“Quick! Put on your shades!” exclaimed Zel.

All four of us Alpukat Sisters slap on our sunglasses.

“The shades give us invisibility. We can check him out without his knowing,” Zel explains.

Shades on, we all turn and fix our eyes on Mr. Hottie. When I say turn, I mean, rotate torso sideways in our chairs, shoulders perpendicular to hips, full on stare.

Mr Hottie stood just outside the eatery we were chilling in. His topless body ripped with muscles on parts I didn’t know had muscles. Blue shorts contrast his tan legs, the garters sit loosely on his hard hard ass. Solid man boobs mount his chest like a breastplate, snug over a set of very chiseled, very patent six pack abs. His skin shimmer with sweat from the scorching Terengganu sun. Or maybe it was sea water. Or maybe it was pheromones.

Someone said “shit damn”. Maybe that person was me.

We stay frozen a whole 2 seconds. Perhaps it was 20 seconds. Or more.

I don’t think he noticed us.

He did shoot a couple of puzzled looks in our direction. But of course he didn’t notice us checking him out.

Because we were wearing shades. Shades give us invisibility.

THE VIEW AT REDANG IS BREATHTAKING.

Really, the view at Redang is breathtaking.

Check it out:

Photo credit: www.sarcasm.co

Oh sorry, wrong picture. I meant this:

Clear blue waters. The turquoise soothe my melancholy soul. When the tides sweep in, they whisper: fuck it. Fuck it.

The rest of the Alpukat Sisters are here for freediving lessons. Me? I took a tester class and decided I’m too much of a control freak to purposely deprive myself of oxygen. I also think that 29 years old is a terrible age to die.

So, while they make suicidal attempts to swim 10 metres underwater without an oxygen tank, I sit at the restaurant bar with a book and a beer. Um, beers? The plurality is irrelevant.

Just give me a moment to talk about The Calculating Stars, written by Mary Robinette Kowal. Elma York was a WASP pilot and mathematician. When a meteorite hit Earth, presenting a threat equal to that of which extinct the dinosaurs, the human race is on a clock. Earth needs a Plan B, and space colonisation is a viable option. Problem is, misogyny says “women can’t be astronauts”. This alternate history of spaceflight will show you all the reasons why that notion is complete bullshit. Kowal digs into the nuance of being a woman in a man’s world. More than men, a woman’s capabilities is irrelevant without looks. There’s also the assumption that women need to be protected. The catfights, the lady drama; I believe all that stems from the unfortunate reality that there is only that much spotlight for that many women. On top of that, there are the backhanded ways men adopt to exclude women, especially women of a different class. Having said all that, here’s my favourite quote from this book: “If anyone ever forgot that these women were all pilots, all you have to do was look at the cocky edge in their stride.”
This mango dessert will quench your thirst like a cold shower after an hour run at KLCC park. At noon. In a jacket. With heat packs.

At some point of time, I do put down my book and beer. The ocean is calling, I must answer.

I follow a snorkelling expedition out to sea. Redang Marine Park was once a beautiful site with clear waters, stunning corals and colourful fishes. Right now, the water is still clear. Ish. Clear-ish.

Fishes are still there. Schools of them attacked me. Yes, attack; they charged towards me in rageful fits, ticking me everywhere. My feet, my waist, my *blush* lady bits.

On the other hand, the corals have lost their once grandeur lustre. I was prepared for this. Just a week ago, Malay Mail reported that the coral reefs in Redang are in rapid decline. In the past year, the live corals have suffered a 35.5% drop in quantity. There is also an increasing amount of algae, which indicates pollution.

Pollution is not cool, guys. Throwing rubbish into the ocean is not cool. Don’t do it. Full stop.

A baby turtle.

Later that day, I swam with the turtles (actually, snorkelled among the turtles). There are no corals at Turtle Bay, but there are swimming turtles wading through their home waters.

Those buggers are huge, I’m telling you, easily half my height. They paddle through the waters with their padded feet, carefree and breezy- that is, until some asshole decides to grab their shell in an attempt to waterski. But the clever turtle will have none of that nonsense. She dives into the water, deeper and deeper, until eventually, asshole has to let go.

On top of not throwing rubbish into the ocean, please also do not use a turtle as waterskis.

Assholes aside, swimming among the turtles is truly enchanting. Whales and sharks are majestic, but turtles have their own charm. Their hard, august shells, plus their don’t-screw-with-me stare, their swift underwater movements; I wanna be a turtle for a day.

But I’m not a turtle. I’m a human girl who needs another beer. So, I return to solid ground and rejoined the Alpukat Sisters for a graphic narrative of what we’ll like to do to Mr. Hottie’s abs.

The next day, I take a speedboat off the island, hop onto a flight back to Lumpur, and make my usual commute from the airport back home. There, I snuggled- sunburn still searing- into Broady’s arms and buried myself into something better than chiseled abs: broad shoulders.

I didn’t need my shades of invisibility this time.