging), there were also smaller, cheaper alternatives. We chose one seafood restaurant from across our resort, where we thought the price was very reasonable. They also catered for vegetarians like myself, and the waitress was also very experienced in making sure that they catered for my vegetarian requirements, as well! Cool. We warmed up easily over some brew, Oliver and Byrant had beers (they were drinking them like fish), whilst me and Eddie attempted to stoke it up over half a bottle of Guinness Stout. From then on, it was unstoppable, uncontrollable laughter from the dynamic horn duo, and pretty much all four of us after that.
After a nice hearty dinner, we walked around a little bit more looking for some convenience store, and we bought some supplies like water, junk food, and of course, liquor. Bought a few cans of beer, and Kampai, so we can dunk them when we head to the beach later at night. Back at the room, we chilled a short while, and decided to go to the beach with horns, and both me and Eddie started jamming while the night progressed. There were three Singaporeans right outside our place, and they were also chilling out, one of them with a cajon, while the other two were playing fire chains like those fire acts in a circus. Without knowing it, two hours passed while we were jamming, and personnel from the desk office came over and told us we'd have to stop by 12 so we won't be bothering other tenants from sleeping. That was that, and after chatting a little bit more, we decided to crash it in, so we could wake up early for the wedding in the morning.
Day 2 - the wedding and the waterfall...
Except for Oliver, we woke up earlier than usual... very unlike us. But the morning was just too nice to go wasted. Walked on the morning beach to enjoy the daylight, and then had some breakfast at a near by breakfast bar. Breakfast was so-so, I could make better scrambled eggs, though. But coffee was ok to start the day with. We decided to rent a Toyata Avanza 1.3 at a tourist station next to where we had breakfast. For RM130 a day, it was a good price to pay for, since there'll be an additional two persons joining us for the next two days.
We drove to Kuah town, taking turns to drive the Avanza... it was a real nice drive, even for a 1.3 automatic shift. We picked up Roger who came by ferry from Penang, and we headed to the Westin Langkawi Spa and Resort, where Aya was getting married. Man, that place oozes luxury holiday in paradise! It's next to the ocean, which is so clean and blue. Anyway, we were one of the last few to arrive, it seems that including us, there are only 16 guests in her wedding!!! OMG... really feel like guests of honor (arigato gozaimasu, Aya!!). Her wedding ceremony took place at a small little boat pier that extends from the beach for about 100-200metres. There was champagne and wedding cake, and also flower petals to sprinkle on them when they finish the ceremony and walk back to the hotel.
The ceremony itself was really simple and sweet, with the couple exchanging vows in English (!). The poor groom was having a little difficulty with some of the English words.. I thought they could've just done it in Japanese or something. LOL. But it was still very sweet to watch. Then it was the cake cutting, and the traditional Japanese toast, "KAMPAI!". Of course, we couldn't finish without the traditional Malaysian Chinese wedding toast! So in order to "educate" the Japanese relatives, we did one round for them with Aya. You'll know what to expect...
Champagne: RM200 a bottle
The look on wedding couple's parents and relatives' face when we made the toast: PRICELESS!!
So to get them in the loop, we did it for the second round, and this time the couple and their parents and relatives joined in loudly as well!
After the toast and speeches, all of us adjourned to the hotel coffee house for lunch, and we had a really nice course dinner. Aya even had vegetarian dishes all special ordered for me too! Thanks again!
After the wedding, and a quick change of clothes (plus a few lewd photos), we headed around town area to look for some beach clothes, and headed off to the Durian Perangin waterfalls, where we climbed up the highest possible spot where the waterfall was. After an hour plus of fooling around in the water, taking photos, splish-splashing around, we cleaned up and headed back to the Westin to pick up Aya's friend and her mom for dinner at Kuah town, and later some duty-free shopping.
Most of us were quite bummed out after a full-day outing. Oliver and his friend crashed out pretty quick. Didn't do much after that night, so most of us crashed pretty early too.
Day 3... running..scooter rides, cable cars, and crappy restaurants!
I woke up early to run (still have to train for the Penang Bridge Run!), and I managed to run about 8k from our resort to halfway towards the airport. That took me about an hour. Before I got back Bryant, Eddie, and Roger headed off to Kuah town for more duty-free shopping, while i freshened up and rendezvous-ed with Oliver for breakfast just across the road from his room, at the Breakfast Station, where they made really much better breakfast.
The rest of the fellas came back after a while, and joined us. When we finished, it was almost noon, and we rented some scooters. Luckily, half of us had motorbike licenses, and so we rented three scooters and piggy-backed, two-to-a-scooter. Before we headed out, me and Eddie took our horns and jammed a bit with Oliver taking some photos of us, while the other three chilled in their rooms. We headed out, after having some lunch at an expensive, not-worth-the-money indian restaurant at our resort, to Telaga Tujuh, where former PM Tun Dr Mahathir opened up his Japanese-style bakery, The Loaf. Before that, we went up the cable car up the Machinchang hilltop. It was pretty interesting, and scary for me.. as the cable car angled up pretty steep somewhere past the halfway point to the first hilltop Station 510 feet above ground. After taking some photos, we proceeded up another 200 feet to the top Station, where there was also a short connecting suspension bridge between two nearby hilltops. Because it was a partially cloudy day, we got to experience clouds blowing at our faces! So that was pretty fun. At the top hillpoint, we chilled out until the clouds cleared, and a beautiful view of the ocean and some nearby islands opened up to us (and getting ourselves REALLY tanned along the way).
We got down after 2 hours plus, had some ice-cream, and rode out to Telaga Tujuh. We checked out The Loaf, and prices were pretty steep. We bought some pastries take-away and we ate them in the restaurant, at the couch just next to the entrance. Guess what? We got chased out, saying that we cannot eat there if we're taking away... EVEN AFTER buying some breads from there! Well.. guess what? I'm not going back there anymore.. period! Who gives a shit if it's the former PM's place. If that's the way you treat customers, well... I wish you no good luck for your crappy business. I'm telling everyone to boycott that place. If you're not into bullshit, up-nosed kinda place, The Loaf is NOT for you.
We proceeded to the nearby Russian restaurant, aptly named U.S.S.R Restaurant, and had our meal there instead! What turned out to be a light meal turned out to be an early dinner for us. Beautiful food.. really good service. Shows how much bad Malaysian businesses really are. Well, "UP YOURS!!!", The Loaf. YOU SUCK!!
After that hearty meal, we rode back to our resort, and took some beautiful sunset pictures along the way. Didn't do much at night, except had some supper a few hours later and crashed.
Day 4...waves... more duty free.. and goodbye!! *sniff*
Woke up slightly later than the previous day, and had breakfast at the same place again. They had really nice food! Oliver sent his friend to the airport, as he had a morning flight back. When he returned, we rode our scooters to the Zon which was at the end of Pantai Chenang road, and we looked around for some more duty free stuff (I got a bottle of Cafe Boheme!! Yippee!). Me, Eddie, and Bryant then rode around to nearby Awana Porto Malai resort.. another nice resort.. and then headed back to return our scooters.
We headed to the beach again this time with full-force and the sun's out, and this time we were really playing around in the waves, under the nice hot sun! We thoroughly enjoyed the beach, letting the big waves hit us and push us around to the shallow parts of the beach! It was so fun, and the waves strong, that even after all of that, the effects of the waves pushing me around stayed for a couple of days! When we sit down, we could still feel that floating feeling from the waves pushing us.
After all that fun, we had lunch at the first Chinese seafood restaurant again, and after sending off Roger, we headed back to the resort, packed and checked out. We hung out at Oliver's room for a couple of hours, jamming at the shaded side of the beach again, until it was time to leave for the airport.
I managed to get home by taking the LCCT bus to KL Sentral, took the Komuter train (decrepit and croweded as always, even the LAST train), and took a cab home by 11.30pm.
This was really a wonderful vacation for me, at least it felt like that to me. I haven't felt this good and refreshed in the previous holidays I've had. Looking forward to the next one.
Pictures coming up soon!