The boat slowly made its way to the shore and the white sandy beach of Redang Island was in touching distance. The hectic city of Terengganu was now in the back of my mind and the startling smell of my clothes was beginning to subside with the fresh, easterly breeze of the Redang Island coastline…
The boat pulled up and predictably the Chinese tourists, who have the patience of Barry and the Malaysian prostitute, were already whipping on their bright orange life-jackets and began disembarking the ambitiously titled “high-speed boat”
There are a few resorts around the main ‘bay’ of Redang and unsurprisingly the hotel I was staying in had the same class as a chimney sweeper during the great plague. But, despite all of the visual excitement of arriving at the shore, this came second place to my desire to simply have a beer – which was frankly red hot on my own personal agenda.
Whereas the rest of my fellow holiday makers had their own tractor to deliver them to their hotel like a fragile FedEx parcel. I had to slum it, making the walk of shame using my own fair feet to the reception of “Lagoon Resort” which has some fairly ropey Trip Advisor reviews that I quickly discovered immediately after I had handed over my hard earned cash to the over-eager salesman at the port.
By the time I had arrived, due to the delays – I had missed breakfast and was now being treated to the luke-warm remains of “lunch’. Which, despite there being no scientist “on-site” to fully dissect what was on offer, I managed to determine (quite quickly) using my nostrils, was something along the lines of: Vomit and veg, bogeys + chick peas, and my personal favourite. Chicken basted in sweaty bum juice served on a bed of boiled rats innards…
Needless to say, I ignored my “complimentary meal” and headed straight to the nearest “Mini-Mart” I could find to have some Carlsberg infused nourishment…
What the Trip Advisor reviews don’t quite reveal, presumably due to “Islamophobia”, was that Redang Island is mostly Muslim and as beers are “harem”- the cost of purchasing these finely fermented hops come at a premium.
Now I appreciate that this is purely “business” as clearly “Allah” puts a price on sending you to hell for selling this forbidden fruit. But, spending 3 days on an island dryer than a Ryvita Cracker implanted inside a nuns vagina still came as a shock…
Considering my liver absorbs more alcohol than a sponge on a rainy day, it was going to cost me more than the Burj Khalifa to get even slightly inebriated as I was presented with a bill of $4 for two small cans of local beer.
I decided to take a financial hit and buy two beers, before relaxing on the beach, crying over my wallet and having an early night in preparation for the “snorkelling trip” in the morning…
Unfortunately, my nights-sleep would turn into one of the worst to date….
The night-time was drawing in and after a day of travelling, I was shattered and ready to get some sleep. It quickly became apparent though that my bed was missing a fairly vital piece of bed-time paraphernalia, a blanket.
Now I know this is a “first world problem”, but by the time I had discovered this crime, the reception was closed. So, using the limited brainpower I had on offer to good use, I found an alternative which came in the form of the bottom sheet of the single bed adjacent.
Unfortunately, this was the same piece of fabric I had used earlier as a makeshift towel and as my towels had also gone AWOL. This left me a fairly soggy piece of material, that had also sadly soaked up my post-shower body fluids.
Not ideal, some would argue?
Things got worse when it was revealed that the air-conditioning unit or the “luke warm air dribble machine” as I have renamed it, was also half broken. This meant that less than 15 minutes after my “refreshing” cold shower, I was now starting to sweat like a scouser in Dixons, covered in a soggy sheet and trying to prevent a bed spring from performing a prostate exam.
It was around 3am when I finally managed to drift off. After what felt like a couple of minutes, I was awoken by the sound of a man singing / shouting loudly like a town crier, seemingly marketing “Alan’s Snackbar” – which must have now opened on the island to rave reviews…
My excitement at picking up some discount Mars Bars was quickly ruined, when it turned out that I had been positioned right next to the on-site Mosque and depressingly, after tuning my ears to his wailing, it turns out that Alan did not exist and neither did the snack bar. What he was actually screeching was “Allah Akbar”, which roughly translates to “God is great” to my disappointment…
We don’t happen to share this opinion of God. However, I have to admit I was tempted to convert simply so I could pray to the heavens that this selfish bastard would shut the fuck up and push the red buzzer on his tragic performance for “Redangs Got Talent”
His voice and over ambitious vocal gymnastics sounded like several cats being sat on by Vaneesa Feltz after a buffet meal, and left me feeling nothing but rage. After 30 minutes of ear-rape I could take no more. I was tired, soggy and pissed off and in the heat of the moment, I quickly removed the mattress spring that was now halfway up my colon, angrily opened the door and shouted something along the lines of; “CAN YOU SHUT THE (insert expletive here) UP, PLEASE”….
I had reached my limit. I just cannot deal with the selfishness of some people and in high-sight I wish I had dealt with the situation differently. But, this was far beyond what anyone who is sharing the space of another human should have to put with. My first night in paradise, was quickly turning into hell…
After quickly slamming the door and barricading myself in my bedroom, realising that I had probably been highly blasphemous and tomorrow’s BBQ night would see me cooking my satay chicken over a burning effigy of myself. A moment of peace descended on my room, giving my ears time to briefly recover. This lasted for 3 minutes before the wailing continued as the sun began to rise for another day…
There are three things in my travels so far that have brought out this uncontrollable inner rage. The first two have been the Chinese guests, who appear to take great pleasure in eating in the most disgusting manner possible. Similar to a virgins first kiss. But, my biggest gripe is the sound of people hocking up phlegm and spitting out their brain matter wherever they like. Especially when I am not wearing shoes on the beach and have to tip toe around green puddles of snot that have yet to soak into the sand.
I will never understand the manners of these people and how they think this is acceptable, or how people can put up with it. Yesterday I sat down for a nice meal and an Indian girl opposite was eating with her mouth wide open, rolling the food around in her mouth, before picking the crumbs out of her braces. I had to ask for a takeaway mid-meal and run home crying.
The morning was now officially underway and fortunately, Allah had decided to save my soul for another day. After arriving late for “breakfast” which left me with more remains of crusty scrabble egg that had dried out in the buffet cart. It was time to head to the boat for my first excursion of the trip, snorkelling….
I headed to the boat and was followed by a large group of Arabs who were turning on their Go-Pros, surrounded by what looked like a gaggle of women dressed as Batman. The Chinese group were also predictably showing off their bright orange life-jackets and making strange noises with their noses.
I didn’t get a chance to fully enquire about the Council Tax of Gotham City as – as soon as I perched my sandy derrière in pole position at the front of the boat. I found myself in a conversation with Kevin, who is a freelance forex trader who has been “on the road” for over a month and was now finishing his trip travelling down the east coast of Malaysia.
We shared some stuttered small talk like a pair of Tourette’s sufferers, trying to translate the broken English into something that resembled a conversation. When we were rudely interrupted by the captain of the ship, who seemed to take great pleasure in detailing the various health and safety risks of relaxing on the front of the boat. So, we were ushered back inside like a pair of vagrant “VIPs” and found a pew..
It was at this point that I was introduced to Kevin’s “friend” who was a hot French / Canadian called Lea. Who, after some awkward chat where I was secretly trying to determine whether she was single. Quickly concluded, that Kevin was indeed in the “friend-zone” to my relief.
Lea essentially became a translator for the most part of the next three days on Redang and I have to admit – Kevins “Borat-style” French vocabulary was one of the highlights of my stay. That, and jamming to the epic tunes coming from the mosque next door in the early hours of the morning of-course..
The boat pulled up and you could hear the excitement coming from my Chinese passengers who were displaying their joy by hocking up the remaining phlegm from their gullets into the sea, conveniently around the ladder into which I would be submerging.
The reality of not having my Go-Pro SD card had finally hit me. So, for any of you interested in what I witnessed beneath the slightly green seas of Redang, please Google “Shit Fish”. This should give you a fairly accurate representation of what was happening beneath the surface of the ocean.
In actual fact, the most interesting thing I saw, was a rather stringy bogey which was clinging on for dear life on the undercarriage of the tour boat. Desperate trying to evade making it onto the HD DVD of my fellow aspiring filmmakers latest release of “Snotty Sea – part 2”
Aside from that, it was frankly a disappointment and despite my Iced Gem milkers being relieved at not suffering from a gang rape of sea bass. I was genuinely upset at not seeing anything “interesting” and found myself back on the boat within 20 minutes, acting like a gangster at reclaiming my position at the helm.
I genuinely think that Redang is much more of a scuba spot, as the areas in which you can snorkel are very small and “contained”. So, if you’re looking to start doing the tango with a tortoise instead of a salsa with a snot, it’s probably a good idea to go into slightly deeper waters….