Last Sunday we drove from Ipoh to Lumut, a port city on the Straits of Malacca. We then got a ferry to Pangkor Island. This ferry has to rate as the most awful vessel I’ve ever been on. It is low-slung, sailing close to the water. All the passengers sit inside (fortunately with some cooling) and none of the windows open. I was lucky to sit beside a filthy window so that I could watch the horizon to keep the seasickness at bay. I had to very deliberately turn my thoughts from what might happen in an emergency, though there were life jackets on the overhead shelves. The first stop on the island was at a fishing village, where most of the houses were built on stilts over the water. Some fishermen lived on their boats judging by the hammocks and laundry hanging from the anchored boats. We got off at the next stop, which is the main settlement on the island. We then hired a scooter (I am grateful that my adventuring partner is a natural on two wheels!) and drove around the south side of the island. We stopped at a populated tourist beach to buy cold water and sat on a bench for a breather. A young Malay man was supine in a hammock close by. He came over to find out where we were from and was delighted that we came from New Zealand. His girlfriend had had a lovely holiday in what we ascertained was Rotorua from his description. He told us he was a part-time policeman and that he was spending the day “just smoking weed and relaxing on the beach”! We found a more isolated beach for a swim. The water was green, fairly clear and flat as a pancake – and I was with a surfer! It was not at all salty and had an almost oily feel to it. However, it was very refreshing on a day when the temperature had reached the mid-30s. Every settlement and beach on the island was marred by garbage. I struggle to understand why people who make their living from the environment pollute it. It is also not conducive to tourism. Next time we go for a swim, we’ll take a rubbish bag and clear the bit of the beach we want to sit on!