Friday, January 13, 2012

Christmas in Langkawi, Malaysia

The prospect of celebrating Christmas in the shipyard sent me to tears every time I contemplated it. Without the available funds to fly home to be with family, we instead opted for the next best thing - to take public transport up to Langkawi Island where Nick and Jan from Yawarra 2 are anchored. The trip up took 9.5 hours in a car, two buses, a taxi and a ferry. Malaysians get one day off for Christmas because it fell on a Sunday so everything was full-on busy. Some buses were full and we ended up waiting for long periods but it all worked out in the end and it was fantastic to meet up with family here. We celebrated with sunset drinks onboard Yawarra II in the beautiful Kuah anchorage.
Nick arrives to collect us from the beach in Langkawi
Christmas Eve was fun with Nick and Jan hiring a tiny car (for only 40RM) so they could fill up their diesel jerry's and we could see some of the island. We explored winding roads and popped into places that caught our eye. The Galleria Perdana was incredible. It showcases the gifts, awards and souvenirs received by the fourth Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad from world leaders during his tenure. The gallery/museum is huge and we could have easily spent an entire day there. 

Stunning ceilings in the Galleria Perdana
We also really enjoyed the craft and arts centre where we were lucky enough to observe glass blowers making sculptures and a Batik painter at work. The glass blowers worked together almost as if performing a dance as they moved to and fro from the glowing hot furnace wielding molten glass tipped steel rods. They all wore thongs or sandles which shocked us and upon asking about it, one of them explained that the molten glass just burns right through shoes so it makes no difference! The Batik painter was a soulful guy who said that the (gorgeous) images he painted were all stored in his mind. I envy the dreams he must have.

Amazing local Batik artist shows us his techniques
Freshly made glass swan. He made it look so easy!
About 30 yachties gathered together onboard Sunflower for a Christmas Eve party. Rene and I were definitely the youngest attendants and kept being reminded so by people saying 'oh, don't worry about it, you're so young!'. We are the age of most yachties children and to them, we must seem so young and youthful. To us, we are getting older by the minute and need to start getting serious! 
Christmas Eve party onboard Sunflower (currently for sale)

Christmas day was fun. I upheld the Mitchell tradition of eating croissants filled with fresh mango and smoked chicken while drinking champagne for breakfast. Nick and Jan kindly gave us some Rum, chocolate and a glass rooster (our Chinese birth year symbol). Some other yachties came over for a big Christmas feast (complete with turkey and trimmings) and we all ate and drank far too much (always the sign of a good Christmas!). I only felt homesick a few times - so the strategy of getting away from boatwork to relax with family was a success!
Merry Christmas!! Champers for breakfast :)
Nick, Rene and Jan on Yawarra 2's back deck.
The buses back to Lumut were all fully booked for Boxing Day so we spent an extra day onboard Yawarra relaxing. I learnt how to play Backgammon and Rene learnt how to do Sudoku. A special connection was rekindled when Rene met some yachties who had cruised with his parents many years ago. Ginseng pulled out their guestbook and Rene got to see photos of his younger self (and parents). Looking through the book, we were struck by the difference in the cruising community now. Twenty years ago there were far more young people. Now, there are barely any. We've met about 4 boats during 5 years owned by people under the age of 50. Us sailbirds are definitely a minority!

Rene reminisces about his childhood
Langkawi is a beautiful part of Malaysia and we're so glad that we made the big overland trip to visit relatives for Christmas. We're very grateful to Nick and Jan from Yawarra 2 for being such generous hosts and doing their best to ensure we had a special time. Thanks guys!

A beautiful Boxing Day sunset in Langkawi

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos once again....we are so glad that you had special family time. Aren't you both so lucky to be doing what you are doing now?
    Seize the day - always! XO