Well, we have seen the sun while staying on Langkawi and the rainfall was not as bad as in most parts of Asia, but sunnies were mostly needed to cover our eye rings in the morning. Because of the weather our primarily focus was on nighttime activities for which it came in handy that we stumbled over a very nice bar in our first night. We have taken the barkeeper into our hearts. Over the course of our ten days stay he made us quite a view special drinks and was always up for a chat. Mostly we ended up in clubs called Sunba or OneLove. We won’t forget the crazy parties and Sunba staff won’t forget us (right Rob?). One night we met nearly the entire crew of a real superyacht. All of them were great fun and we had a nice night out. Also we met Gregor and Martha from Poland as well as Nick and Natalia from GB / Russia (living in Australia though). Thanks guys for the unforgettable nights….
During daytime our main task was to find food, which was supposed to be easy, right? It was, but good, not overprized food? That was a different story. A low was reached when we finally gave in and went to the Italian / Mexican restaurant on the main street: the pizza was one of the saddest things I have seen in my entire life so far – hardly any toppings with a little flavor of nothing?! Seriously if you ever visit Langkawi don’t go there! The next pizza place only served very sweet pizza, however the Internet was freaking fast 😉 Eventually, we managed to find extremely good food. There are two places serving authentic Indian food (this might be the reason because _all_ staff is on a three years contract directly flew in from India!). 1. India Palace – rather pricey (in Malaysian terms around 6 – 8 € for a maim course). But the food is extremely good, so good that we started Christmas eve (24.12) there. 2. Our favorite 24/7 corner restaurant. Food is so cheap you are tempted to order way to much every single time. Their famous banana pancake cost as little as 50 cent! Chai Latte and Teh tarik (national drink of Malaysia- made from black tea and condensed milk) are also 50 cent – all that 24/7!
But Langkawi is more than just food and cocktails! The beach in Cenang – if the sun was shining – was really nice. Also we spend one very sunny day island hopping. A day tour for only 7 euro including the transport to the harbour, lunch and entrance fees for national parks is more than one can ask for. Another day we rented a super sports car (see pictur below) and drove around the island. Our first stop was at the Skybride – it was closed… However, the Skycab was operating and the view from the top was amazing (see video ;). Our next stops included some nice beaches and lunch on the beach. Only the planned second accommodation (“sandpiper”) was a downturn. It was far away from everything and on top overbooked. The owner wanted us to stay in a place without internet (!!!) and directly on the main street. We declined his offer and went back to Cenang where we found a great place to stay!
It all started in Newcastle by Rob saying: “so now you need to talk me into joining you guys for Christmas and NYE”. 5 seconds… That’s how long it took us. As I learned from Paul the salesman (he is introduced in the Halong Bay post later on) it only needs someone who either ‘needs’, ‘wants’ or ‘desires’ something you are selling. Obviously Rob was a very easy target as all of the above held true for him: he wanted to go, needed a break from work and desired to travel with us 😉
So the three of us were reunited. And again Rob picked us up from the airport, only this time it was not Sydney but Kuala Lumpur we arrived at. Our first task was to find food, which turned out to be more difficult than expected: even though all airport was extremely friendly, helpful and more than willing to help, we were send in a different direction every time we asked for a pizza place. But our unbreakable will finally lead us to the promised land. “Surprisingly” the pizza was amazingly good (KLIA2, lowest floor, in-between the coffee place and the China Restaurant). After satisfying our basic needs we got some beer and chatted till late night.
The next day “guide Eva” showed us KL. First point of interest were – of cause – the Petronas Twin Towers. A staggering 452 meters high, they feature the world most famous skybride (172 m above ground). Mr. James Bond paid the Skybride a visit in one of his movies. However, all of us found the viewing deck in one of the towers at level 86 more fascinating. I’d love to have an apartment with this kind of view one day. Next on the sightseeing list was the park right next to the twin towers. It’s supposed to be the best spot to take a nice picture of the towers and their surroundings, if there wouldn’t have been a construction site 😉 The colonial quarter which we paid a visit next was free of construction sites but full of old historic buildings (one of the nicer parts of KL). From there we took the train back to the airport and headed off towards Langkawi.
It was just a short visit but enough for our taste;)
Petronas Towers in different light
Isaac and Solomon have been great teachers during our stay in Perth: after some training we even managed the art of summoning / creating three-headed monsters protected by shields and equipped with powerful weapons – you would be truly impressed! The first 3 days of our stay in Perth we spent with Niels great-great-grand (she is really great 😉 cousin Astrid and her family. They live in Mandurah, a suburb located 70 km south of Perth. Astrid and Andrew (her husband) were great hosts, it felt like home straight away. The beach is only 200 m away from their house and the ocean was a welcome refreshment on these hot summer days. While being in the water the first time, dolphins passed by very close. How cool is that?! Having a swim in the morning with dolphins around. But for the boys it was just a normal thing and nothing unusual. At least Andrew seemed to be somehow fascinated.
@ Astrid-family: Thanks a lot for having us!!!
The next 4 days we spent at Heathers (the mother of Astrid, Eva and Lawrence) place directly in Perth. The beach was just across the street and the house is surrounded by a lovely garden with papaya trees, physalis and other fruits. Heather showed us the most remote city in the world with its beautiful beaches and wonderful weather. As well as Astrid, Heather was a perfect host and the best tour guide you could possibly wish for. She knows the best places and therefore we got to see some of the highlights Perth has to offer: a walking tour through the beautiful Kings Park (together with Eva (the other one;)), Fremantle with its beautiful port, some more suburbs like Cottesloe and of cause “Heathers hood”: Scarbourogh. While not being busy with sightseeing we met Niels other great-great-grand cousins: Eva (the other one) including her soon to be husband Ben (welcome to the family) and Lawrence including his family. The last night Heather invited us to a revolving restaurant on the 33rd floor of St. Martins Tower in the city center of Perth where we had a delicious 4-course-dinner and an amazing view over the whole city.
@ Heather: Thanks for having us and being the best tour guide ever!
The time passed by far too quick and we had to leave our favorite country once more :/ But hopefully it’s not long before we will be back.
First thing we saw after arriving in Perth
Not only is Newcastle special because of Rob but also because we spend our first night with our camper on a parking lot in Newcastle 6 1/2 years ago – Welcome back to Newcastle!
So this time there was no need to find a place to park our wicked camper. Robs place is extremely nice – just 2 minutes from the beach. He picked us up from the airport Friday evening and we chatted till late night. The next days we met some of Robs mates, went to the beach, “chillaxed” and of course went out. The night we went out we discovered Australia’s greatest weakness – yes there is a “weakness”!: clubbing. No one is allowed to enter the clubs after the lockout. In Newcastle the lockout is at 1:30 am and most clubs close at 2 am already! Basically that’s a children’s birthday party. But Newcastle is still a nice place to hang out.
The day of departure turned out to be different than expected. The plan was to in the morning, catching the train to Sydney, meeting with Mus and Roman and catching our flight at 3:30 pm. If only the flight was at 3.30 p.m…. Everything worked nearly as planned. Having a great lunch with Mus and Roman until we found out that I (Eva) mixed up the arrival and departure time. By the time we found out it was way too late to catch the flight. Arriving at the airport I went to the Quantas counter and explained our misery. We got told that we don’t need to worry as there was another flight only 2 hours later. Both of us were expecting horrendous surcharges for the reschedule, once more Australia (Qantas) surprised us: we did not pay a single penny extra! However, if that wouldn’t be enough: entering the plane the cabin crew gave us free champagne and snacks because of the stress we had.
The whole situation assured us even more that Australia deserves to be our favorite country in the world!
Newcastle – the surfer city
The Barefoot lodge on Drawaqua island was beautiful: a lovely resort with small cottages (called bures), sunrise and sunset restaurants right on the beach. The surrounding reef is very healthy with an amazing variety of fish and colorful corals. While we had dinner the sun set over the ocean.
Because of the great snorkeling Eva decided to do a cave dive which turned out to be a great idea. The corals might have been the best she has ever seen. Time flew by very quickly in the Barefoot lodge (also because we met Mus and Roman (see section “Peopl”) and way to soon it was time for the next island again.
It is one of the most northern islands in the Yasawas – Tavewa island. While Eva took a nap Niels made friends with the whole staff (thanks to Tomu) and came back to the Bure with many gifts (coconuts, mangos and citrus leaves for tea). Being addicted to diving, Eva couldn’t resist the opportunity to participate in shark feeding (Lemon sharks, many Reef sharks and !Bull Sharks!). One evening we were invited by Tomu to a Kava ceremony with the staff. Turning down this offer is considered a serious insult to Fijians, therefore we gave it a try. Kava, is made from a pepper plant but only the root is used. The powder is mixed in a huge wooden bowl with fresh water. It looks and taste like muddy rain water. It is known for its pleasant relaxation effect and after one cup you begin to feel your lips and tongue tingle a bit (compared to a local anesthetic at the dentist).
The last island was Nanuya Balavu where Eva talked Niels into an Open Water Dive Certification Course. Hence Niels was busy most of the time diving and preparing for the exam while Eva had relaxing time. Surprisingly, the “great” Dr. MüWi passed the final exam and now, he is not only a Dr. but also a certified diver 😉
The time flew by and our 12 days in Fiji were over to soon. After all time doesn’t pass by slower in Fiji – no Fiji time!
Welcome committee of the Barefoot lodge