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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perhentian Island, South China Sea

Today was a difficult day. I have sooo many pictures and stories from yesterday--that will thrill. However, since today was a tough day I will write about that and then post my fab stories tomorrow.
I am in the South China Sea on an Island at the Perhentian Island resort. The sea is turquoise with white sand and is alive with strange creatures, The resort is filled with bats. They fly everywhere--swooping all around me where ever I  goo--it is unnerving, they fly so close I keep thinking they're going to bump into me. Most are swallow size but one was hawk size--an enormous thing!
The speed boat trip from the mainland was terrifying. The sea was rough and I bounced out of my seat and waves splashed over me. I held on so tightly my hand went numb. Gilligans Island theme song played in my mind literally and I plotted what I'd do if we tipped over.
But the most difficult thing is the muslim culture. The jungle was ok, Kuala Lumpur was Ok but the van ride here was hard. The driver stopped at a restaurant in a rural town. It was creepy and of course muslim. The food terrified us but we ate some chicken curry from the small buffet--I got cramps from it. BTW I do not like Malaysian food. I
It was so hard to be there. Everyone stared and pointed and acted angry with us--with me. All behind my back, but pointing and complaining to management and staring. No one confronted me because they were intimidated by Peter. But all because I was in my long, chocolate brown traveling dress that is sleeveless and shows a titch of cleavage. Some weird-o drove up in a car parked across the street from the out door restaurant, rolled down his window and proceeded to take photographs of me. When I looked up and caught him, he looked sinister, rolled up his window and drove away. I tried so hard to be me. Remain proud and strong. I will fight the battle against misogyny all my life: courageously. I am not finding adequate support tonight on this jungle Island in the middle of the South China Sea. I came to Malaysia because the guide books say it is a country of three cultures muslims, chinese and Indians. But so much of the country is muslim. The women cover their heads and entire bodies despite the unbelievable heat and humidity. They are shy and timid. I will not visit the rural villages of a muslim country again  because it is too stressful when the males are perverts.
Thank-goodness Perhentian Resort is more civilized--all the tourist dress however they want and bikinis are fine.
BTW internet is so slow on this island that I don't know when I can post my unbelievable photos from the jungle!

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Blogger Miranda said...

I dont know that is is necessarily Muslim culture per se. A white woman is very visible in Asia. I spent my entire trip being followed/chased/photographed in all the countries I went to. You cannot take it personally - because it isnt. All you can do is try to ignore it. It does help to dress conservatively, not so that you wont offend, just so that you attract less attention and people leave you alone more! Stay strong!

July 6, 2010 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Sounds a bit scary in the villages! I'm off to Nelson in an hour.

July 6, 2010 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger theresa_hart said...

I'm glad you are getting some reprieve at the resort. Any suppressive cultures are frightening. I read about how the muslims in Malaysia have taken on affectations of the extreme muslims in order to distinguish themselves from and be superior to the chinese and Indian immigrants that had such deep traditions. Any kind of adopted behavior stemming from such weird motives can't be that comforting.

July 6, 2010 at 8:52 AM  

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