07.01.2009 34 °C
It is never easy to paint a vivid picture of an idyllic setting; to capture the sights, sounds and scents of a truly exotic location; to put into words the awe and excitement of a really magical place.
Naturalist David Attenburgh probably does it better than anyone else and this is how he might describe our current situation.
"In the heart of the Malaysian jungle, under a relentlessly burning sun, we trek into a coconut fringed oasis. An emerald watering-hole fed by a fifty-foot high cascade of cool clear spring water is home to a myriad of lizards, toads and other aquatic life. Troupes of mischievous macaque monkeys are never far away, and the fern covered trees are alive with the alarm calls of mynahs and other exotic birds. A couple of clumsy toucans clatter overhead in the canopy. A tiny weaver bird is painstakingly weaving an intricate nest in the palm fronds above us in hopes of attracting a mate. Sea eagles circle effortlessly overhead; kept aloft by thermals of dense humid air rising from the perpetually moist jungle. Fluffy cumulus clouds form rapidly in the heat of the day then evaporate into thin air before our eyes. Banyans, bamboos and a dozen varieties of palm trees circle the pool, while lengthy liana vines snake down the rocky surface of a cliff that rises like an ancient fortress from the jungle floor and blocks our path. What mysteries lie beyond? Has mankind ever walked this path? Will Tarzan swing out of the jungle and dive into the depths? Will we fight off the fear of leaches and pirahnas and swin in this liquid Nirvana?"
Probably - Because this is actually our hotel's swimming pool.
There are no leaches or pirahnas here and the only Tarzan is the Bangladeshi pool boy who is about to swing by with a couple of icy beers and a plate of sandwiches. And when we have tired of the pool we will walk along the white sand beach to another oasis. There we will stop for a drink as the sun sets at the end of another perfect day. This is life on Langkawi - a small forested island just like Gabriola. Same - Same, but oh so very different.