Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lonely in Paradise?

Written July 18th (bad wifi)
I have come to the conclusion that everyone on the island belongs to one of two clubs: The couples and The divers. You of course can be a member of both but a member of neither and you begin to feel like somewhat of a pariah. You also get sick of the following two questions which are "wait, so you're here alone?" and/or "so what are you doing on this Island if you're not diving". As a serial monogamist I've been in a relationship since I was 15 so having lost my membership to The Couples is even more difficult to handle here. I mentioned this to my sister and she reminded me of Eat Pray Love, a bizarre coincidence since I went to the book exchange the other day and the only english book was the sequel.

I think the loneliness of travel didn't hit my first few weeks because I was constantly doing stuff or surrounded by people interested in hanging out,regardless of diver or couple status so I've spent the last few days trying to organize my next voluntheer spot and finally a breakthrough. I have a tentative start date! In contrast to the oh so lonely day the next day started with meeting the 2 french girls in the chalet across from me and having free food. It was the second day of the post Ramadan celebration and all the places had opened up their homes and we're encouraging everyone who walked by to come up and have free food. It was like bar hopping but food style. Damn good food too. Together with a few others we spent the day swimming, hammock lounging, and eating far too much, especially at our chalets the South Pacific Chalets where the wonderful owner Tony would convince us to have another round of food each time we passed. I briefly considered asking if whoever cooked the curry was single.

I thought I would feel my most dirty backpacker moments in metropolitan Singapore but instead it was on Tioman Island surrounded by all the Muslim peple dressed in beautiful colourful fabrics with every girl looking like princesses as we sat in jean shorts that were still wet from our bathing suits - Usually the same suit that had been worn days before too. Another bizarre thing we noticed was every child that arrived at a new location would be given 1 ringit. Why did I spend all those years settling for candy on Halloween when kids over here are getting money? The evening I went to the newly opened jetty bar and we listened to live music over tiger beer. Amazing how no matter what country I'm in the live music is always north American songs I recognize and can sing along with.

Things I've done: island hopping in Malaysia, celebrated hari raya(end of ramadan) with lots  of free food, saw dragons as big as crocodiles, saw giant bats as big as cats, snorkeling in Tioman Islands,

Things I've learned: Muslim formal wear is absolutely gorgeous. Even more so when you look at your dirty backpacker self in comparison

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