The one handed traveller
Trip Start Apr 06, 2007
33Trip End Nov 18, 2007
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My plans to seek out a boat for crossing the Timor Sea are therefore cancelled. The truck and I have, as of today, parted company until Darwin on the 13th (I turn 22 the following day!). Bought my plane ticket from Singapore to Darwin today, with a large pang of guilt to boot
The chaos of Bangkok was soon a distant memory upon arrival in Koh Samui. Although one of the over developed islands it was spot on because we were based at Bo Phut, a quiet if not expensive beach side town. I say town, it was one street half a km long with posh restaraunts and bars (of which we never visited, found a nice wee local for food and drank in Chaweng). Chaweng was the main town on the island with a gorgeous beach and plenty of night life. Many of the bars had little groups of Thai girls calling you over. It sounds seedy but because its common place in Thailand's tourism its almost normal. I was speaking to a retired woman in Langkawi (Malaysia) and she said "You can have sex in Thailand but you have to pay for it". I guess its this casual attitude towards it that makes it just another job rather than the dirty thing we perceive it as.
We hired a jeep one day and went to some waterfalls but other than that it was beach beach and drink.
Six days passed then we moved down to the Malaysian island of Langkawi. Sand, sea, coconut palms, monkeys, banana boat, volleyball, beach huts and not to forget broken hand
Time spent here was very interesting because of the comparisons that can be made with Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. It is incredible how Malaysians follow the exact same religion, Islam, but society is so different to that of Eastern Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The level of acceptance and freedom is on a par with Europe. Examples are that you are free to speak to females and females to you. No offense is taken to the naked body and you are free to practice whatever religion you want. Malaysia is the only predominantly muslim country that has held democratic elections since the 50s. Its said to be down to the administrative system Britain left and that there is a large percentage of other religions. Sorry, gone into fact mode reminiscent of my first few blogs!
And of course with muslim folk comes their huge hospitality. I got chatting to a man on the boat back to the mainland and he ended up giving me a lift to KL.
Rammadan also means the food stalls in the evening are in abundance. They're wicked, cheap and with huge variety. Curries, samosas, spring rolls, fried rices, satays, badjis. Then you have all the rice based cakes on top of that
In KL rammadan has not been so prevalent as the population here is split half Malay Muslims and then Chinese Buddhists/Taoists and Indian Hindus. But I'll leave KL for another time as its getting late (1am, im in a 24hr net caf), I'm hungry and tired of typing with one hand!
KL was the easiest city of the trip. Most people speak English, frequent monorail trains at 20p a journey (what are we doing so wrong back home??), there are no beggars and no touts to hassel you. The skyscrapers are spread out, unlike in Bangkok, so their scale can be appreciated better but on the whole they weren't so modern looking as those in Bangkok. Of course this doesn't take into account the twin towers which were stunning: their shape, the bridge, the lighting (I'm no architecture critic, I'm just a student!). Having a broken hand and chores to do I never got exploring like usual. My experience was mostly of the monorail, post offices and many shopping malls. I did however get to spend a decent amount of time up high seeing Kuala Lumpur from both the skybridge of the Petronas Towers and the viewing platform of the telecom tower which was wicked.
Kuala Lumpur is not a city I plan to come back to. It didn't have any huge differences to cities back home (apart from the excellent transport system). Consumerism was big and, hand in hand as they go, so was globalism. Very international city lacking a bit of character. But, as they say, a place is only what you make it and having a fractured hand certainly didn't help!