Saturday, October 04, 2014

Travelling to and fro

After seeing the hornbill birds on Pangkor Island (Malaysia) on our motorcycle trip from Phuket Island (Thailand) to Malaysia, we continued on our way to Penang Island (Malaysia) where we would get new 2-month Visitor's Visas for Thailand.

Along the way, we stopped periodically for a butt rest. During one of these rest stops, I severely burned the arch of my foot on the motorcycle muffler. Ow! The 2nd degree burn blistered so my aim was to keep the blister from breaking to prevent infection - that meant a lot of tip-toeing!

Crossing the bridge, we arrived at Penang Island on a Friday later in the day, and the Visa renewal department was closed. We were able to drop off our forms on Sunday with a promise of our Visas being ready on Monday. So to kill some time, it was another island motorcycle tour. The most enjoyable part of the Island ride was along a winding road that snaked through verdant hills and past cliff hanging vista points.

An unexpected interlude while waiting for our Visas was the arrival of our friends on Jabula who we had left a couple of days before down in Pangkor. They had decided to make their final jump off for their Indian Ocean passage from George Town (Penang Island). So we spent a genial last chance visit.

On Monday morning with renewed Visas in hand, we headed north to the mainland of Thailand. Palm oil plantations dominate the Malaysian landscape whereas Thailand's counterpart seems to be the forests of rubber trees. At least the smell that wafted throughout the countryside as we travelled indicated that. Jordan said its unique scent could be described as pungent, but I thought it was just plain stinky!

The dripping fluid fills up black pots attached to rows and rows of stately trees, like maple trees drip their sap back in Canada. What's surprising is that this fluid is white, not black like we think of rubber.

Drip, drip, drip...

Once collected, it has a soft, rubbery feel. We stopped to check it out when we saw a pick-up truck parked with a rear cargo of the half-sphered product. We were informed that it naturally turns black, no dye is added.

Go ahead, touch it!

We deviated from a direct route home and took the ferry to the touristy Koh Samui, another island! The fare for the 1.5 hr ferry trip for us and the motorcycle was only the equivalent of $10 US - nothing compared to expensive Canadian ferries.

Looking back at Thailand mainland pinnacles

Our first night was in a rather nice resort right on a quiet beach where our first order of business was an inviting swim in the pool after the long hot day's ride. The highlight of the evening was the amazing sunset...

The next night, we took a budget beachside bungalow on a busier side of Koh Samui. The highlight there was a massage at beachside under the open-aired roof of what we would call a pagoda gazebo.

How divine

Of course, we did yet another pleasantly diverse motorcycle island tour. An unusual and popular photo op was that of Grandma and Grandpa Rocks where erosion formed distinct replicas of separate male and female genitalia.

Our final run back to Phuket Island was punctuated with rain that the mild temperature made it easy to endure.

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