Oh! Jet Lag! It's a good week since returning from Malaysia and I am still waking at 3 a.m. ready for the day to begin....where is everyone else?
Renting a car, we drove almost the entire perimeter of Malaysia from KL to Cherating on the East coast where we swam in warm waters and walked on white sand. The transition season, so not too many travelers to compete for the charming guest houses on the sand. Had one of the best massages I've ever had - the approach
not for the feint of heart but wonderful for those who are looking for the theraputic working of trigger points, chronically aching necks and backs.
Up the coast to Trengannau where we caught a fast speed boat for the 35 min ride to Pulau Perhentian, a federal marine reserve, where there are no roads, cars,
motor vehicles of any sort, and very little development of the coastal line - just enough for the few guest accomodations which run from the "basic" (read no ac, no private bathroom, mosquito netting
only) to more generous cabins with running water, toilet, and ac. Having started traveling to SE Asia 20 years ago, I can tell you that though I succumbed to the more generous accomodation, something is lost in the doing of that - a certain gentle ambience, the magic of hearing the frogs, geckos, birds and breezes in the palms, the slightly weighty, languorous air in the tropics - all that carries one away to another world of sensibilities. Each night we chose from the array of freshly caught fish, shrimp, squid to be cooked in our choice of a dozen ways and served with fragrant mangoes, pineapple, dragon fruits, papaya and white or fried rice. How could I not overeat?
Cuisine in Malaysia is a gift from the Universe! Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures blend their voices into the must unique, exciting flavors I've ever experienced. And the truth of this in evidenced in the wealth of food stalls operating all night, each serving its own specialty, sort of like the secret family recipes. One could spend their entire vacation sampling varieties of just laksa (a sumptuous fish soup), or of curries, or nasi candar (a rice with assorted side dishes - each chef offering his own combinations). We start salivating about a month before we leave for Malaysia, and grieve for our loss for a month upon returning.