We haven't worn shoes in 5 days!

Trip Start Aug 21, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Hi everyone! We have not gone dead or missing, we are quite well in fact. We spent the last 5 days at the Perhentian Islands, located off of the northeastern coast of Malaysia. There are two islands, Besar (big) and Kecil (small). We stayed at the big island. But more about that later. We want to backtrack a little to let you know what we've been up to.

We finished our stay in Melaka with a night out with Michael and Lori, a Canadian couple; they had an arrangement made with a restaurant to collect some toddy, which is basically the freshly fermented sap of a coconut palm. We arrived at the restaurant and it was closed! But no worries all of the wait staff were waiting for us with some freshly tapped toddy. This stuff takes only 4 hours to ferment into booze! It tasted like a tangy young coconut wine and even better, we mixed it with Guiness to make a Melakan black and tan...Frank, I think you would have liked it!

We departed Melaka the next morning for Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia and a two hour bus ride away. We expected a modern city in the sorts of Singapore; the city stunk of durian fruits, the forbidden fruit of Asia (look it up!), sidewalks packed with pedestrians, motorbikes and even cars, sketchy men everywhere, and beautiful modern architecture. KL in a nutshell. We were here for two days and became less and less fond of the place as time dragged by. We stayed at the Pondok Lodge which has a beautiful rooftop garden. We spent most of our time here admiring the buildings around us! We might have enjoyed the place a little more had we not been there for National Day (like the 4th of July); being the capital it was clogged with crowds. Good people watching. We happened to be the subject of much people watching in KL. You would think they had never seen a white person before even though there were plenty around. Post-National Day we made our way to the Petronas Towers (4th largest buildings in the world, tallest twin towers) and as I gazed up at the Towers through my camera, Lauren noticed a woman inching her way toward our spot under the palm tree. I took the picture, Lauren took a step back and almost stepped on said woman! We looked up and saw her friend snapping a picture of the three of us without our permission! Thanks, they said, and walked quickly away. A few minutes later, we were sitting on a ledge people watching (imagine - sitting under the Petronas Towers, around a lake and fountains, Asian people everywhere. And I mean everywhere), when Lauren noticed a group of guys trying to sneak a picture of us. They were very shy and I motioned one of them over, who instantly became ecstatic, passed his camera to his friend, and posed with us for the camera. This brought over 2 or 3 more guys who asked to have their picture with us. Lauren made the observation that really they wanted a picture with me; she was a still object in the backdrop. We can't figure this one out. They weren't gay (althouth they do hold hands, it is customary in Asia for male friends to hold hands, get cuddly), we think it might be my beard, they don't have facial hair in these parts.

OK, we have to go catch a night bus to Penang (west coast); we will update you all there. We have much to say about our island interlude. Peace.
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