Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
9Trip End Dec 02, 2009
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Well, it's been just over 3 weeks since we left Adelaide, it seems a lot longer for some reason. Anyway, we've had a ball so far with no real dramas.
We arrived at Nick & Josh's and settled in straight away. Singapore is alright, pretty boring though. Not a lot to do here unless you like going to the Zoo, playing computer games all day or shopping at the big brand stores (our budget only allows for two of the above) - even their dollar is worth more than ours!
Exit Singapore, enter Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
After a couple of days of getting our shit together, we ducked off to Kuala Lumpur. That place was pretty crazy. A lot of frustrated male Muslims all devouring Bek with a simple glance of their shifty eyes. She wasn't even wearing anything to provoke it, in fact, quite the contrary! So I just glared back at them with my best 'fuck off!' face. So yeah, it's pretty intimidating for a woman. Also, the taxi drivers are like mosquitoes, they're relentless...they're constantly on the horn trying get your attention, so I just I ended up waving 'hi' at them, not to hail them down or anything but just to annoy them back!
The only thing I actually liked about KL was a t-shirt we saw in one of the shops, it had the slogan 'I know how to made her love me!' written on the front. Had me in stitches, you've gotta love their use of manglish.
Exit KL, enter Penang.
Thankfully we did the dash over to Penang (a little Island off of KL) where the beer was colder, the streets far more relaxed and the people easy going. I liked this place a lot, it had a certain vibe about it. We stayed in a shitty little hostel called the Malibu Cafe. Damned if I know how these places get away with sounding so good online, then when you actually get there they turn out to be prison cells. After sterilising the room and exterminating the spiders and roaches, we stepped out for a look around...by traditional scooter of course. We hired a little Honda for a day to roll around the Island on. The blood ran from our faces pretty quickly when we found ourselves on a scrapheap freeway with no rules, this was the first time we were scared for our lives, it was chaos at its best; what was supposed to be a three lane road turned out to be a thousand vehicles all playing theatre sports! We survived, just.
Exit Penang, enter Sumatra.
We flew over to Medan, the capital, and Jeez was that place a shithole. Quite dangerous too. We didn't feel very safe there but we managed to find a little hostel room with fewer cockroaches than we expected and a toilet that looked like a prop from a Tarantino film. I think we were actually staying in a brothel. Medan was only a quick stop-over so we could catch what's called a 'chicken bus' to a little village called Bukit Lawang. This was a 4hr bus ride to cover no more than 80kms! Yep, no word of a lie, that's how bumpy the roads were. Thank Christ neither of us had unstable bowels at the time otherwise it would've looked like a murder scene.
Bukit Lawang was an incredible place, if you do one thing before you die, you've got to do BL. We had an awesome time, life changing in fact. The people were terrific and would do anything to keep a smile on your face despite losing half their village to a flood in 2003.
The cost of living was also very cheap. We paid about 60,000 Rupiah for one night in a cool little bungalow, came in at about $8.50, so it suited us very well.
On the bus ride to the village we met a dude called Amal, he turned out to be a jungle trek guide and happened to work for the guest house where we booked our stay - sheer coincidence or was this chance meeting carefully planned? He convinced us to take a two day trek into the jungle which cost us about $110 each and it turned out to be worth every cent. We joined the trek with a couple from Germany and Holland, great people. Actually, the bird from Germany was a copywriter with McCann Erickson in Frankfurt, small world huh? Once in the jungle, after 6 hours of hiking and getting chased by orangutans we set up camp and stayed the night in the thick of it, exposed to the hardest rain we've seen in ages and jungle noises that go bump in the night including Sumatran tigers! (didn't see any of them though) When pitch black kicked in, we gathered inside a little makeshift bamboo tent and the local guides proceeded to entertain us with card tricks, marijuana and tasty chicken curry. Surreal Sumatra.
Exit Bukit Lawang, enter Singapore.
We dashed back to Singapore to do Christmas lunch at the famous Raffles Hotel. It was nice grub in a class setting, it wasn't really in our budget, but hey it's Christmas!
We leave to go to Thailand on the 29/12 and I'm sure it'll be 'Asia mid-strength', as from then on in we will know no one and no doubt be on high alert.
We'll keep you posted once we have some stories to tell.
'til then, adios people.
Ryan & Bek