Weekend Getaway

 

I stole my weekend amongst datelines and projects to escape to the beach. Honestly I can’t remember the last time I went to one. Too long. I miss the salty breeze and warm glowing sun. I miss getting sand stuck in between my toes and letting the sun kiss whats left of me.

Destination: Pulau Perhentian
Date: 7-9th of April 2017

I was actually planning to go to Perhentian but it kind of exceeded our budget – probably because of the resort I chose. I mean I want to live like the queen for once, you know. Opportunity showed up, plastered on the screen of the noticeboard near to the cafe in my school. What interested me the most was the offer it presented. Basically, what we’re trying to achieve accumulated only 1/3 of the amount we were supposed to lay out. Well, obviously it wasn’t a resort per se but it’ll do. I was desperate.

I showed the poster to Hidayah and circumstances wouldn’t allow her but she joined me at the last minute, which was great because it was our plan initially(or was it mine). I wouldn’t mind going on my own with a group of strangers though! You can make friends anywhere you go. Golden tip.

Paid the rest of the balance and we gathered on Thursday night at the grand staircase, then off we went! It was the most longest, tiring, uncomfortable bus ride ever. 9 freaking hours, bumpy and freezing my ass off. We reached the morning of the next day and had our breakfast at the most expensive and tackiest local food place. I see you, snake, trynna suck the moolahs of these tourists. Me included, sigh.

Day 1.
We waited at the jetty and took a boat ride for an hour to our residing area, Kampung Nelayan (Fishermen Village). We checked in to our 5-star resort, the Sealife Inn Hostel. A large room with 5 king beds, a single toilet and a shower. Wowwee. It’s alright though, we had amazing roomies. We changed to begin the adventure with trekking around the Island. I thought it was simple because they made brick pathways throughout but after about 1/2 an hour, it proved to be a bit more challenging. The pathways were destroyed by the overgrowth of land and roots and also destroyed by the flowing river. And not to forget the extremely steep paths that seemed to never end. I swear halfway my legs were about to fail on me. Our journey was interrupted by the sudden downpour and we took shelter near a construction site. I noticed we were already among resorts so we had to take a detour and head onto Long Beach – downwards. Once we were there we couldn’t resist and jumped in the water! The current was strong though. Waves pounded on us and for a few times we lost our balance. What a way to greet us!

After we dried up a bit, we pressed on further for a hike to where the wind turbines were. Rocky and slippery, we made it after 45 minutes of climbing. The view is ah-may-zing. It was worth it. The climb, the slip, the sweat and non-existent tears. Everything else was forgotten. Except that moment. Took a mental picture in my head since my GoPro was acting up and we returned back to the beach. Oh yeah the place was crowded which was why we didn’t stay up there for long.

Hidayah was sweet to accompany me there till night time and we had barbecued fish and homemade pizza. We also watched the lit af fire show (no pun intended). We spent the rest of the night sitting on the sand and watch the waves crash on the shore, underneath the splatter of stars. When it was time to go, we hired a water taxi and had the most frightening journey of our lives. A bit of an exaggeration but hear me out. In the dark, with the aid of light strapped on the boatman’s forehead, possibly maxed out speed, no roof on our heads and no place to support ourselves. Not forgetting to mention the open sea. We couldn’t even speak due to the strong gushing wind and the excessive skips on the surface of the sea. We can only cry faintly and express pain cause it rocked violently.

When we got back to the hostel and I took my own sweet time to shower. I was the last one. Got all my toiletries and towel, hung it up and opened the valve. Guess what? Not a single drop of water. Then I remembered I refilled my water bottle so I had only that much to clean off the sand from my body. Horrifying.

Day 2.
Honestly, let me fill this one up in the future. (This has been too long overdued.)

Post-Perth Blues

KUL-PER, 15th Oct
PER-KUL, 17th Oct

Why have I decided to blog about this now? Because I miss the trip dearly, and I realised I haven’t written in soo long. So forgive me for that because I have moods for everything and for today, its writing.

So I essentially stole a few days of my schedule from school, and joined my two high school mates to their trip to Perth. In total they went for 7 days, while I, 3. Yes, I know you’re wondering – whose stupid enough to go for only 3 days? why are you wasting money? are you just crazy?

Honestly, (1) I didn’t mind, and (2) I just wanted to escape for a bit, and (3) I can’t possibly skip the whole week of school, and I have my dear friends there who has contacts there. It’s kind of an impromptu trip and I didn’t plan for one single thing. And one of the crucial things about this is that my mum agreed to this – which never happens. Love you, muma.

Here’s to many firsts during this short trip!

While the rest took their flight from Singapore, I flew from Kuala Lumpur, because why not. And it’s way cheaper! This was my first solo plane trip so I was pretty psyched and nervous about it. Let me tell you a short example of how daft I can be. While I was checking in for my flight, they asked whether I’ve applied for my VISA. shit. I didn’t know I had to apply for it to go to Perth. So I said no, and I asked them what should I do. Mind you, it was a few minutes to gate opening. The woman said not to worry, it takes a few minutes to apply online. Wallah I was so relieved to hear that. I think I heard my heart crashed a while ago. I quickly applied my VISA and paid AUD20 with my Mastercard, got my ass on the plane, buckled and ready to leave Malaysia. Risky business, tsk tsk. (Solo flight to a foreign country, check)

My arrival in Perth was a few hours earlier from them so Sof’s mum will be picking me up. She and her family migrated while she was still a young lass and they stayed there ever since.

I walked around the airport and got myself coconut water (my ultimate favourite drink, do take note) and was already greeted by a polite young man. It was nice, and it was new to me as that wasn’t the culture of Singapore, not even KL.

One of the reasons that made me fall in love with Perth was the warm, welcoming and friendly citizens.

As soon as the sliding doors slid open when I was about to exit, a gush of chill wind flew in and shook me to the core. I quickly checked the weather report and it said 14 – fourteen -degrees celsius! I had never experience that kind of cold air and I was pretty shocked because weeks back I remembered checking the forecast and it said during the dates of my travel that it would be 32 degrees. Clearly I didn’t prepare for this kind of situation (clearly I didn’t prepare at all). I waited by the pick-up point and I was rubbing my hands to keep myself warm. The wind had a different agenda for me apparently.

20 mins away from the airport, I reached Riverton, where they were residing. The whole neighbourhood was beautiful and quaint, very cozy. They had a lavender and rosemary bush right outside their porch. I settled down and explored the house a bit. Just like how I pictured my retirement home – by the river, garden of my own, an adequate cooking area and an extremely cozy living room. So a fact about me, I am not a fan of mutton. I can however eat it when it’s heavily marinated, when the gamy smell has gone. Sof’s mum offered me but I was hesitant. I gave in anyway, curious about Australian lamb if there’s any difference at all. Straight outta the freezer and into the hot pan. Threw in a bit of spices, sizzled a few minutes on each side and onto my plate with a dash of himalayan salt and a side of cooked asparagus drizzled in olive oil. Lord, this got me salivating as I’m typing this. To my surprise, there was only a faint gamy smell and it didn’t bother me at all! My nose and tastebuds were very very pleased.

Night came and Sof’s mum drove me to Freemantle straight where we’ll meet the rest of the girls after Sof picked them up. What’s coming to Australia without having their fish and chips (Checking that off my list)! Friends of the family came over as well and they were young women of different ethnicity and all of them settled down here since young as well. Beautiful girls, beautiful hearts. We had a night of laughter and goofing around, accompanied by seafood and desserts, and a couple of delicious hot cocoa. Twas a great first night!

Come next day we had to wake up really early to prepare for our trip to Rockingham. The only reason I went to Perth. To swim with wild dolphins! Finally, a time I can be a true mermaid. We waited at the end of the dock, with a group of people who signed up or the trip. Had our pleasantries and off we go in the small yacht. Settled the remaining payments and got into our wet suits. All the time I was excited and scared – for the experience and for the *cold* water. “Look, there they are!”, shouted someone. We rushed to look at the direction he was pointing and there we saw it, fins poking out of the sea. I felt a rush of excitement and thrill. I was so ready to jump in the water to meet them. We took turns to be in the water so that everyone had a chance.

The moment I stepped into the slightly clouded water, I felt the cold blanketing around me and I tried my best to calm my nerves. After a few deep breaths, I placed my head in the water and my vision was fixed onto a moving grey body, gracefully twirled and darted in every direction. There were 3 of them, within reach. Not only did I get the experience of swimming among them, I got to hear the sounds they make underwater. The squeaks and clicks of echolocation and communication. Subhanallah, for a moment I forgot about my worries, I forgot about school, I forgot about the cold surrounding me. For a moment I felt alive and free, I felt a newer sense of appreciation for everything. (Swim with dolphins, check)

I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to be under, I wanted to live among these wild and beautiful creatures.

We went for a series of three times and I felt that was enough for me. The cold was getting to me and I couldn’t handle it anymore. Heck, I was shivering! To give a bit of warmth I poured hot water down my suit. It didn’t help much but either that or nothing. We spent about 3 hours at sea in total and we were back on land. Despite the cold, we had to have ice-cream after that. It was yummy and for a good deal! The scoops were huge and we were satisfied. Went home after to drop our things and we followed the mother to hike and fish. Ah, this was when I realised I had struck myself out. I left my outerwear. Oops I did it again.

Come nightfall, I was already shivering and on the floor on the jetty. I wrapped myself using the mat and I couldn’t even hold a rod to fish the first time. The wind was mighty strong and I was trying hard to regulate my breathing. Amidst the cold winds and floating seagulls and delicious cookies, I witnessed the supermoon (October 16th), it was massive, bright and beautiful. I saw it creep out slowly from the bottom – you can actually see it rising. I couldn’t help but to praise God, for arranging the world in such beautiful manner, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. (Watch the supermoon in another country, check. Night fishing, check)

La Lune – it glows and lights up the darkness, it gives a new perspective to the world, a softer feature, a whole other mystery.

We ended the night with pizza and went all around town. The nightlife at the time was not busy. Probably of the cold and I guess people would rather cozy up in their houses and warm their feet. I wish I could too but that’s the beauty of life. You can’t experience everything with the small amount of time you have and you just gotta find what’s worth doing. If that means being out in the freezing cold night to be around amazing people, then so be it.

The final day, for me. Sof brought us all shopping around town because I had a list and I just can’t go home without gifts for my fam. I got a little carried away in the malls because (1) the items are so friggin cheap – especially the snacks, and (2) they have all the things I want for my home – utensils, decor, household items etc., and (3) they have self-checkout counters which accepts cash! I mean Singapore needs that. The whole world needs that. It would make our lives so much easier. I got muma a Pandora essence bracelet and a small charm which signifies wisdom and my cousin whose getting married, a small April charm, a birth month we share. Oh, and because of Sof, I became a believer. I’m addicted to Lush products now! I bought a bunch of things and they’re mighty cheap over there and I can’t help but feel like a garden fairy after using the products. Already thinking of getting my Aussie cousin whose coming down next month to buy me more products. Tempting.

After all that shopping and packing, they got their things to go for a camping road trip after sending me off to the airport. So jealous, but another time maybe for me, hehe. I reached the airport and straight to check-in. There I met a cute counter guy and yes my hand carry exceeded the weight limit. And I had to pay AUD50. Great. But anywho, after I passed security and got myself a bag of chips and water, I proceeded to the gate. Guess who was there to greet me – the cutie! I handed my passport and he said, “Hey, we meet again! I hope you enjoy your flight”. Can I bring you back home? Just get on the plane with me already.

I reached KLIA about 10.30pm after a few hours of chatting with a relatively old Australian man during the trip. He shared many life experiences and advices I could use. He was wise and positive-minded. I didn’t even catch his name, but I’ll always remember him. Upon arrival, I said my dues, wished him the best in life and we parted ways. Alerted my transported and I waited for my ride.

Back to reality.

Although the trip was short, it was amazing and memorable. It gave me life lessons and gave me a whole new experience. The ups and downs tied this whole trip together and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I might have missed out a few stories or events here and there, but I guess it’s for me then. Looking forward to my next trip there, but this time, maybe a little longer. Maybe with my family, insyallah.

P.s Phew that was a lengthy post. I hope I don’t bore you to death.