With the wind blowing against me, brushing my hair off my face, I sailed further away from the coast into the far horizon, bobbling up and down in the South China Sea according to its rhythmic waves.
YES, I was on the man-made perahu larai once again, chasing the sunset.
It was my third time on the perahu (sailboat in English) from two Labuan visits. Seriously? Me, who suffers from chronic water phobia? Me, who tries my darndest to keep my complexion as fair as possible, usually failing miserably?
YES, it’s me, always one of the firsts to clamber up the boat, wading through deep (in my mind only) waters in order to reach the vessel, docked a slight distance from the Pulau Papan beach.
Afraid of water I might be, fear magnified by being out in open sea, but with the life jacket worn snugly around me and hands holding on tightly to the boat ’til my knuckles turned white, my anxiety wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying the sense of freedom of being carried away on the wind-powered boat, without a care in the world.
I turned my face to the cloudless sky, closed my eyes, and just relished the moment. I had at least 20 minutes of repose from my beeping phone, which was kept away in my bag on the beach.
Ah, what a therapeutic feeling the perahu larai offers. For RM15 a ride, it was well-worth the money; sun-kissed skin, sea splashed, sandy clothes and all.
Having spent a total of almost two weeks in Labuan from two visits to the Federal Territory this year, my experiences on the perahu larai are easily the best, derived from the many wonderful memories created.
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