Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bali and Malaysia, part 4

Day 11: Durians

Tired from last night, we wander about the world's largest bird park in KL's Lake Gardens and later the Museum of Islamic Arts. Although the Lebanese lunch buffet is clearly the highlight of the museum, the exhibition is quite impressive and interesting. I was especially impressed by the collection of Arabian calligraphy in different styles and from different times and places.

We go back to the same place for dinner where I am offered a piece of disgusting Durian. I can no longer contain my curiosity, so against better knowledge I try it. It is quite an interesting taste sensation. I would say that the base taste is very close to onions that have spent about a year rotting in the bottom of a much too humid fridge, but there are other elements in there too. It also tastes of honey, almonds and cream. It would taste quite nice if it wasn't for the overpoweringly disgusting taste of rotten onions. I think you have to be insane to enjoy this horrible fruit. That almost the entire Malaysian population seem to not only enjoy it, but to love it, and to eat kilos of it every day during the season, makes me feel a little uneasy about being in this country. Apart from obviously being complete maniacs, the people are really friendly and relaxed here though.

Day 12: KL to Perhentian Kecil

I get up very early and spend the day flying to Kota Bharu in the North East of the Malaysian penninsula and then moving on to the small island (Kecil) of the Perhentians. It's a small tropical island without cars or big hotels, that reminds me of the way Gili Trawangan was ten years ago.

Day 13: Temple of the Sea

I join the morning dive for the famous dive spot Temple of the Sea, which is a big coral boomie. We don't get to see the whale shark that was spotted outside the Perhentians just a day ago, but it is a fantastic dive nonetheless. The visibility is possibly the best I have ever seen. We could easily see the bottom 20 metres below where the boat stopped for us to jump in. There's lots of fish and stuff to, like black anemone fish, boxfish, angelfish, groupers, batfish, squid, huge pufferfish and a very well camouflaged scorpion fish.

In the afternoon I walk to the wind- and solar powerplant that lies on top of a hill in the North of the island. From the powerplant, where the view of the island is great, there is a huge staircase zig-zagging down to a jetty next below so I walk down and dive in for a nice swim. I meet a French guy there who is staying at the hostel D'lagoon that lies nearby, totally isolated from the rest of the island. It seems like a really good place and if I ever come back that is where I will stay.

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