December 25, 2008

Prawns the Size of Kittens; and Other Observations

Yesterday, we arrived in Langkawi via ferry. We immediately took a cab to Pedang Cenang, the section of beach popular with backpackers and other budget hunters. We hit the streets looking for a place to stay, but a bunch of the guest houses were booked solid. We eventually got lucky at a motel made up of small bungalows. We're across the street from the beach and we've got our own little porch.

You can imagine our surprise then when we headed down to the beach and it was sparse: a couple of euro men in wiener-bikiners, some gorgeous Italian women tanning to a crisp and some elderly Australian couples napping in the shade of some palm trees. With the whole town booked up, where was everyone?

Well, I got my answer when I went down at sunset and the place was hopping. Most Malaysians are Muslim (which became even more pronounced once we left the diversity of Penang). They're also smart enough to stay inside during the hottest part of the day. It wasn't till the temperatures cooled that families flooded the beach. Boys scampered around causing mischief, banana boats dotted the horizon and women in head-to-toe cover went swimming fully clothed.

For dinner, we walked down the town's main strip until we happened upon a large seafood restaurant bustling with families and couples of every stripe. The place was packed out, so we knew it would be good. We ended up splurging on a spectacular meal of tiger prawns (the size of kittens) with fried garlic and chili sauce, whole fish steamed with ginger and asparagus with garlic. We washed it all down with ice cold draft beer.

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