Sunday, June 28, 2015

On the NEW Soggy Paws in Malaysia

We flew in June 23rd from the Philippines, and stayed one night in Kuala Lumpur.

Sherry's passport was running low on blank pages, so we made an appointment to stop in at the U.S. Embassy and add pages to her passport. This was a painless but expensive process ($82 USD). We were finished by around 11:30 am, and so hopped a 1pm bus from the main downtown bus terminal, to head for Pangkor/Lumut.

We spent 3 nights in the Best Western resort/hotel here on Marina Island (steps from the boatyard), while we got things set up on board. This is supposed to be an upscale resort, but it's just a teeny bit "not right". They have a weird layout in the Condotel rooms--I can't imagine anyone actually buying them to live in. But the bed was nice, the A/C cold, the wifi free, etc. And the room only cost $47 USD per night (this is a fairly expensive room in Malaysia).

At 4 degrees N, it's pretty hot here right now, but at least we've got a pretty good breeze. We managed to rent an air conditioner from the marina, but it's turned out to be a mixed blessing. The thing is a free-standing unit that exhausts so much hot air into the room it is in, that it's not very practical. However, it did get one hull cool enough last night that we had a good night's sleep on our first night onboard. We backed it up to the the door so the hot air went out into the cockpit, and blew a fan across the cold air coming out to channel it down into the port hull. This, combined with the night coolness, worked fine. I don't know what we're going to do when Kevin arrives and is sleeping in the other hull!

This has been a pretty stressful time for us--a brand new boat with no owners manual, in a brand new country, with none of our usual cruiser support group. Like our marina in the Philippines, all the amenities of town are pretty far away. Unlike our marina in the Philippines, there is hardly anyone else living aboard, and there is no "marina shuttle" to town. We have rented a car, and with the help of Google Maps, been finding our way around.

Though the marina and the hotel take credit cards, we owe cash to a few people for services rendered. Our first hit at trying to get cash from an ATM card at the airport was unsuccessful. I tried 2 machines and 2 different debit cards, and ended up exchanging a little of our USD at the money exchange counter at the airport. So I've been stressing about how to get enough cash to pay off our debts and pay to fill up on diesel fuel (must be jugged in from the local gas station). One of the other cruisers at the marina said "Oh, Malaysia is tough for debit cards--they probably won't work." What!!!?? We have never had a problem using at least one of our debit cards in any country so far. So was panic-ing (it wouldn't be stressful except for the time pressure for us to get away from here on Weds).

So I went online to Western Union, created an account, and transferred money to myself from my bank account to "any Western Union location in Malaysia", and there were about 10 agents listed in our area. In the Philippines, there are Western Union signs all over. It seemed like a great solution, and some of the agents listed were open on Saturday afternoon. Well, after trying 3 of the listed agents, we finally gave up--couldn't find them, or anyone who knew where they might be, even though Google said we were right there. We had a similar experience trying to find the "marine store". On Monday we'll try for a bank location and see how that works out. But in the meantime, we found an ATM that worked with both cards, so we're not quite so panicky about running out of ringgits.

Fortunately, there are a couple of big modern grocery stores here, and with a car, we re starting to loaded up. This too was stressful because we are starting from almost nothing onboard--not just topping up our food supply, but starting from scratch. Though there is a very nice big freezer aboard, there refrig is about half the size of CSY Soggy Paws', so I had to shop carefully to make sure we didn't run out of room with half the veggies still out on the counter.

So, we are making progress, still think we're going to be launched on Monday, and steam off to pick up our dinghy in Penang on Weds. But a lot of little things have to fall into place in order to keep to that schedule.

I have updated our position on Winlink, so the red pin on the blog position should be the correct location.

1 comment:

  1. I truly hope you don't get any more stress. You have a lovely blog. Thank you so much for sharing.