Saturday, 4 April 2009

Free Things

While we were in Malaysia we had a run of freebies - and we all know that free things are the best things!

A Free Night's Accommodation

After leaving the Cameron Highlands we got a bus from Ipoh to Jeteh (for the Perhentian Islands). The Bus was due to arrive at Jeteh at 5am.

It didn't. It arrived at 2am.

Everywhere in Jeteh was closed, except for one glowing beacon of hope.

Seven/Eleven. (That's a 24hour convenience store a bit like a Spar).

All the guesthouses were locked up, all the lights were out everywhere, all there was was a Seven/Eleven.

So, in true hobo style, we got comfy on the steps of Seven/Eleven.

Getting comfy wasn't easy because there were millions of green fly.

To stop the irritation of the green fly I took the following preventative steps:
  • Sun glasses
  • Scarf over face
  • Cagoule with hood drawstrings pulled tight
  • Cagoule with sleeves velcroed tight
  • Socks tucked into trousers.
With these steps in place, I managed to get a couple of hours shut-eye.

Throughout the night the customers at Seven/Eleven laughed at me lots - there i was with my scarf over my face.

It was a safe place to sleep, the shop workers inside knew we were there and kept an eye on us, and the constant stream of customers in and out throughout the night also looked after us too.

Free Snorkel Hire

When we arrived at Mira Beach on the Perhentian Islands the lovely Azaha (the owner of the beach) allowed us to hire snorkels for free.

For everyone else this was a one pound per day luxury, but for us it was purely free! And we made the most of this freebie with lots of snorkelling and fish spotting.

Free Boat Ride to the Fishing Village

On our first day at Mira we were kindly taken to the Fishing Village.

Had we wanted to do this ourselves it would have been a 2 pound taxi ride. But we jumped in with the guys for the daily "supplies" trip.

It was nice to see a few more beaches on the island and nice to see the village too. Free boat ride, woop!

Free Snorkel Trip

Snorkelling trips from Mira Beach cost about a tenner. However, the lovely Azaha took us on his boat for an hours snorkelling near the lighthouse.

This was some good snorkelling.

We saw loads of cool fish, including Clown Fish and Parrot Fish, and lots of beautiful fish whose names I just don't know. There were ever some cool swordfish type things, these were a little scary at first but actually turned out to be very placid.

Free Trip half way to the Border

The day we left Mira Beach, Azaha was on his way to the city to give a guided tour. He offered to take us part way to the border so that all we would need to do would be catch one bus to the Thai border.

Had he not offered the lift we would have had to get three different buses which would have meant lots of waiting. Azaha was/is a legend.

Another Free Night's Accomodation

The hospitality, kindness and free stuff continued to flow as we made our way into Thailand.

We had spent the best part of the day on the train and arrived at Surat Thani (the port to access Koh Tao) at 11pm.

We arrived at a hotel and the owner showed us up to the reception, but did not realise that the hotel was in fact fully-booked.

I looked to see a group of travellers sitting on a sofa in the reception area: "Can we sleep there?" I asked hopefully. "Yes" was the response from the owner. Get in! Another free night! And it was incredibly peaceful and quiet, and it even had a fan. Bonus.

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We haven't had any free things in the last few days. But we certainly had a good run of freebies. As the song goes the: "Best Things In Life Are Free". Except... well, maybe sleeping outside a Seven/Eleven isn't one of the greatest things in life. But at the time, and in that place it was great.

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