Thursday, August 27, 2015

Visiting Sibu Island

Aseania Resort is one of the resorts owned by the larger group Sari Pacifica which has several resorts sprinkled over the Malaysian Islands and the nearest one is on Sibu Island which you could almost see from the beaches of Besar Island. Unlike Aseania which has seen almost no turnover in manager or staff in 7 years there has been more turnover on Sari Pacifica Sibu over the year's so occasionally Jasbeer will be called to Sibu to help out so when he made his most recent 2 day trip there I was lucky enough to go along and continue my island hopping. We took a boat directly there that was nearly an hour ride on water so choppy that the waves splashing up were sometimes as high as the roof of the boat. So of course I was loving it and standing in the back at the open air part enjoying the waves and not caring that I was becoming covered with seawater. The only tricky thing was trying to drink my can of tiger without adding beer spills to the seawater stains now covering me.
Over the last few weeks I've been spoiled at Aseania so I couldn't help but make comparisons (i.e. the staff at Sibu are nice but can't match the incredible warmth of the always smiling staff at Aseania, or how the rooms are nice beautiful rooms but I prefer the wooden charm of the ones on Pulao Besar). Comparisons aside Sari Pacifica Sibu is a huge resort on a beautiful island that has a giant pool, great beaches and on a clear day you have a stunning view of the nearby Tinggi Island, now if only the didn't illuminate the many fountains with garish multicoloured almost Christmas-ey lights at night then the view would be even better! It was weird being there as a guest meaning I didn't have any hours at the snorkel rental shack or have anything to do but relax. How many luxury resorts can I stay at before I lose my budget backpacker status? Hopefully the fact I'm averaging $5/day in Malaysia lets me keep that status!
On our first day Jasbeer decided to take a boat around the island to visit a friend of his who runs a nearby resort and of course I was more than ready to see more of the island. We took the boat from the jetty on the other side of the island this time where I got to see the terrible government planning in action. The government built this giant jetty that cost millions of dollars on a part of the island where about 20 locals live (who never use the jetty) however there are no connecting paths from the jetty to the three Sibu resorts so each had to build their own jetty as the million dollar one goes to waste. We reached Rimba Resort that was fairly close and it was such a different environment from Sari Pacifica. It was much smaller with charming wooden huts crowding around the beach and the vibe was much more island resort than luxury resort - plus they seemed to have tons of expat volunteer/staff there. It was hard not to fall in love with the place and even harder harder to not love after 4 gin and tonics with Jasbeer and his friend while watching the sunset. The rest of the stay was much less eventful, I'd relax and read or swim while the boss did work things and in the evening we drank scotch so old it would be legally old enough to drink itself if it were back in Canada.
After the short stay we took a boat to some small jetty place south of Mersing with nothing there except a giant KFC and then at Mersing we parted ways as I returned to Aseania with a bag full of Chinese dumplings from Jasbeers favourite Chinese dumpling place. That night instead of going to the restaurant for dinner I pigged out on them instead - big mistake,the next day EVERY staff member kept asking why I missed dinner and if I was okay and why I wasn't at dinner. As every staff here is Muslim I don't think they would have appreciated me eating my very not halal pork dumplings around them.
Things I've done: been mistaken as an owner about a dozen times, mistaken as a travel writer twice and as an Australian five times (that part I really don't understand).
Lesson learned: Try and learn what someone does for a living within seconds of meeting them. By doing this you will avoid talking with a guest about how useless and biased guidebooks have become, then a week later opening an ebook guidebook for the first time and seeing that the author has the same name, nationality, and appearance as that one person. 90% sure it was the author. OOPS!

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