“You live here?”
“Yep, this is my house!” I say.
Leah puzzles her brow a little, tips her head to the side and looks up at me. “Your house!? You sleep here?”
“Every night, and Grin is my car!” I point to Grin. Leah’s face brightens. “Wooooooooowwww! Can I see?” She’s already clambering over Sonrisa’s cockpit combings and down the companion way to the living quarters.
* * * * *
Our cousins from Singapore have packed up for a long weekend and joined us in Langkawi. They arrived yesterday after a taxi ride (during which Felix vomited all over his Mama and himself), a two hour flight (during which Felix and his Mama smelled like vomit) and another taxi ride to the beautiful Berjaya resort. As soon as we get the text, we head their way.
The Berjaya is a resort with overwater bungalows and “jungle bungalows” with a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean and the beach. Leah, Felix and their Dad, Benjamin, greet us on the road, excited to march us up the jungle-side to their two room suite. Leah, wearing flip-flops and a blue-polkadot swimsuit, reports the tribulations of her travels so far as she tugs my hand. Her golden, curly hair frizzes up in the humidity just like mine and her cheeks become rosy under the heat. “And there is a pool! Did you bring your swimsuit!?!?!?”
Oooooh….I forgot my swimsuit. This being a grievous error, Leah sticks her bottom lip out and scowls. “I’m sure I can still play at the pool,” I quibble. She gives me a doubtful, “I guess we will have to see” expression, and I consider my options. The room is gloriously air conditioned, and it’s a bit difficult to peel Andrew and I away, but once everyone (except for me) are adorned in swimsuits we head to the pool. Who wouldn’t want to play in this pool? Leah and I make a game involving an uncoordinated and rather slow moving troll (me), a brave damsel held in the troll’s dungeon (her) and repeated attempts at a great escape in the wading pool where just the bottom of my dress sometimes gets wet. She is satisfied with my effort, so long as this game is interspersed with being dragged greater loops around the “Big Pool” with Andrew.
That evening, we return to the hotel room to enjoy a view of sunset. Sitting on the balcony, each adult with a beer, we are soon joined by a flock of monkeys. A flock? A herd? A murder…? One climbs up the drain pipe and sits on the balcony handrail. “Oh how cute!” Another follows, then another, and another. One climbs down from the handrail and at this point, we all abandon our posts and retreat into the hotel room and lock the door.
The monkeys swarm, picking up a pair of Felix’s shorts that had been drying on the rail and toss them over the side. They jump on the table and tip our hastily abandoned beer cans upside down, rolling them onto the floor, too. “You little monkeys!”
“Is that door actually locked?” We ask as the monkeys approach with a purposeful look in their eye.
The next day, and despite Sonrisa’s protests (she prefers that we stay at sea level), we took the vertical cable car ride to the top of the nearby cliff to see the view…
(No, that’s not really the car! The next one.)
…and walk across the world’s largest, curved suspension bridge. Complete with glass windows which make my tummy feel wobbly.
Leah started the day feeling a bit curmudgeonly, but as soon as she had acquired a pink strawberry shake, a pink hat, and a pink umbrella to coordinate with her already pink ensemble, she was feeling more, well, in the pink.
Felix rolled with it, being toted on his Papa’s back until lunch. He hopped down, waddled his chubby-almost-two-year-old legs over to a nearby shop and selected a bag of shrimp flavored crisps that he ate with gusto and continued to enjoy for the rest of the day.
We spend a bit of time over the weekend at the beach, the adults finding a Blue Hawaiian quite adequate.
And, we met some new monkeys none of us have ever seen before. These ones were not quite as mischievous, and they liked it when we handed them leaves to eat
(Photo credit goes to Erin for these guys, as I left my camera in the room!)
And of course, we host the team aboard Sonrisa for nibbles, drinks, and adventure.
Leah and I, leave the adults and a snoozing Felix to enjoy the shade of Sonrisa’s cockpit, while we paddle Grin to a Malaysian Flag planted in the mud off the point of “Tourist Island.” A place known to burst forth with squeals of delight from zip-line patrons and random acts of karaoke. It is also the origination point of a fleet of wave runners and jet skis that like to frantically circle Sonrisa while the passengers attempt selfies. Who wouldn’t want to commandeer this island? We tied up to the flag and declared ourselves explorers and the island ours. Leah trails a rope in the slow meandering current and catches a wad of sea sludge. This gives her an idea.
“Can we go fishing? I really want to go fishing at your house.”
“Okay,” I say. We float back to Sonrisa and I pull the fishing pole out of its holder. I tied a rope to one end of the fishing pole just for fun and lead Leah to Sonrisa’s bow to bob the rope into the water. There really are only little sardine guys in this little bay, nothing much to catch. She twirls the reel and fishes happily for a few moments, not catching a bite. She lifts the pole and gives it a critical eye to see what the hold up might be.
“Hey! We aren't going to catch any fish with this!” Leah says, as she realized what I had done. “This fishing pole needs a hook!” I can’t pull anything over on Leah!
“Are you hungry?” I ask. And she decides she is. We go below to fetch some crackers and cheese from the fridge. While I dig around, she finds my stash of colored pencils and coloring book. Perfect. Soon, everyone is ready for a real lunch, so Andrew ferries us in rounds to his favorite spot with the Beer ATM, more on that in the next post. Leah, maximizing her time in motion joins Andrew and Grin for all laps. Grin likes her attitude and feels they share a common spirit.
As soon as we arrive at the lunch table, she dumps the colored pencils and the two of us resume our artistic endeavors. “No, no. You have to make it pretty. Use more colors!” She hands me a fist full of pencils. I color on the right, she colors on the left. Soon, she is examining the pencil I have currently in use. “Can I use that one?” I stop and hand her the pencil in use and switch to a new pencil. She scratches a few lines then her eyes are drawn back to the new pencil I have in use. She looks back at her page. “Can I use that one?” She takes my pencil. Soon, the fistful of pencils she insisted I use are back in her possession and she’s doling them out to me, one by one according to her expectation for my page. This strategy continues to be employed during any delay of action in our adventures. I am instructed to ensure I bring my pencils and book everywhere we go. Suits me fine, I like to color!
We cap off our weekend with a run to the fun and chaos of the night market. Leah finds a watch in the theme of Disney’s Frozen that plays songs and lights up. This is a very happy find, for her. Her parents are…happy she’s happy. We eat night market treats like pancakes stuffed with coconuts, nutmeg fruit, and a folded pocket made of scrambled eggs with a bit of flour, onion, meat and Malaysian curry spices. This would be fantastic passage food! We also tried iced “Teh Tarik", Malaysia’s “Official National Drink” milky, spiced black tea a little like Chai tea, but a different combination of spices.
Hosting family and friends is a rare and special treat for us. We know it takes a lot of time, money, and effort to find us. When circumstances allow, we don’t take it for granted. As we give hugs, we don’t say goodbye but “catch-you-later” instead. They are headed back to the U.S. from Singapore, soon. You never know when another opportunity will arise to see each other again, but we’ll be sure to catch them when it does.