Pretty much all of our time is devoted to getting ready for our passage to the Mediterranean. That means provisioning (mostly my job) , and installing all of the new gadgets and gizmos such as our spiffy new wind indicator (all Randal’s jobs except when I have to help hold the wires or push the buttons.) Thankfully our friend Roger from WingsNStrings went up our mast to help install the wind indicator. He seems comfortable up there and Randal doesn’t and I don’t know how to do wiring even if I would go up which I can’t imagine….ever. We used our brand new boson’s chair and it worked like a charm and Roger came down safe and sound. That was Monday. Tuesday we went to town. Today we’ve been doing chores and laundry. Tonight we’ll go up to the Hard Dock Cafe for dinner with Peter and Kathy. And so it goes.
Shopping Day in Kuah
Caught the 8:45 ferry from Rebak to Langkasuka landing on Langkawi. It was a lovely day with blue sky. It has been pretty rainy here and our second trip to town started off in a heavy drizzle. This was our 3rd trip.
Waited our turn along with several other cruising couples to get a Mr. Din car. We had up-scaled to a 50 ringgit car because they don’t sound and act as if they’re about to fall apart as the 40 ringgit cars do. That’s a difference of about $3 US.
Lots of leg room, good AC and windows that roll up and down by hand!
It was a boxy shaped car that was great for passengers. Randal didn’t have so much room behind the steering wheel but for just two of us it felt like a luxury sedan! The smaller red car next to ours is a 40 ringgit Din car.
First stop of every shopping day is the Petronas station in nearby Matsirat because the Din cars have just enough petrol to get you from the ferry terminal to the Petronas station using the last dregs of fuel and the fumes. You see all of the other cruisers here but then everyone goes off in lots of different directions. I’ve written before about shopping in Langkawi. It isn’t a simple process. In Roanoke, even if you have to go to a mall and then, maybe Home Depot, and possibly Krogers, that’s possibly a pain, but not horrible unless you go the day before Thanksgiving, the day before Christmas, the day after Christmas, or the day they warn a winter storm is coming. In those cases the problem is fighting the crowds. Here the problem is that there are no malls for things that cruisers need, and some shops have one thing and other shops have the other thing you need. So our day went like this.
Second stop: the Canvas Man.
Randal and Nasir, The Canvas Man.
We’re having new screening made to go over our windows to keep out the bugs and mosquitoes. It actually attaches on the outside of the boat. We bought the material in Phuket. Though it is dark green, from the inside of the boat it is really no darker than regular screen so should work really well. The screens we have now really don’t work well at all. Nasir had already re-sewn our front and side awning where the thread had deteriorated.
This is our cockpit cover with the zippered opening for the flybridge ladder.
The zipper always let rain drip in and then it fell apart and then two shops tried to replace the zipper and now hopefully Nasir can fix it. Actually Randal had redesigned the opening and discussed it with Nasir who understood but thought it needed some more thinking. He knows his stuff! And is very fluent in English. The little two wheeled cart is ours. You have to carry stuff from the boat around the marina to the ferry in Rebak and then supplies back to the boat in the afternoon. The marina has what are really too small wheel barrows you can borrow to carry stuff back to the boat and, on occasion, the ferry will drop you at your own dock. But that’s rare and you have to take care of yourself.
Third Stop:The Stainless Steel Shop.
I asked Randal if he knew the Stainless Steel Man’s name and he said he didn’t even know the name of the shop! But everyone knows where it is. “You know, it’s the place at the top of the hill just before the stoplight when you drive back from Kuah to Matsirat. “
The Stainless Man speaks very little English but knows his stuff too. A teenage boy acts as an interpreter. We checked on the project Randal had ordered and it was partially completed. Randal was impressed. They have a very friendly brown dog that came to be petted while I waited in the car. She actually tried to climb in! I offered her a cracker but she just wanted attention. Finally when I got out of the car and put the cracker on a rock she picked it up to eat it. I managed to persuade her to eat several. She’d just had puppies so I figured she could use the extra food.
Fourth Stop: Paint and Hardware.
Randal is walking into the Jotun paint shop and I went next door to the hardware shop to buy bungee cords. The little clerk is learning English and bungee is a word she hadn’t yet learned. But I described it and she found them. She asked me to write the word down on a piece of paper which I did…spelling it wrong because until I just looked it up I didn’t know how to spell it. We’ll be in there again and I’ll tell her the right way.
5th stop another paint shop.
Then we drove into the center of Kuah.
6th stop bank for more money.
7th stop hardware shop to start spending the new money.
8th stop Lunch.
9th stop Chart shop for country flags for Oman and Yemen depending on our route to the Middle East, printer paper, and to check on paint.
10th stop drive around searching for an electrical shop. We found the sign for one but it had changed and become a sport fishing shop.
11th stop Joe’s Pharmacy for diarrhea meds since we’re going to India and we’ve been told it’s hard to avoid stomach issues. Joe is a really good pharmacist.
13th stop the bakery but I had too little time because Randal, back at the car after visiting a paint shop was coming right then to pick me up. I did buy a loaf of bread and some breadsticks but didn’t see any exploding birthday candles which everyone buys there. Maybe they’re out or maybe I just didn’t see them.
14th stop the Indian shop to buy cheese because that’s where Liz showed us to buy cheese the last time we were here so we do. And they’re very nice.
15th stop the grocery store across the road for 6 bags of Nescafe 3+1 coffee packets that Randal drinks, 30 + 5 in each bag. It’s instant coffee, sugar and creamer in one packet . Mr. Lim, from Macau, had given us some when we’d met on our Beijing tour years ago and Randal has used them ever since. Anyway, they’re essential and we’re not sure when we’ll have a chance to shop for them. Hopefully they sell them in Kochi (Cochin) where we will be by late January.
16th stop big grocery store/alcohol warehouse in Matsirat for some groceries and to make another list of canned goods we’ll load up on. Spinach, green beans, beans, tomatoes, some canned fruit…again because we don’t know when we’ll really provision again.
17th stop, yet another paint store as Randal looks for the paint and primer he really wants at a reasonable price. Time after that stop was 1:35pm. A ferry leaves from Langkasuka back to Rebak at 2:30 and then not again until 4:30. We usually take the 2:30 because we’re sick of running around and shopping by then. But we still had to drive up to Telaga to check on the price of an availability of fuel at the marina fuel dock. We had gotten fuel there before our trip to Thailand so we are familiar with it and know not to go during or right after the Chinese New Year Holiday. Anyway, we drove there and I thought we’d do a leisurely tour of the marina shop and maybe explore the area. But Randal was back in the car in no time so we could race back to catch the 2:30 ferry. Thankfully we actually did make it because if we’d have missed it there was nothing to do but sit for 2 hours at the ferry terminal or I guess drive back into Matsirat. But we were both tired and my sciatic leg was hurting so I’m glad that we made the ferry. We also dodged the real rain showers that had come during Randal’s final paint shop visit and then again while we unloaded the car at the ferry waiting area. The rain had moved through the area really fast so where some areas were getting soaked others had sun. The sun was out when we had to load our purchases onto the ferry. We hadn’t really bought lots so it wasn’t such an awful task to get it onto the ferry or off again and to the boat.