Tioman was a lush green island of untouched jungle and mountains as a backdrop. To make the visit even better, it was the off-season, so although many restaurants were closed, the beaches were deserted. On the downside, the beaches were narrow and rocky along the part we stayed and when we stepped into the water, we inevitably stood on sharp stones.
There’s my spoilt tourist’s ugly head appearing again. Yes, I know, the island was paradise but having spent my youth in the country with the world’s best beaches, it’s hard to be satisfied when it comes to a beach.
And just to punish me for my thoughts, my daughter was suffering from constant weakness. I decided on a second doctor visit. The first one in Sumatra was useless; possibly because of the language problem. Someone took us on his motorbike to the resort south of our beach and when the doctor told me she either had an infection or hep C, I cancelled the ferry back to Mersing. We would fly to Singapore in the morning, as we’d be close to a hospital if the medicine prescribed for an infection didn’t work.
I spent the night in the bathroom from food poisoning. The next morning, we hobbled to the airport, five minutes walk away, wearily dragging our packs. Both of us were weak and exhausted but from different causes. Because the plane was small, I discovered there was no washroom. Would I survive the half hour flight?
In front, sat a woman with a different dilemma. The tiny aircraft jerked and swayed with every air pocked and I could see her knuckles turn whiter as she gripped the seat in front. When we landed after the short ride, I leaned forward and said,
“Now you can relax.”
“I wasn’t frightened,” she snapped. No, I thought, not half.