“Paradise” is a term frequently used to describe the tiny Perhentian Islands off Malaysia's north-east coast. We'd been advised by many-a-traveller along our route to check them out, and check them out we did. But paradise? We weren't convinced.
Admittedly, there were nice white soft sandy beaches, and the water was clear and warm. However, accommodation-wise we hit an all-year low-point, and even the supposedly world-class diving didn't live up to its reputation with nightly storms affecting the visibility. As we sat there sweating profusely, we had to question what paradise meant for us.
The first hurdle was getting to the beach, which involved dodging the following:
1) A whole army of giant biting ants (yes, they literally bit R on the toe and clung on for dear life).
2) Unpleasant wafts of sewage – there was quite a unique plumbing system and on that dot of an island, surrounded by water, we fear there was only one place for that waste to go :-S
3) Loud wheezing generators, constantly on the go to power everything up.
Once past that little lot, our brief island sojourn look like this:
1) Sit on beach, sweating buckets, R constantly wiping his brow, all clothes drenched.
2) Try and slap on sun cream over layer of sweat.
3) Spray mosquito spray on top of layers of sun cream and sweat.
4) Count increasing number of red mosquito bites, desperately trying to resist the urge to scratch, and hope that none of them are going to bestow upon us dengue or malaria.
5) Wonder why we're not enjoying ourselves like everyone else lying on the beach.
6) Go in the sea to cool off, trying not to think about the final destination of the island sewage.
7) Rinse salt off when return to the beach.
8) Repeat steps 1-5
People seemed to love this little lot. Which is fair enough, if that's your thing. But paradise? Really? Not for us, it wasn't. Take us back to Patagonia!