44. Small Miracles

Small Miracles: After Kuala Lumpur, we decided on a one-night novelty trip to the National Firefly Park on Malaysia’s marshy southwest coast. The Lonely Planet guidebooks, which we probably are relying on too heavily, have hundreds of these tempting little out-of-the-way stopovers. And when you’re sitting, reading about them in a cafe or comfortable hotel room, they always sound lovely. “Hundreds of different species of fireflies lighting up the entire sky!,” they wrote. “I dunno, we really just want to head straight for the beaches,” we said. “It’s easy to get there! And the closest village is incredibly charming!” they wrote. “But Amy’s starting to come down with a cold. Also, we’re pretty lazy,” we said. “Way off the beaten tourist track! Precious memories!,” they wrote. So we went for it. Suckers!

The fireflies were cool. They filled and lit the trees of the park, blinking with the kind of synchronized precision normally reserved for the rooftop Christmas light displays of our fathers. What was not cool was the ridiculous transportation hassle we created for ourselves by spending one night “way off the beaten tourist track.” Shortly after we landed in this tiny little firefly town, Amy’s cold getting worse by the minute, we found out that it was going to take a taxi ride, three different long distance buses, a ferry and another taxi to get to our next stop. Factor in the Malaysian fondness for relaxation/tardiness and that meant eight hours of traveling for a trip that should only take two. We set an early alarm, took some Advil, headed for the bus station at sunrise.

Not knowing which bus we should take first, we started playing Broken English Charades with all of the bus drivers at the station. Strike one, strike two and then out of nowhere, a man with much better English asks us where we want to go. Lumut. No bus to Lumut, he says, but he has a friend with a taxi who’ll take us all the way for 100 Ringgits. We start following him towards a taxi.

Sloan: Wait a second – did you happen to see where this guy came from?
Amy: No.
Sloan: I mean he just appeared out of nowhere, right. Nothing is this easy!

But as it turns out, it was. Sort of. Helpful mystery man put us in a taxi with a driver who decided after 20 minutes that he didn’t want to take us all the way to Lumut. So this first guy pulls over, calls another taxi, and sits down for a coffee and a smoke. We join him, bizarre conversation about Tiger Woods ensues. Second Guy finally shows up and agrees to take us all the way, for a slightly higher price. We agree, because Amy’s just taken some cold medicine and she’s slurring her speech now. But wait – After 30 minutes in his taxi, Second Guy decides he doesn’t want to go all the way either, and he actually pulls into a bus station to ask if there’s a bus he can put us on. No. There was no bus to be found, but Amy did manage to find her inflatable neck pillow and a couple of soothing zinc lozenges. Two hours later, we’re swimming in the turquoise waters of the Strait of Malacca. Who’s the sucker now? I don’t know, but Amy’s going to kill me for putting this picture up.

 

  1. furey says:

    where did you pick up those sunglasses? too sexy.

  2. Erin says:

    Amy, you look too peaceful and glamorous to be sick. humina humina….

  3. marie says:

    looks like a comfy cab