Monday, June 8, 2015

Beyond words: Langkawi

(..Continued from Part 1)
Eagle Square: Langkawi

In the wee hours of the morning, war waged between the screaming alarm out and the somnolent eye slits. Sleep flexed its muscles and it brutally annihilated that pestering alarm, for that wretched thing was put off for good. What followed later at the time of waking up was a mini skirmish with time again and it seemed that the previous battle with the alarm had not been a prudent one. We ran: to freshen up, hit the swimming pool, scavenge the breakfast spread and catch the last morning boat to the pier. Yes, even in this maniacal race we had to hit the swimming pool here. Skipping it is not an option. Once you are here and have experienced its splendor: the beach, sea nearby and the in-pool bar, there is no way you are going to skip it any day. Once the boat brought us from the island to the pier, we hired a bike.

Driving through Langkawi on your own is highly recommended. If you can brave the tropical sun a bit and pray to all Gods against rain, a two wheeler is highly recommended over hiring a car. I love bikes, but those automatic bikes/ scooters with smaller tires scare the living daylights out of me. I announced my trepidation publicly and Sona gladly hopped on to the rider’s seat with me at the back.  The ride is mesmerizing. You witness lush green, thickly tree scented air and keep anticipating as to what a spectacle the next turn will bring for you. 

The Langkawi ropeway was a pain. The agonizing line here is to blame for the pain. The websites, travel blogs and tripadvisor did counsel us to pre-book the cable car online. However, this fact was too much for my cache memory, which historically has shown poor performance in such rushed mornings. So here we were, in the bright sun: in the perennial queue that refused to slither on. So here’s what we did: We braved on the sun to excavate our tickets and got the slot for late afternoon. Then, we returned to our dear M-80 Major look-alike-Yamaha and zipped off to the ‘Seven Hills Waterfall’ which was located nearby; according to the map. It is quite a steep trek from the parking – fact corroborated by our screaming knees (the next day). Here Sona had a dreamy time taking a dip in the fresh waters.
Seven Hills Waterfall

Dipping in @ Seven Hills Waterfall..

We then visited the crocodile farm. I am not sure if I can recommend this as a ‘must visit place’, but we definitely had a good time. The Crocs, slimy as they are, do make your spine shiver more than once, but the farm is overall a pleasant place with a lot of variety and numbers to offer. Another place worth a visit is the Eagle Square, which is the town center. Although there’s not much to do here.

Piling up: Crocodile park

We hit the local cafeteria at the Crocodile park and Sona popped up a question which was becoming kind of obvious now: “Where are all the local men? Why do I see only women working everywhere?”. This is quite a deep and powerful question- in a good sense. This question came to us as all the places we had visited (mostly servicing front ends: shops, ticket counters, etc.), were manned (or woman-ned perhaps?) by women. Remember, Malaysia’s population comprises predominantly of a Muslim population, and many nations with similar concentrations are known not to be very conducive in terms of liberty and working environment for women. With so many women working, Malaysia has truly set an example not just for radical nations or the developing countries, but even the developed ones of the world (I refer to this- related article from a recent Economist edition). We both were very impressed by the equality maintained in both unskilled and skilled work domains. We are well versed with the term “women empowerment” thanks to our national jester back home in India (#RahulSpeaksToArnab), and it is good to see more of results than talk here in Malaysia. 

After time well spent at both these places (Seven hills waterfall and Croc park), we headed back to the ‘Oriental Village’- where the Langkawi ropeway originates. There is quite a lot to do here at the oriental village including all the fun and frolic of a fair, such as shopping, joy-rides, eateries, etc. By the time we reached the cable car, I was quite fed up of the queues (which were a reminiscence of my home country). Thankfully, the view cheered us up. There are two legs to the journey (roughly of about 15 minutes each), with the famous Skybridge at the last leg. The SkyCab (gondolas) propel you to an altitude of 708 m covering an impressive distance of around 2.2Km. The temperature here is at least 5 degrees cooler than the island with great winds. The sight at the top is beyond what my vocabulary can attempt to describe.
The ropeway is a scary affair: Trust me!

SRK pulled off some stunts here in Don2; Today it's Sona
Skybridge: The First to catch your attention is the architecture of the bridge: a curved suspension, the balance proves that is a marvel in structural engineering. The spectacle plays games with you. There is a visual game played by the surroundings (which means the whole of Langkawi); the far sea challenges you to pin point that blue of the horizon, where the sky melts into the sea. It gives a moment to witness and appreciate the elements, the expanse of land far below, the fresh cool wind in your face, the sky, the passionate sea; with little violent territories spread over.

Through some unseen powers, all of them seem to be whispering in my ear, my head: gently reminding me of what I am- a tiny speck in the lap of nature. It is a pristine place where you could possibly get lost in the depth of your own soul, where we felt beating of our hearts in midst of howling winds. At any moment of time there are little and big nagging things trapped inside us, all the shackles of the daily life, and here, the free winds magically liberated us.

Another thing I witnessed here was Infinity: Here, in the vast expanse of nature seemed to have perhaps extended time into another dimension, our senses working to soak in everything they could. And when we did come out of this trance to reality, I immediately knew what infinity is. That moment: out there was something that Sona and I will remember forever; no matter how time treats us in various circumstances.

Some ask me: How was Langkawi different?

I sat on that question for a few days, pondered on and could not conclude. Now, I attempt to answer it in my own way.

Kuala Lumpur & Singapore are those Linkin Park tracks or even the trashy Bollywood hit tracks topping the charts (including the crass called Honey Singh of course). Like those tracks, you love Singapore or Kuala Lumpur as they have been certified by the public. There is a lot to talk about them in your circles and make a point that you’ve been there, done that, etc.

We move on to Hans Zimmer’s compositions. They may not be the mainstream hits and more often than not, they are missed out by us. However- unknowingly, they have been the most critical factor for stirring emotions in the Gladiator, Man of Steel, Inception & the Dark Knight trilogy. 
The manner in which Hans Zimmer’s numerous instruments work to create the emotion and add depth to the character; is comparable to none. Similar is the working of Langkawi’s elements which overwhelm you. Once here, you are in a different realm altogether. 
Never mind the obvious heat or the absence of snazzy clubs in Lagkawi, this is a place that sets you in a different frame of mind. A feeling where you may witness clam, quietude and the perfect setup for breathing in the beauty of the surroundings, ponder upon and play with the laws of nature. In fact, this place may make you delve deeper into yourself and the bonds you cherish. 

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