“Did you find eden?” my dad asked over a scratch connection.
Paradise can be found. Unfortunately, the road to there is wide and lined with expensive high rises.Usually, we stumble on it accidentally, rarely it is planned. It takes me by surprise, making it nearly impossible to write about. These rare places that escape my ability to describe them, pictures dont even do it justice.
Tioman island was our taste of Malaysian paradise, a place seemingly void western trampling, where the locals still smille as you pass. We where routinely flagged us down to chat, time was an easily shared commodity. Once, a local bar ran out of its signature banana-passion fruit bread. “Too bad” I said to the man behind the counter. He smiled at me, ” Stay here.” he told me.With that, he ran to his scooter and sped off down the one road into town.5 minutes later he retuned holding a warm loaf of bred. “Just made by my wife.” Unsurpassed customer service.
The food is from the sea, caught by local longboat fisherman. The beer is cold and the ocean warm. We jump off the pier. Nearby sea turtles surface, as if to ask what we are doing. They are the only local authorities. Hammocks and coconut drinks on white sand.
On top of that, one very cool bar. Handmade from driftwood, it looks more like an elaborate tree fort than a bar. Reggae seeps from the walls. The door reads “Tobaks Beach Club.” Tobak is a skinny and agile man, with long shiny black hair and a few tattoos. He runs the joint with his wife Anne, a friendly pretty woman with a big smile. Between the two of them, they also guide for any activity you would ever want to do. Rock climbing, kayaking, camping, snorkeling, the list goes on forever. Visit there site here.
Im halfway through a drink called a JCC BOOM, when Tobak starts lighting stuff on fire. In front of the club, two orbs of light spin seamlessly in the fading light. With the fire he does impossible things, spinning and looping. He returns unchared, smiling and slightly out of breath. “For you.” He says. We are the only ones in the bar. For the remainder of the night we sit and talk about adventure. My only regret is that we only set aside 4 days. Far too short for paradise.