Back to Redang
Let's go back to Redang, shall we? Since we were offline for a week, I didn't get to share the stories -- or the pictures -- so I'll do that now.
Redang Island is mainly a resort island, northwest of KL. To get there, we got up at 3:30 in the morning and got in a cab at 4:45. It took over an hour to get to the isolated airport terminal -- which, we discovered, was about 20 minutes beyond the *real* airport. We were taking Air Asia, a budget airline that, we were warned, isn't all that reliable. "Your flight's at 7?" someone asked Paul. "That means you'll probably leave at 8." The terminal looks a lot like a big warehouse -- and it's just swarming with travelers. And, as expected, our flight didn't leave on time. So that left us to sit around and try to stay awake until we finally left.
It took about an hour to fly from KL to KT -- Kuala Terengganu. The airport there was, quite possibly, the tiniest airport I've ever seen. There was one baggage carousel, and you could actually see the guys tossing the bags onto the carousel, just on the other side of the wall, next to the door through which we'd come in. It left nothing to the imagination.
Once we got our bags, we thought the resort had arranged for another cab for us. Actually, it was a bus, filled with our fellow resort guests. We drove for another 45 minutes or so, past beautiful universities and sadly run-down housing. Some of the areas reminded me of when I was a kid, when missionaries would visit and bring slide shows of the places where they lived.
After the bus, we waited to board a ferry. It was another hour on the ferry (during which I fit in a quick nap) until we finally arrived at the jetty at Redang Island and our resort, Laguna Redang.
We were all corralled into a room, where a cute little guy whose English we barely understood explained how things worked on the island -- activities, meals, even how the keys to our door worked. He had a PowerPoint presentation, on which I noticed a comment about how they'd bring our bags to the main lodge for us -- to protect them from squirrels and wild monkeys. And therein became my obsession with the monkeys.
After we'd been properly filled in, we were brought by tram (a cart pulled by a tractor) to the main part of the resort, where we checked in and collected our bags. And it was beautiful. White, sandy beaches, clear blue water, chairs shaded by umbrellas and palm trees. It was magnificent.
We dropped our bags off at the room and went for lunch. Here's the view from the huge dining hall where we ate:
As soon as we'd finished our lunch, we grabbed our swimsuits and headed for the beach, where we camped out for the rest of the afternoon. Mind you, we were still in rainforest territory, so it rained pretty much every day we were there -- just like in KL. But on the first day, we didn't mind. When it rained that evening, we just went back to the room to take a nice pre-dinner nap.
There was a lot to do at the resort. While the nightlife wasn't nearly what they'd boasted (they had a couple of bars that were pretty much empty and a disco that was totally empty), we were usually too tired to be running around at night anyway.
We spent a lot of time swimming. After all, the sea was beautiful -- and the water was warm enough even for me to go in.
And if we got sick of the salt water, there was always the pool.
Of the things we wanted to do while we were there, the Jungle Trek was at the top of the list. We stopped by the rec center right away to try to plan it -- but, as it turned out, the Jungle Trek wasn't an easy thing to do. First, there had to be six people signed up before they'd even bother. And, well, there were only two of us. And, second, it couldn't have rained the night before. As I may have mentioned before, Malaysia is a tropical rainforest. It rains there. Every day. So every day, we went to the rec center and bugged the same poor little guy about the Jungle Trek. By the end of our stay, whenever he saw Paul coming, he stopped in his tracks and got this look of horror on his face. I think he was tempted to run away, but he was afraid that Paul would hunt him down. Every day, we stopped by the rec center to ask about the Jungle Trek. And every day, there was an excuse. Usually, it was that there was too much rain the night before. The last morning, we checked again, and the guys at the rec center suggested we try the Nature Walk instead. It didn't require so many people, it cost less, it wasn't nearly as long and strenuous, and we'd see just about the same stuff. So we figured we'd do that. When we came back that afternoon, they told us once again, "No -- too much rain last night."
Paul and I are pretty sure they never actually *do* the Jungle Trek -- or the Nature Walk. They just put it on the brochure to make it sound like they have lots of activities.
We did, however, manage to keep ourselves busy -- and to see plenty of nature. More on that later.