DAY 42:GOOD BYE PANANG-The Jellyfish and me
So I left Cameron Highlands and headed to the southwest coast, to a town called Georgetown, which is situated on the island of Penang.
At Georgetown, an old British colony I got my Indonesian visa fixed for 2 months, yess!!! In order to do so you need 1 photo and an outbound ticket, which I bought for the 22 june, so I will probably arrive at the north-west of Indonesia, at Sumatra around the 24th of April and make my wat south East,through Java, Bali and Lombok, where my intention is to chill out and surf for a while :).
If anybody doesn’t know what to do on vacations from April to June and you like the idea of hopping from island to island, I am the one to check with!
About Penang: First town you will arrive is Georgetown, ferry is almost free to go there, 1.2 ringets, it is nothing special, excepting the fact that food here is terrific, it is renowned in Malaysia because of this…besides this it is the 2nd most important city in Malaysia. The center of town has its little india and china towns, but there is not much to do neither…we stayed at the dorm at the blue diamond hotel, an old hotel, but very big and spacious, the dorms are in the middle of the second floor, it is not a room, I think it is like a big hall where there are beds and a wardrobe per bed, highly recommended as it is cheap and the hall is huge, they play as well all the nights live music!
From here, Rene (a Danish boy I met at Cameron Highlands), Aline (a French girl we met at the hotel at Georgetown) we took a local bus and headed towards Teluk Bahan, around 1 hour by local bus, this place is the town just at the entrance of Penang national park, and there are several beaches…
And here is when I will tell you the story about me and the jellyfish…well…so that you know, my relationship with jellyfish comes from a long long time ago, when I was a kid in the basque country, and in one of those beaches when I was in the water I saw the most beautiful creature I had ever seen in my life: it was translucent, with pink purple and blue colors all over it, it looked like an octopus but by far more sublime…I was fascinated by it, seeing how it elegantly floated in front of me…and I couldn’t resist myself…I had to touch it….and well, as you can probably guess she touched me instead and I could not believe the electrical discharge that I suffered!!! I still remember…it is one of this memories that I keep about my infancy.
Well, this time, the three of us plus an english guy called David that we met at the hostel at Teluk Bahan (if you go to penang come here, there is only ahandful of westerners, it is very relaxed and it is out of the tourist track, we stayed at Lohs Guest house which was a heaven of peace, we had a huge garden and the bathroom was very very nice), we headed towards the national park.
At the national park our intention was to go to Turtle beach and after that reach the last beach we were told it was very very nice, I don’t remember how it was called but for now and by reasons that you can probably guess we will call it fucking-far-away beach.
So there we went, again following small paths through the Malaysian jungle at the national park, nice and happy, without having the faintest Idea of what was going to happen…
and we arrived after an hour and a half to Turtle beach. My body temperature was high, and I thought that having a little bath would be a good idea before continuing to fuckingfaraway beach. So there I go, with Aline, into the water, and about 50m inside, I fill this indescribable electric discharge in my right arm. spontaneously I try to move in the opposite direction, and then it is when I fill like 100 whips from hell burning me on my belly, I couldn’t believe it, so painful it was and I could not see where the hell was the jelly fish as the water was not clear….
I go swimming, praying not to come again over a jellyfish on my way to the shore and I get to the beach, full of pain, trembling….I make my way to where my things are, I here a laugh, I fell the pain…I look…my left arm, my stomach,my kidneys, and my right arm covered in red, with stripes of bubbles over it by the jelly fish sting…
I start thinking, I try to serenate myself, my muscles in my body stiff from theneuro toxic poison, which I knew it was far more than any time I had been stung by a jelly fish, also the fact of not knowing what type of jelly fish it was (depending on the type the poison is worse) and that I had been stung on top of vital organs, which will probably make the poison get spread faster made me feel the gravity of the circumstances…
what to do what to do…David gives me some anti burning gel he had with him, which I apply on my stomach. It was hard to breath, I was feeling a lot of pain, but the idea of staying on that way 1hour and a half away by jungle paths from the office point of the national park makes me take the decision of start walking back (I also thought that doing this will make the poison spread more quickly, but I thought it was better than just staying on the beach seeing what happens with my body), so that somebody can offer me medical attention.
So I start walking back, I cannot take my bags as I have pain all over my body trunk, David takes my camera, Rene takes my bag….I go full speed way back through the jungle track, a lot of things going on my mind, I was feeling pain, my muscles were stiff on my body trunk, It was hard to breath, I knew this was because of the neurotoxic poison, but I couldn’t stop, I was thinking that if I fell in state of shock and somebody must come for me are take me back I would like to be as closer to the office as possible, so I go as fast as I can back to the office, drinking a lot of water on the way, thinking that this could make the poison effect reduce, as well as pleading to my friends to please take a peeso that I can spread it through the wounds (Ammonium is good for jellyfish stings), I couldn’t pee myself as my muscles were stiff…
around 20 minutes later David gives me a bottle with his pee (and what a peeman, he more than half filled a bottle of 1.5 litters of water) which I splash it all around my stomach and arms, by this time I am a mad man walking through the jungle with a liter of pee over me…adrenalyne at its peak, so much it was high for the rest to keep my rhythm…Aline at my side, giving me water, the only one that could keep the rythm at my side.
In 45 min or less we arrived to the office, less than half the time it took us to make it to turtle beach, half of the way back I already feel much more better, the pain was there but I thought that if it was not getting worse so that was a good signal.
When I reach the office, I tell my story, and you know what they tell me?? “APPLY GREEN PAPAYA”.
FUCK YOU. I thought.
So they take me to the hospital clinic of the town, where I receive treatment against the pain, they inject me anti poison, and they send me home with a bunch of painkillers in one hand and antipoison pills in the other. I tried to hug the doctor but he wouldn’t let me.
Those painkillers and the antipoison they gave me did a really excellent job. The following day I had tattooed in jellyfish ink the map of Indonesia in my belly and low stomach, but I was feeling so well that I could even lay down over my belly.
I even went back trekking to now feared turtle beach, and we tried to reachfuckingfaraway beach, the path was very hard, and we got lost at the very end, making the last 100m off track in the jungle, 100 m took us around 1 hour,mangroves all over the place, bushes with thorns, jumping over trees, and all this without seeing anything. We really tasted what being in the jungle means. You don’t see anything 5 m away you. It is impossible to orientate yourself, the only thing that kept us going was the sound of the waves in the nearby butinvisible beach.
At the end we made it to the beach, which was a little bit disappointing as it was full of rubbish, we felt ashamed for the people that are not able to understand the beauty of nature, of keeping clean their own patrimony, their own national park…there were garbage cans a couple of meters away! So sad.
We head back early, as we were tired and we had to find the correct track back, we were a little bit scared as the way to that beach had been so hard…it took us some time, we even found a false path that took us to a filthy deeper-dodotis. We laughed so hard, we were thinking that human rubbish will lead us to the path back, and then we see this “shit bag”….
well, the way back was not so hard and we finished safely home a couple of hours later.
This place has been an incredible experience: I’ve seen jelly fish, more than I would like, I ve seen snakes, black and big, green and small (leafsnakeaccording to one of the locals), big lizards, we saw one huge going into one water irrigation channel, squirrels like monkeys climbing on the trees, felt so close to the jungle…and so out of the tourist track…with almost nobody but ahandful of 40-50 year old long time inhabitants at the guest house and almost no foreigners in the town…
take care guys, now it is time to go to a beach with out jelly fish, I am on the way to the Perhentian Islands at the north east coast.