Our next stop in Malaysia was Cherating where we had already arranged to meet up with Steve and Shelly, our neighbours from Melaka and Tioman Island. The place was billed as a bit of a surfer hangout and local tourist destination. The guesthouse we found was cheap but probably the worst accommodation we had stayed in so far. The first night we arrived late and although our accommodation was one of the furthest away from the only party bar, we could still hear the music pumping throughout most of the night. Not wanting to feel old we even paid it a visit and the place was practically empty which made the whole thing more infuriating! The next day we had a look at the beach which was large but pretty plain by comparison to some we had seen, the tides were also massive which made it difficult to swim and leave belongings somewhere where they would be safe. There had also been tidal current warnings following the Japanese Tsunami so we opted against swimming. The beach did have a good bar which also happened to serve cocktails that could have taken the paint off a NASA space shuttle so of course we opted for a couple of these over the stubby overpriced beers when we met up with Steve and Shelly that night. There were also a couple of resident dogs in the bar which we gave lots of cuddles too and gave us warm greetings from that point onwards.
A personal highlight was a laid back Rastafarian café/restaurant which we visited for breakfast with sore heads the next day. It was really well decorated but the place appeared to be run by children! We were waited on by a young boy and girl and there was also a three year old girl with a pet monkey tied to some string that between them were determined to relieve Kate of her scrambled eggs on toast. First up was the monkey, who realising that the plate was in range made a mad dash and made off with a monkey sized handful of butter from the side of the plate before Kate could get it out the way. The young girl then grabbed a slice of toast off the plate in what we thought was an amazing display of customer service for a three year old, but when she started eating it breakfast looked like it was taking a turn for the worst. She had an older sister who found the whole thing very funny (which I admit I somewhat did too as it wasn’t my breakfast!) and even when we moved tables they both followed us, Kate reluctantly feeding the young girl bits of eggs on toast up until the limits of rationality dictated that she should definitely not be fed any more of a purchased meal in her own restaurant only for her to have a bit of a strop. She was definitely a little princess and this was a great example of what they call ‘helicoptor parenting’ as it turned out that mum was in the kitchen whilst this was going on! Kate made amends with the monkey and we went back again, albeit with our guard up against small food poaching primates!
|The hungry food thieves|
|Moving didn't help|
The rest of the time in Cherating was spent updating the blog (internet was horrendously slow and expensive in Tioman) and making casual wanders to decide where to eat although we did have a nice day on the beach where I managed to get burned in the shade! Whilst this is a long way from hell we both prefer something with a bit more character. It seemed as though it was well geared for tourists with lots of souvenir shops but not much substance. We also couldn’t wait to get out of our hut, as the ground below turned into a bit of a swamp when it rained and was the home to crabs which scuttled around when they thought you weren’t looking. There were also more than our fair share of mosquitoes and on a couple of the nights there was at least one rat climbing between the walls. He was crunching away at the ply board and we could see his little nose poking through gaps in the wall until I gave it a good whack which seemed to get the message across. This along with the noise from the ill-attended party bar resulted in us not being too sad to say goodbye and test our capacity for adventure by heading towards the Taman Negara which is a National Park and the oldest rainforest in the world which we planned to trek into and spend the night!