Monday, August 10, 2015

Selfies on Pulau Besar

I feel I've settled in well here at Aseania and I find myself having grown comfortable here and wanting to stay a full month or more. There are some slow days and then other days where it feels like I'm constantly doing stuff. John, the main guy who handles the snorkel shack/beach bar has been great to hang out with and on his day off he asked me if I wanted to go jungle trekking, a question met immediately with a hell yes. There's a path that goes through the jungle from the resort side of the island to the deserted side. The trek was pretty fun and since I'm becoming gym deprived I was thrilled with the 80 degree angles of the path and we were rewarded with a remote, somewhat rocky, beach. Because I'm apparently a sadist my favourite part was that the mosquitos swarmed poor John and left me alone. After days and days of sitting at the snorkel shack with the sandflies swarming me and ignoring him, it felt like it was finally his turn. It was also a good experience because since then I've been able to give a bunch of guests information. On jungle trekking and I'll usually look then up and down and if they're fit I'll say it's about 30-35 min, if they are older or less fit I now say an hour.

Spend my days "working" here
Some days here feel pretty slow and then other days might feel pretty jam packed and the jungle trekking day was one of them. In the afternoon  I was at the beach bar that was deserted and Eewyn shows up out of nowhere hurriedly telling me to close the place 'now NOW! ' and to meet her at the jetty asap. Since there was almost no guests that day a group of the staff and myself went out on the boat for an impromptu sunset island hopping tour. We stopped at a few places and Eewyn and Ieka would take selfies (and even tried giving me a selfie lesson), the guys would fish, and John and I would go snorkeling. On the way back I saw my first Malaysian sunset. Every day so far the horizon had a line of clouds blocking the sunset but that day out on the water we had an incredible sunset with the sun having turned into this giant pink ball of fire. As we neared Pulau Besar the driver of the boat decided to have some fun since there were no tourists on board and ended up doing circles so fast the boat was tilting sideways and us on board were shrieking with laughter while holding on as tight as possible . That jam packed day ended up with Eewyn, Ieka, Ucciel, and Farhan fishing out in the jetty, hanging out, and some ukulele music made an appearance. Thankfully the few times they had me throw a line out I caught nothing. The squid were probably scared away by the sound of the girls screaming - never seen such severe reactions to a cat brushing up against them.

Island hopping with the crew

Since I arrived here I've seen some pretty cool things, the night on the jetty we saw a giant turtle nearly 2m long and John had also told me that large dugongs lived in the area. He tried to draw me a picture but I still had no clue what it was. Then a few days later I was hanging out with some guests on the beach bar when someone shouted "dugong!" And sure enough there was a giant manatee about 2 feet away from the shoreline. Another fascinating thing has been watching the delivery of diesel. While fuel deliveries might not sound too exciting it's pretty fascinating here. The barrels are too heavy to carry off the boat and up the stairs so the boat pulls up, pitches a couples dozen barrels in the sea, then a bunch of staff plunge into the water and swim up to the barrels and push then to shore and roll then up the beach. It's quite the operation and it's hilarious seeing one guy jokingly belly flop onto a barrel and the two guys near him deciding to pile on top of him.

It seems a large number of our current guests are Chinese and I've come to the conclusion that I'd like to be a middle aged Chinese man.  While the younger Chinese crowds spend endless hours taking selfies,the middle aged Chinese men are having fun tossing back beers and glass after glass of whiskey and in the case of the recent guests who were friends of Jasbeers they might be found drinking and sharing their whiskey with Canadian volunteers. I'd take that lifestyle over selfies any day. I've had to restrain myself from having selfie interventions with some guests, the worst case hands down was the newlywed couple dressed up in full wedding attire with TWO professional photographers and even with 2 professionals at their beck and call, out comes the selfie stick. I might have tried to intervene at that point had I not been on the floor hiding behind the counter laughing my ass off. By the end of this trip I will know all about Asian selfie habits.

Beautiful chalets at Aseania (yes I'm staying in one!)

What I've learned: I've learned I will never have a career as a server. I finally figured out the reason I can't carry trays to save my life is that I have a bizarrely bouncy walk.

Things I've done: jungle trekking to the other side of the Island, island hopping, snorkeling, learned how to make Kopi tarik, fell in love with the drink milo (though I still can't figure out what it is...), seen giant sea turtles and manatees, finally starting mixing drinks behind the bar too.

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