Life has not been very good lately, but I have learned that it is better to snatch opportunities to live, rather than just survive from day to day.
Of course, my idea of living tends to be intimately connected with good food and travel, so last weekend I did a bit of both. A sort of compromise: lots of good food (and I mean LOTS), and a day trip on the road.
A road trip in Malaysia (Click for the slideshow of trip pictures and scroll on the pics for titles)
My hubby and I set off with two very good friends (who are themselves a couple) from Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning and headed out towards Lumut, which is a nice 3.5 hour drive. From there we planned to take the ferry to Pulau Pangkor, the island nearest to the mainland.
Our friends hadn’t had breakfast, and I am always hungry, especially when it comes to good food…so we decided to make a pit-stop by the river at Kuala Selangor. Some spicy veggies and delicious steamed fish later(the fish was fresh-caught, and though a fish steamed in spicy soup does not sound so good at first, you have to try some to believe how good it can be), we took our time lazing around in the breeze, watching mud-flippers flop to the water’s edge, and generally contemplating life on a full stomach. 1.5 hours later, we got back on the road, our tummies happily digesting all that spread. Very healthy all of it was too, I might add.
The view of quaint Malaysian kampung(village) houses and palm groves kept us entertained, as did the bagful of Japanese snacks we’d brought along. It began to pour, just like it always pours in Malaysia, and if you have read “Rain” by Somerset Maugham you will know the sort of downpour I mean.
We made it to Lumut by almost 4.30 in the afternoon, and mercifully it was a rain-free 40 minute ferry ride to Pangkor. I love boat rides of any sort, and this was a treat with green and blue as far as the eyes could see. We also passed the Naval base, and saw some menacing-looking warships. We stopped at a crowded fishing village, which was a riot of color with boats and houses clinging to each other on the water’s edge.
On reaching Pangkor, we took one of the ridiculously baby pink van taxis that grace its roads and went to the nearest public beach, where we hung around, munching, chatting, and generally taking in the view. My friends tell me some of the resorts at Pangkor are worth staying at, maybe we will check them out next time.
By 6pm we were back on the ferry, and as we headed back to our car it began to rain again. My friends being true Malaysians, and my hubby and I being Malaysians at heart, we decided the rain shall not deter us. We needed to eat some more delicious local stuff.
Off we went towards Ipoh, as our friend is an Ipoh boy, and the route through Ipoh is easier than the one we had taken earlier. Ipoh, for the uninitiated, is where the Malaysian march towards prosperity began with tin mines. It is now a sleepy town peppered with delightful mansions and a countrywide reputation for excellent Chinese hawker food. We met our friend’s parents, charming world travelers in their seventies, and their adorable labrador, scared of strangers, but otherwise cuddlesome in the extreme.
We were quite tired by then, and all of our backs had started protesting to some degree or the other. But the Gourmet food court beckoned, and we did not put up any resistance whatsoever. We stuffed ourselves on rolls, noodles, grilled and fried fish of every description, and headed back to Kuala Lumpur, a sleepy bunch driving in the rain.
We arrived a sleepier bunch, and by the time I got into bed, all my limbs were aching one way or the other. But my heart was singing and my tummy felt happy and satisfied. What more can you possibly want out of life than a long drive with great friends, awesome food, and the possibility of doing it all over again?
For those of you who haven’t yet been lulled to sleep by all this talk of eating, driving around and being sleepy, go on, leave me a comment.