Sunday, October 23, 2011

Langkawi, Malaysia: Day 3

After another breakfast at the hotel, we left to go on a boat tour. We rented a speedboat and driver, and drove through the smaller islands and channels, first stopping to see sea eagles diving for fish, and then anchoring the boat near a coral reef where we went snorkeling.

It was my first time snorkeling, and although I was scared at first, B taught me how to use the fins and soon I got the hang of it. It was really amazing to see fish just swimming merrily around, that I had only seen in aquariums before. I am not well-versed enough in tropical fish to identify all the types, but they were in a whole rainbow of colors and patterns. There were also jellyfish floating along, which was really interesting to see.

Unfortunately, just as I was finishing snorkeling, I tried to readjust my face mask and instead had an accident. Somehow one of my contacts came out of place and got stuck under my eyelid. I tried to remove it but was not able to, and began to freak out a little bit. Something about having a foreign body lodged in your eye is just really horrible. We had to return to the hotel, where B flushed out my eye with saline. But the eye was hurting quite a bit, and I wasn't sure that the contact was gone, so I went off to the doctor, leaving B, his father and little R at the hotel.

I first went to the local clinic, but the doctor there was not at all equipped to help me, and sent me to the hospital (there is only one in Langkawi, as it's rather remote). There I paid 50 ringgits (about $16) and waited for hours to be seen. There was no crowd (it was almost empty); they are just really inefficient because it's not a first world country.

Finally I saw the doctor (who was ethnically Chinese because the Chinese dominate everything in Malaysia despite being a minority; they are sort of like the Jews of SE Asia, including the prejudice that goes along with that). He flushed out my eye again and examined me. The contact was gone but I had an abrasion on my cornea (explaining the pain). I received some eye drops (included in the price) and went back to the hotel. Medical care outside of the US is so incredibly cheap.

Little R was in good spirits, having just woken from her second nap, but B's father was sulking because he didn't get to do tourist things (he wanted to visit the handicraft centre). He had not done this the previous day, as then he was sulking about being single (why we got to be by ourselves). This was silly because 1. he could have visited it while I was gone, since B was there to watch little R and 2. I offered to skip eating so that he could go (it was around 4 pm). But he refused as he preferred to feel aggrieved at my inconsideration in getting injured. He and B had ordered food from room service (poor B, he hates eating at hotels) and humorously he had saved me his tiny little salad (like 1/3 cup of lettuce) and offered it to me as if he was doing me a great favor. Very ridiculous.

So B, little R and I left him and got lunch nearby, which was quite good. I love all the coconut flavoring used in Malaysian cooking. We returned at around 5:30, checked out of the hotel, and then went to the nearby harbor to get B's father a drink (he has a drinking problem and needs to be regularly supplied with liquor or he gets grumpy and anxious). Looking at all the expensive boats (he owns a sailboat and likes to think about how that makes him cool) while having a couple glasses of wine soothed him, and he became cheerful again.

Just as it was time to go to the airport, it began to rain torrentially. I ran out to find a cab, and got soaked, but found one and we drove through the downpour to our flight home. We arrived at our house around 10 pm, put little R to bed, and had takeout from the nearby Taiwanese restaurant.

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