Port Dickson 24th

Dave’s stomach problems returned as soon as he stopped his antibiotics, so it’s off to the doctor again!! The hotel asked us if we wanted a Chinese or Indian doctor, I said I didn’t mind as long as he could speak English.

Well he was fantastic, a lovely Indian man who took his time examining us and told us things no other doctor had. We were very impressed!

Here your doctor also is the dispensing chemist, the visit and drugs came to $100 for both of us.

 The Hindu, festival, Thaipusam starts tonight. Sadly we are two hours from the nearest procession, so won’t be able to see it.

Thaipusam is named after the star, Pusam, which is at it’s highest point during the festival. The reason for the festival is to pray to God so their bad traits are destroyed.

Grant and Cheryl were in Penang for Thaipusam last year and said it was extraordinary, men with skewers through their cheeks, or hooks in their flesh pulling heavy loads, seemingly feeling no pain. Women carry special pails of milk. They spend a month preparing for it, fasting, celibacy, chanting and praying to become ready for this gruelling feat.

Where Grant and Cheryl wee there was an extra twist, burning coconuts! Coconuts lined the street, people picked them up, lit them and threw them onto the ground where they exploded! Grant had scratches and burns on his legs, Cheryl was more sensible!

Our taxi driver told us this morning that there is an Australian man who has been in the procession with skewers through his cheek, and he has done it over twenty times!

Dave's just told me thet three people were killed by the crowd at the festival, run over by a car as they were on their way to the Batu Caves.

The traffic lights are a bit different here, they tell you how many seconds are left before they change colour, useful to know if you are approaching a green light and wondering if you are going to get through, should you slow down ready to stop, or not?

This is one of our security guards in his smart uniform. All the staff here have been very friendly and obliging, they great us with a smile and their right handover their heart in a gesture of friendship.

Sunday 24th January

This is our last day here, and we are sorry we are leaving, it has been a lovely hotel to stay in, especially during the week when there are less guests.

There is an assault course next to the hotel something I have always wanted to do, Dave has a stronger sense of self- preservation, and tries to talk me out of it, says I will break something and he’ll end up having to push me around in a wheelchair again!

The manager says we can use it for free, as they usually cater for large groups, and it’s just the two of us, so we went this morning.

We were strapped in to a harness, and given a helmet and gloves, showed how to use the carabiners  [safety clips] on the wires, and off we set.

The first section was a ropewalk with ropes to hold onto either side, so far so good, made it to the first tower without a problem.

I was leading and as I stepped onto the next section of rope, it stretched down about a meter, which was a little disconcerting. This section had a steeper incline, and handholds on one side only. We also had to negotiate in front of tyres, whilst pulling out carbiners and safety rope up hill behind us, not so easy and very strenuous.. Plus we were much higher off the ground.

When I reached the next tower I looked up at the next section, it was a single rope to hold either side, and a single rope suspended from one side to the other, with no anchor points, so as it was stepped on it would move.

This is where I chickened out and was belayed down to terra firma.

To my surprise Dave decided to have a go!!

He was almost doing the splits as he stepped from one rope to the next, but he made it!!

We hadn’t had breakfast that morning, and it was very hot, and it all got to me, I felt dizzy and light headed, and lay on the ground till I felt a bit better, much to the concern of our guides.

Dave insisted I put in this photo.

Lucky it hadn’t happened up in the air!!

I felt a big wuss, especially as it had been my idea!! Still I have done it now, and the first part had been fun!

Our guide said we were the oldest, by ten years, to have done this course. They were a bit concerned at how pale I still looked, so kindly took us to our hotel on the back of their motorbikes.