Friday, 19 August 2011

A Snow Globe of Fish

It's been a whole week since I last posted. Don't be upset. I'm back with language tales from Pulau Perhentian!


One of my best buds from my homeland is currently visiting me, so I took her for a trip to the beach.

We arrived and began the hunt for accommodation…which luckily, despite being super-high season, was easy. We looked at two places and in the end, here's how the decision went:

- Chalet 1 : has a baby monkey!! 
- Chalet 2 : has 24 hour electricity. 

Reluctantly, we opted for number 2, on the pretext that we would sneak next door and play with monkey anyway.



Time for snorkelling then!?

We'd already seen many signs on the beach for snorkel trips at 2pm…so we got our kit on and headed in the right direction. 

Along the way we bumped into what could only be described as the Malay version of Captain Jack Sparrow. 

Cpt Jack: Snorkelling?

Us: Yes.

Cpt Jack looked surprised to be taken up on this throwaway offer, and paused, tilting his head slightly to decide what to do next. 

Cpt Jack: You have mask?

Us: No.

Literally, he was like a wild pirate -  you could see his thoughts form slowly on his face, his speech was accurate but slurred together so everything was one word, and his arms flailed loosely as he explained and questioned. All signs of one who's taken way too many drugs or spent far too long in the sun.

Or both. 

For some reason we didn't walk away, and agreed to get into a boat with him. 

But first, we had to pick up the masks and flippers from Chalet 1 (see before). As we waited, the small, naked toddler who was resident there, ran around with a toy in his hand. He dropped it here and there, put it on the see-saw, offered it to us then withdrew and clasped it to his chest. In the end he dumped it into the basket of his small bicycle. Turns out the toy was a kitten. 


[tiny kitty and monkey]

We returned to the beach and were informed that Cpt Jack's friend wanted to take us snorkelling, so to avoid a fight, Cpt Jack was releasing us to him. Which in retrospect, was a rather lucky escape. 

It was a delightful trip, saw sharks (yess!) and turtles and lots of other fish (sorry other fish…you don't have names…)

Although, one of my highlights was when another boat was throwing bread to the small stripey fish (and I'm sure at one point, onto my back…) and they were swimming around in huge clusters. And my friend threw me this incredible line:

Friend: Come over here, it's like being in a snow globe of fish!

Such an accurate description! I sunk just below the water level and didn't move - my whole goggle-vision-area was a layer of fish. Cool. 


The other fun thing about being on an island, aside from swimming with fish…is eating them :)

Fresh fish BBQ is yummy.


But, we made the mistake of ordering from the BBQ and the normal menu. Which was an error because they are clearly not time-co-ordinated. So our vegetables arrived. And our fish hadn't even reached the grill. What to do? Eat in shifts? Wait till they're both done? …go and ask for special favours..?? 


The latter. When on holiday, actually no - always. Life in general, it's fun to be a bit cheeky. So I volunteered to practice my BM (making the effort, even if you fail, surely increases your chances?) and go ask them to prioritise our fish. 

Tipping the odds in our favour, was the fact that after we ordered our food, the barbecue man said to us:

"Mmm. Lovely girls."

Cheeky, no? Therefore, it's a winner. 

I cobbled together the sentence: 

"'Bang…bakar ikan saya dulu..??"

...And trotted off to deliver it. 

It did not go well. 

Barbecue bastard (as he later became known) grumpily told me, "I following the rules. There is a line. I follow the line", whilst gesturing angrily at the long line of fish, with his BBQ tongs. 


Geez. You can be cheeky but we can't? Humph. 

On the plus side…he understood me! Hurrah!!


We ate the veggies first.



But to make us feel a little smug, barbecue bastard quickly realised he had responded rather too harshly to the nice English girls, and spent the next few days trying to make a mends - waving, smiling and making polite conversation as often as possible. And giving double portions of watermelon (see above picture).

You know what I say to that?



  1. This is tres amusing! Though I feel "friend" should identify herself and lay claim to her witty repartee....she did direct me here after all!


  2. oh indeed, "friend" is very welcome to ID herself...and when she begins her, "funny things small children say to their teachers" blog, i shall link to her!

    you too should re-enter the blogosphere a chap, i would enjoy reading your comic anecdotes...