Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Big Family Trip 2009 - Pulau Pemanggil Part 3

We were informed earlier that our ferry will be picking us up at 7am to go back to Mersing. However, during dinner we were told that the ferry will be coming from Pulau Tioman and will be at resort at 6am. That was ridiculously early but I remember what I was told about having to catch the tide. At 4.50am, we were all waken up by loud blaring of horn from the sea. The ferry was here! WTF!

We got ready quickly to board the ferry. Everyone had gone to bed really late and were forced to wake up early. I let Laura and Adam sleep while Dita and I got ready our things. Woke them up only when we were ready to go down to the boat. They fell quickly asleep again in the boat. We finally left the island at 6.15am.

RZ asleep in ferry RinZen asleep in the ferry.

Laura and Adam were next to me. They both rested their head on my lap and slept through the 1 1/2 hour boat ride to Mersing. Most people slept on the boat after having waken up at such a ridiculous hour.

Life jackets in plastic bags I looked around the inside of the ferry to chart the escape route. I can't help my paranoia having read news about ferry disasters over the years. The ferry took only what was allowed and was not overcrowded. That was reassuring. I noticed that the life jackets were still in their original packing. Will we be able get to them in an emergency?

Breakfast was packed by the resort operator for us to have breakfast in Mersing. We were told that we'll have a picnic by the sea. That sounds really wonderful until we got to the place. We were at a public park area with food stalls which were not yet open that time of the morning. There were rubbish strewn everywhere. The beach was littered with rubbish as far as the eyes can see. So sad that visitors to the islands leave with a negative image of the area. Mersing is a disorganized, messy little town. Ironically, it is also the gateway to all the beautiful islands of Pulau Tioman, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Aur and Pulau Dayang. If the authorities and people cannot keep Mersing clean, how can they be expected to keep the islands clean? How much environmental damage and degradation can the islands take before all the corals are dead and gone? People still endure the discomfort and sorry sight to get to the jewels in the sea. For how long?

It is so wonderful to be children. The grown ups noticed the litter and unkempt state of the place. Kids saw only the potential and the fun.
J Yoong & Sze Yin in playground
The bus ride back to KL took a long time. Night time was more manageable as kids were asleep, so less stops for toilet. Travelling back to KL in the day, we made several toilet stops along the highway. First stop was for lunch, which was less than 2 hours after a nasi lemak breakfast. It was ridiculous really but we had to because after that, it was stopping along the highway at one of the rest stops. The prospect of letting loose 40 pax at a highway rest stop for lunch and then trying to get everyone to board the bus again was toooo stressful. We had a light lunch and was off again. The restaurant where we stopped were quite disappointed that we didn't order seafood for our lunch, choosing instead to have noodles. Family members heading back to Singapore arrived home before 1pm. We got back to Tim and Vivian's place in Subang Jaya almost 5pm.

Kids and I had dinner at a restaurant called Splendid in Jusco AU2. The place looks like a Secret Recipe wannabe. Food was ok lah. Service was good. I just wanted to go home and rest but kids and helper had to be fed.

Laura eating pizza Adam eating pizza
What did I learn from this trip?

Do not organize a trip without first visiting it. We didn't get to spend much time with the Higher Authorities as we were out to the beaches while they stayed back at the resort.

Ferries ply the island route several times a day but we had to board ferries at ungodly hours because Pulau Pemanggil, Pulau Aur and Pulau Dayang do not have high tourist traffic. So the ferry operators "force" the island resort operators to take low traffic times which means really early in the morning. We were told it was to catch the tide but I noticed that we left Pulau Pemanggil at the low tide. Now it's all clear why divers and avid anglers choose to charter boats to get to the islands.

The Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board does jack shit for Cuti-Cuti Malaysia judging from the sorry excuse of a port for Mersing. The place was unkempt, cramped and had no facilities. Only one toilet cubicle for Gents and one for Ladies. Most visitors would have travelled from out of town to get to Mersing to go to the islands. We obviously needed to use the toilet. If any one of the toilets were blocked, we would have been screwed!!

Island dwellers and chalet operators know shit about preservation and recycling. They throw things into the sea without a second thought. Visitors see that the island is already dirty, do not think twice about littering the beaches and the sea too. Places like Mauritius have strict regulations, including allowing only environmentally-friendly sunblocks and suntanning lotions. I will be happy just to see the islands treated with more respect. Doesn't take much to clean up the beaches and keep them clean!

I want to visit the islands again but thinking of the long journey and the discomfort of being in Mersing puts me off. Maybe if I have short term memory like most Malaysians do, I'll go again. Organize another big group there? No way!!

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Blogger Sasha said...

yeah, not going back there again. *scratch scratch*

2:44 pm  
Blogger aBByLiCioUs said...

so happy family! Fun fun fun! How are you? It's been a while since we last commented on each others blog. Been very busy lately..Take care.

11:33 pm  
Blogger Min said...

Sasha, did you see a doctor? Please do.

Abby, it's always fun when the Big Family get together :) How have you been?

2:26 am  
Blogger coffeesncookies said...

looks like an "adventurous" trip to rough it out. Frankly, hv never heard of Pulau Pemanggil, weird name too. Anyway, just be glad to be back safe & sound, esp the Higher Authorities!

2:00 pm  
Anonymous Min said...

coffeesncookies, we were not looking for adventurous rough-it-out kind of trip wor :-P All in all, good fun. Just that the resort we stayed in wasn't ideal, especially for the Higher Authorities.

12:00 pm  
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4:31 am  

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