A Travellerspoint blog

Our Polar Bear Swim

rain 26 °C

We have always felt a certain shame in not having the courage to participate in the New Year's Day plunge, so this year we decided to break the ice and throw caution to the wind. Let it be recorded that at 7.30 am on January 1st. 2009, we left our waterfront cabin and dived into the ocean off Cherating Beach, Malaysia.
Imagine our dismay when we discovered that the water was a tepid 30 degrees C. (even warmer than the bath water in the Grand Continental Hotel, Terengganu). Undaunted, we swam around for half-an-hour seeking a chilly patch. We gave up eventually, telling ourselves that we had tried and that it's the thought that counts.

We have now returned to the west coast of Malaysia - a day's drive through plantations of every kind. On Gabriola we brake for the deer and raccoons. Here we brake for monkeys, goats, water buffalo and the road-kill remains of a six-foot python. Same, same but very different.

The tropical flora is stunning with flowers and fruit of every kind. The regulars are everwhere - oranges, coconuts, pineapples, bananas and papaya - but so are exotics like star fruit, tapioca, pomelos, cashews, tea and rubber.
Now we are in Malacca - the Dutch/British trading port of southern Malaysia - with its narrow streets of colonial houses and a museum which houses the largest collection of empty display cases we have ever seen. We found room after room of empty glass cases - no exhibits and no attendants of any kind in the entire place. We still don't know if someone broke in during the night and nicked the lot, or if the curator bought a job lot of display cases and is still hunting for Malay artifacts.
Malacca, (also spelled Melaka), is a fascinating town with Portugese, Dutch and British architecture housing hundreds of Chinese and Indian stores. The only thing missing - in fact the one thing that seems to be missing throughout Malaysia - is anything Malay. We have been here for nearly two weeks and have yet to encounter Malay culture.

Tomorrow we return to Kuala Lumpur and then fly to the island of Langkawi in the extreme north. Maybe the sea will be colder there? Maybe we'll discover the true Malaysia.

Happy New Year to you all.

Posted by Hawkson 19:40 Archived in Malaysia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


H(i you two...happy new year! What a challenge you have faced....such brave souls! We joined Pat and Len in Palm Springs from Boxing Day until Jan. 1st (had a great time). Back to ice and snow ...did you know we broke a record at 116 ml. of snow for Dec.? Didn't you just pick the perfect time to be away!
luv to yo both..
Sharron & Harv

by harshar

Hi Sheila and Jim:
We wanted to do a polar bear swim here too, but unfortunately the Bow and the Elbow and all bodies of water we could find were frozen.
Maybe next year.
Love, T&G

by tboyle

I loved Mallaca... especially that street of wonderful antiquey shops. You'll enjoy Langkawi too.Keep having fun.

by LizAstill

Hi there...Just back from our wanderings and have caught up on your blog. Great to know you are having such a good time. Can relate to how exhausted you must be: we did 6 language/culture /food changes and slept in about 35 beds - most of which were pretty ropey. We also had a war thrown in...not that I am competing!!! Had a fantastic time but am actually wallowing in the comforts of home right now. (yes, well...have only been back 3 days!)

by Sharonmink

Hi Sheila and Jim...the pics are great and glad to hear you are enjoying yourselves. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Missing you but will survive till your return...love judi

by judi46

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.