Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 21 2011 - Langkawi, Kayaks and Cocktails

Let's see. When I left off we were about to make our way to the adult pool, a somewhat Romanesque extravaganza, with private cabanas overlooking the sea. We settled into our lounge chairs, exploring our temporary abode. The chairs were covered by thick fresh towels by our attendant. The water was cool and inviting, and I was feeling warm, so in I went, paddling back and forth, occasionally stopping on the steps leading to our cabana to grin at Lee, relaxing on his chair. Finally I felt cool enough to get into my chair too, but it wasn't long before I was ready for something else, like a cocktail. I settled on a tropical punch concoction. When it came I started guzzling it way too fast because I couldn't taste the alcohol. Lee actually got worried about me and told me to slow down! Well he knows me and my tolerance for alcohol, and of course he was right.

The next morning we decided to order breakfast from room service. The service at this hotel is very, very good, and our breakfasts came in short order. We settled in to enjoy our food and we were having a pleasant time, when a noise made me glance up at the gutters along our roof. Three small monkeys were eyeing us cannily, with more monkeys watching from the nearby trees. Well, we know what this means! We quickly start moving the food inside. I have no desire for a confrontation with a macaque, even if they are smaller than the ones in Hong Kong. As we're moving the food inside, we discover that our second balcony door is open and several monkeys are getting ready to make an advance in that direction. We slam it shut, and eventually they turn away in disappointment.

Then it's time for our morning activity, a kayak trip along the coast to see the mangrove swamps. It's low tide so we can't get right into the mangroves, but it's still a very nice little trip. Peter, our guide, is an Austrian that came here for a vacation 13 years ago, and never left. He was very knowledgeable about the mangroves and the various birds we saw during our excursion. He gave us some pointers on kayaking too, which helped me improve my technique. I'm hoping this will help me the next time we go kayaking on Arlington Pond. We'll see!

Another rainstorm is coming our way, so we hop back onto the launch that brought us and our kayaks to the mangroves. Peter says that the open sea will get very choppy because of the storm, so he opts for returning to the resort via a nearby river.

This turns out to be very interesting. The river is a sanctuary for aging sailboats, rusting away on their moorings. The sailboats hail from ports all over the world, including Australia, Europe, Canada and the US. Almost all of them look very hard used. They are a far cry from the beautiful boats depicted in Lee's Cruising World magazines. I imagine that these boats have been to many countries before they ended up on this lonely river in Langkawi. Peter tells us that in fact some of them have been abandoned by their owners, who running out of either money, energy, or both, have left them here to decay. It's strange and kind of spooky.

There are also a lot of other tourist launches traversing this river. The other launches feed the monkeys that line the banks, looking for a handout, and throw raw chicken into the water for the Malaysian eagles that swoop down and carry the pieces away. Peter looks on disapprovingly, since this behavior by our fellow humans messes up the local ecology.

Later in the afternoon I indulge in a "Marine Wrap" spa treatment. After an exfoliating scrub, I am covered in a luxurious mud, wrapped in cloth, given a wonderful head massage while the mud dries. Then once the mud is rinsed off, a "firming" lotion is rubbed into my skin. I exit the spa feeling relaxed, glowing, and well, yes, with firm skin.

This morning, our last day at the resort, is my day for a long run. It wasn't too hot when I started my run, but it was very, very humid. It took two circuits along the beach and through the resort to get to 6 miles, and for the last two miles I had to slow down some, because even staying in the shade, it was so humid that I could feel my body really struggling to stay cool.

This was a really nice, relaxing vacation, even though it was only two nights. I know it was good for Lee to have a break. He's been working really hard. And I was happy to finally visit Langkawi, which certainly lived up to my expectations!

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