Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  , Kedah,
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I don't know if I mentioned that Brian picked up a guidebook for Malaysia while we were in Australia. We found a book exchange that was at in old railway station.  He exchanged a novel that he never opened for a guidebook from 1994.  Yes, 1994.  It actually came in handy though, which was odd.  But the maps and descriptions of the towns seems accurate enough. 

So after looking in our 1994 guidebook we decided to check out the town of Georgetown on the island of Penang.  We took an overnight bus ride from KL to the city, which has to cross the longest bridge in Asia to get there.  The bus was so comfortable, which was surprising because when I say that some places in KL are forgotten about, the bus station is definitely one of those places.  By the time we got on our bus, people were fighting for the bunch we had just vacated for a place to sleep.  But the bus was really nice!  We slept well and arrived in Georgetown at 4:30am.  The problem was that our 1994 guidebook said the bus station was a lot closer to town than it actually was.  So, we met up with 2 girls from Scotland and shared a taxi to the only place that was open that time of the morning - a little old hostel with an internet cafe.

After driving through town, we decided we just didn't get a good feeling about this place.  maybe it was the time of day or lack of sleep but we instantly wanted to move on.  That sounds so terrible, but its true.  So we took the 8:30am ferry over to the island of Langkwai.  Good move on our part.  What a beautiful place!  We got to our hotel that we thought was nothing special at first but turned out to be an excellent spot for the next 3 nights.  It was right on the beach, clean and friendly.  It was located right next door to this funky, rustic, old reggae sand bar.  They played music all day and served up some pretty good food.  Every night they had live music.  We could sit on our balcony and listen to it all night.  The beach here was gorgeous.  Totally clean and white.  IT was so hot here that even the ocean was like a warm hot tub.  It was really hard to cool off. 

Malaysia is a very Muslim country and there are a lot of women wearing the abayas, a black gown that covers their entire body except for the eyes.  Now seeing women wearing these on the hottest of hot days, was hard to understand  I had a discussion about this with Darrell (who I'll tell you about later) and he told me how these women chose to wear these abayas.  They either do it for the sake of their religion or for their husband.  The men love this as it is a way to insure that no other man can look at his woman, and so that she can not entice another man either.  Darrell told me how there are new measures pressuring women to cover up one eye as well!  They are saying 2 eyes is too seductive.  Also, there are studies showing that these women that wear the abayas are losing their hair from lack of vitamin D (from the sun) and that they are getting terrible rashes and skin conditions because their bodies cannot breathe under their clothing.  But it is true that this is their choice and they want to do this. However, I understand that many of these women are married off at the age of 13.  So, how can they get to choose if that is all they know and they are pressured to wear them as young as 13.  It is also interesting that almost all these women have really trendy and flashy purses, I believe because it is the only way for them to express themselves to the outside world.  If I could sit down with anyone, it would be one of these women.  I have so many questions to ask them. 

Anyway, for the next 3 days we beached it.  Outside of our hostel was this coconut stand that this local guy ran.  He spent most of his day napping under the coconut tree above him.  His aunt owned the hotel so he planted himself out there everyday selling coconuts and beach chairs.  He would always let Brian and I use his chairs for free.  The town we were in, Chenang Beach, was full of character itself.  The streets had little shops and restaurants here and there but not touristy at all!  There was this breakfast place across the street that had some hippies selling jewelry.  Of course, I spent some time talking to them, but mainly because this one guy had "found" a monkey.  This newborn monkey (he said was 3 weeks old) had attached itself to this guys EAR, sucking away!    He had really long, thick dreads that the monkey would swing back and forth on.  We couldn't believe it.  We asked him twice about how he got this monkey, but all we could get from him was that he found it in a tree.  I think he said something about the monkey tribes were fighting and the baby was left behind.  I have no idea if he knew what he was talking about, but it sounds like a novel plot.  I believe one day, when the drugs wear off, he'll wake up with a monkey sucking on his ear and totally freak out.  But anyway, it was pretty cool and so was he.  Plus, he had some really great jewelry. 

While here we have eaten some great meals.  Its nice that we don't have to cook anymore but sometimes we get a little sick of eating out.  But not here.  We met a really great Canadian couple that was staying next to us at the hotel, Darrell and Ingrid.  Darrell is a VERY experienced traveler so it was fun to hear all he had to say about Malaysia and Thailand (where we are headed next).  They were traveling with another couple, Tommy and Suzie, and asked us to join them one night for dinner.  So we all went to this Indian Restaurant.  It was similar to a buffet and fairly good.  We are not used to Indian food and it is VERY spicy.  At the end of our meal, Darrell decided to treat everyone to dessert.  "OH BOY, GOODIE", I'm thinking!!!  This is what came: two huge bowls of this soupy, crushed ice mixture with sweet flavoring on top, a little scoop of ice cream, coconut milk, some other type of dark syrup, jello wormy pieces AND...I'm not beans and corn.  Basically, a snow cone with an array of vegetables.  I did have one small bite, Brian three with an emphases on the veggies.  For some reason, I'm craving chocolate chip cookies. 
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