Uppers and Downers

12 Nov 2006

Pantai Cenang, Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia

When it's good, it's very good. When it goes bad, it goes bad very fast.

We ride 20km, walk half a kilometre, and wade a few metres to stand shoulder-deep in warm green water, no one else in sight, an eagle fishing in the distance. It's a perfect moment.

Right until Lyn starts screaming.

The jellyfish brushed me as well, but I'm not allergic to them. We run back up the beach to the car park and I start looking for help. We need vinegar to neutralise the stingers, antihistamines, and possibly medical attention.

I approach a tout, who immediately offers me a boat trip to good swimming beaches with no jellyfish. It also has eagle feeding, and the captain's standing right over there, ready to sign me up.

I make jellyfish motions at the restaurant next door, certain that they'll have vinegar. The baffled waitress offers me squid at 6 ringgit per 100 grams.

A second tout immediately gives me directions to the hospital. Since the pain isn't improving, we decide to follow them. Lyn's brave enough to ride while injured, but not brave enough to let me ride for her. It's a 25-minute trip in rain hard enough to make your eyeballs hurt.

The hospital provides antihistamines and painkillers. We match them with burgers and beer back in Pantai Cenang, and the next day, we don't go to the beach.