Langkawi Grand Tour

© 2011 Tiago Marques

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” ~ Lance Armstrong

Journal, 20 December 2011. Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia.


We spend the entire day cycling around the island. The rental bikes are in pitiful condition and are particularly uncomfortable in the seats. I jokingly nickname mine “The Nutcracker”. The joke doesn’t last long.

Several stops in bars and resorts along the way for some hydration. The landscape is breathtaking, as soon as we leave the more commercial area the island proves to be spectacular. And the air feels fresh and clean – a dramatic improvement from the sewer vents in Cenang.

Later in the afternoon we have a stop for some swimming and a refreshing smoothie. Gilles gets on his Santa Claus costume one more time for a photo shoot with some monkeys. To each his own craziness, but man, I’m not going anywhere near those damn things

Dusk approaches quickly as we make our way back. Enjoying a quick dinner at a roadside restaurant, I send a text message to my ex-girlfriend’s father, Vladimir, to wish him a happy birthday… Touched by the gesture, he replies with an endearing message. A pity our families have now gone separate ways, but there’s no stopping the sands of time…

The journey back to Cenang seems to take a million years, mostly because of the excruciating pain in my crotch. Each bump on the road feels like a kick in the nuts.

Damn cheap rental bikes. Gotta learn how to drive a scooter or something one of these days.

“Goodness gracious, great balls of fire…”


Pitch black night by the time we arrive. We pass by the guesthouse to get my passport, stop by the travel agency to book the ferry to Thailand tomorrow morning and drop the bikes back at the shop.

Christmas in Koh Lipe?… Or maybe Koh Lanta? I’ll decide later on.

Guesthouse. Shower. Gilles uses my netbook to video Skype his parents, it’s his mom’s birthday today… I get a couple of texts from some CouchSurfers in the area asking if we want to meet for drinks tonight but I’m too tired to go out again.

I fall asleep like a rock.


• Having stayed an extra day in Langkawi to explore the island instead of leaving immediately to Koh Lipe.
• Gilles’ company and high spirits.
• Being healthy and fit.
• As soon as my balls stop aching with every heartbeat, I’ll be grateful for that too…

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