Some of the best memories of my childhood in Malaysia are of camping by the beach in and around Pangkor Island. My parents were avid divers and we used to go out to the sea almost every weekend. Every so often, they would have camping trips and of course we were included. This was before there were any hotels on the island and hardly any tourists. The surrounding islands too were literally 'deserted islands'. I remember the smell of the old fishing boats we used to take to get there. You'd think that I'd remember the smell of fish but its the leaking engine oil stink that I remember. When the boats arrived at the island, we would dive right off the boat to swim ashore. Lunch on the island was ALWAYS Roti Chanai takeaway from the mainland. I don't really remember what the dinners were.....mustn't have been that good.
The days were just filled with doing anything we wanted on that island. We were FREE, completely! My brother and I were the only two children most of the time so there was never any shortage of babysitters to keep an eye on us. They always did this from a distance so we could pretty much pretend we were Robinson Crusoe and Friday.
Night times were especially fun. Only children would think that a hot tent with lumpy ground underneath made the perfect place to sleep. Sometimes it would even leak into our tent but we enjoyed it anyway.
Where can I go to give Aaron the same carefree memories that I have of camping? Pangkor is out of the question now with the many hotels and tourists. I'm not sure that we'll be able to find another uninhabited island to camp on. While Richard and I are also divers, we are not the weekly divers my parents were and we don't have a group of diving buddies. Perhaps I'll take him to Redang Island on the east coast of Malaysia even though it will be hotel/motel instead of camping. At least the beach and reef were still pristine the last time I was there 4 years ago.
Go to the Crazy Hip Blog Mama's carnival page for more camping stories.