So we’re still here at Sebana Cove. Monday we met a couple who have been here for 10 YEARS!!!!! Yikes!!! Randal asked if they had connections to the Mob in New Jersey, so that tells you what he thinks it would take to keep him here that long. Of course, we spent almost a year in Subic Bay so who are we to talk. Everything cruising just takes longer, or you find paradise and stay, or you paint your deck and 2 minutes later it rains really pissing you off about the entire place so you leave 2 days later as happened to our friends Elizabeth and Patrick. Oh, they were planning on leaving soon, but rain on his painted deck just pushed Patrick right along.
Other than finally getting back on our bikes and riding several times each week, taking the marina van to town 2 or 3 times a week, or our occasional trip to Kota Tinggy we really don’t do anything. Really. We read and walk a bit, less now that we bike, and Randal bakes apple pies. There is truly not much else to do. Actually, right now I am watching people walk back from the pool because there is a man wearing the tiniest bathing suit I have ever seen that isn’t on a woman. He is our age too! I must say from my very unscientific study that Americans and Asians wear the most bathing attire and Europeans wear the least. Very unscientific study.
A week ago, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Randal and I took the bus to Johor Bahru just to have something different to do and to go book shopping. It’s a very easy trip. The marina van takes you out to the main road about 8:10 am and you wait the hour for the bus to come from Sengai Rengit on its way to Kota Tinggy and then on to Johor Bahru. Since once or twice the bus has come by at 8:30, the marina trucks you out there really early. You can gamble and go later, which we did on our second trip to JB today (another story.) In our experience the bus comes right on time at 9 am. The wait feels like forever because there’s no place to sit and no shelter from the sun; luckily we haven’t had to go in the rain.
Randal at the bus stop. You just flag down the bus and they drop us off here when we return.
The only thing to do while you wait is stand around and watch for the bus, stand around and try to read while you watch for the bus, or stand around and watch the monkeys run in and out of the road for reasons only a monkey could know since no human watching has been able to figure it out.
The bus ride itself is very pleasant with roomy comfortable seats, air conditioning, no overcrowding and the buses are clean. The ride takes about 2 hours.
When we arrived at the bus terminal in Johor Bahru we checked on the bus schedule home and the Maraliner agent wrote out the hours for us and a scrap of paper. Then it was a quick lunch at McDonalds where they have grilled chicken “cutlets” on pita bread. At a bus terminal it is often wise to stick with what you know. While we were eating Randal called to see if our friend Jerry Wallace was still in Johor Bahru. Jerry lives in Zhuhai, China and we know him from our boat yard days. He was our host for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years while we were in China. Jerry was still in JB (work related) so it was fitting that we would be with him again for Thanksgiving. Though it wasn’t our usual budget type hotel, since Jerry was staying at the Puteri Pacific and helped us get a better rate, we stayed at the Puteri Pacific www.puteripacific.com The best part was that we got to spend time with Jerry and that was the best part of our visit. Jerry is in the boat business so he and Randal had lots to talk about and I could tune in and out without insulting anyone. The taxi fare from the bus terminal to the hotel was 10 ringits. Everywhere it town it was 10 ringits, just like in Kota Kinabalu. I don’t know if all major Malaysian cities are like that, but so far the 2 we have been in have similar policies. Jerry met us in the lobby and we sat and had coffee and chatted for a bit. Our room wasn’t ready so I left my pack at the front desk while Jerry took us to the 2 large malls closest to our hotel. We had told him we wanted to buy books so he showed us the 2 in the mall. Then he went off to his work and Randal and I spent some time browsing. It wasn’t a huge selection, and I hate to pay much for fiction, but we did come away with several books each.
Randal writing his name, date and Johor Bahru in all of the books he bought.
What Randal bought: 1.The Edge of Evolution by Dr. Michael J Behe because it was the only thing he could find about Darwin. He had just finished Evolution’s Captain about the captain of the H. M S. Beagle who had invited Darwin along for the ride. 2. Mayflower A Voyage to War by Nathaniel Philbrick because we had liked Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea. 3.The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester because it was written by Winchester and because it was about China. 4. Memo to the President by Madeleine Albright because he had read her memoir Madam Secretary. 5. The Souvenir A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War by Louise Steinman because it was about WWII and I had read it years ago and liked it. I bought The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch the Professor who died from pancreatic cancer but gave this one last lecture, Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell who was Bronte’s contemporary. I also bought What Came Before He Shot Her an Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley mystery because it was only 17.50 ringits and I like her writing. I have already read it and passed it along.
We returned from the mall, checked in and around 6:30 met Jerry to go off for dinner. We went off to George and Dragon run by Brits because Randal wanted BEEF!!! I had fish. Then we returned to the hotel where we had dessert in the restaurant. I had pistachio cake!
Wednesday morning we met Jerry in the hotel dining room for breakfast which comes with the room. There was enough food and variety of food to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner no matter if you were Americans, Asians, or Indians. I tried to be good, and actually had a made to order omelet and some guava juice and tea. But there was spaghetti, salad, food you would find at a dinner buffet in a Chinese restaurant in the States. You name it, it was there. Breads, pancakes, pastry, fruits…..The second morning I had some wonderful bread, some sweet green stuff to spread on top (along with peanut butter) and more juice. Lots of tea.
On Wednesday we just kind of wandered around. We tried to walk over to the waterfront causeway that goes to Singapore, but there was no way to cross a major highway. So then we walked back towards the hotel through the Indian section looking for an Internet Cafe. We spotted one but was told by the owner that he didn’t open till 1pm. It was just about 10 am. He told us City Center Mall had Internet access. And it may very well have. But after wandering through its 4 floors and asking several folks we finally found what might have been an Internet Cafe, but it too was closed. We wandered some more and found a small Indian run mall and there was an open Internet Cafe. I say Indian because sections are Chinese and some are Indian and some are Malaysian….
It was too sunny to get a good photo of this Hindu temple just down the street from our hotel. You could see it looking out of our window on the 8th floor.
You can see the temple reflected in the shop window.
Clothes in the malls were a mix of New York, Bombay, and fashions of the Muslim world. I just wandered around while Randal opted to stay at the hotel and read. That was fine since the mall was a 5 minute walk from the hotel and I could easily go alone. I tried on a few things, but the dress didn’t fit and the skirt was too short ending just above my ankles; but the reject Crew t-shirts were just fine. There was a shop that sold rejects or seconds. My crew shirts were fine. I had come with only sleeveless shirts and was cold so bought some really light weight t-shirts. I could have shopped more and wish Randal had come; he actually does need some new shorts. I never did find stores selling bathing suits though Jerry assures me one is there. And though the clerk was totally patient, I gave up in the sneaker store.
A man having his fortune told on the sidewalk.
After Randal and I used the Internet we tried to walk to a different part of the waterfront, but it was rather derelict so we walked back to city center. It was hot and I was thirsty and it was close to lunch so we ate in a Fridays. Not great. Then I wanted to see the Sultan Ibrahim Building which Randal had vetoed earlier in the day in favor of the derelict waterfront. So I sent him back to the hotel to read and I went alone. I knew I could get there because we had passed it and I could see it. You know what this is leading to, don’t you? I’ll leave you in suspense for the next email.