You arrive in Singapore at 3am. 85% humidity! “I need more water and less clothes!” you think. Into the bathroom to get changed. The toilet: a hole in the ground…”Oh, yeah…I forgot: Asia.” Looking around to find a place to safely put your backpack. Less clothes. “Ah, thats better.” Into the subway trying to find the hostel. There it is! Pass out on the couch for a few hours. Getting up, checking in, getting out. What now? Wandering around proofs tiring, 32 degrees, 80% humidity. A shopping mall…Air con! You stumble in. Relief. Busy in here. 12.30am, lunch time, FOOD COURT! An hour and 3 plates later you emerge from the other end, happy as a clam! But it soon dawns on you: “There is things left uneaten, I need to do this again!”. Stepping out and being hit by the humidity again. Off to the city centre. Around the corner, the SkyPark comes into view. It looks amazing. Wandering around for 2h. Back to the hostel. Day 1 done!
Off to get to the SkyPark. Looked cooler from down below. Didn’t need to do that. Food court, eating what you couldn’t get in the day before. Movie, so cheap and sweet popcorn. You didn’t know how much you actually missed it. Back to the hostel. Hanging out, chatting to people. As you talk about Australia you remember Kim from the caves. She told you about the Movie Park. Ticket purchased for the next day. Heading straight for the Transformers Ride. INSANE! Over the course of the day you go 12 times. Right beside it, Battle Star Galactica roller coaster. You lost count but when you stagger out dizzy you think “this is enough!” On the way out you discover the Monster Musical, the show is about to start. In! Strong performance. Maybe thats something you would enjoy after you’re done moving from place to place. Directly across, the special effects show. Cant hurt! You watch the stage, which is set up like a boat shack, being torn to pieces right in front of you by a Class 5 Hurricane within 5 minutes. Burning water, little dinghy’s being tossed around and a container ship comes through the door. 3 Minutes later it looks like nothing ever happened. Good to see the technics behind the movies. Back home, the bus leaves early tomorrow.
Off to Melacca, Malaysia. Country number 15 on this trip. You arrive in the town. People everywhere! You lost track of time. Its Friday night, the weekend has begun. Night market on the main road. Where is my hostel? You wrote down directions, in vain! The streets have no names. You squeeze through the narrow lanes. Colourful, smelly, vibrant, no space, useless crap, funny things, odd food, tiny people, flashing lights, endless shops and stalls, music, joss-sticks, stray cats, bars, a gigantic karaoke stage with an elderly person squeeking something and an even older man dancing right by her side. You get distracted. The hostel, where is it? You jump into a rickshaw and tell the guy where you want to go. Its easy to tell, he doesn’t know either. He starts running off. 2 minutes later you spot the hostel! MADE IT! Over the weekend you go to the market every day. Try this, eat that. But you stay away from the deep fried chicken feet and duck tongue. Maybe some other time. On your last day you join some guys from the hostel for a traditional tea ceremony in one of the chinese temples. After the the craziness of the night market it is a nice way to end your stay here.
Kuala Lumpur. Masterly finding the hostel. Passing out, sleeping in. No plans. What now? A movie. You come out, its dark. Rush hour! The Monorail whizzes above you, lights everywhere, cars, trucks, mopeds, people…After taking it in for a moment you decide to join the constant stream of bodies. Amongst all those people you notice a guy taking his monkey for a walk. Your gaze stays with him for second. A scooter honks at you! You accidentally stepped onto the main street! He apologises while racing past you. Back onto the side off the road. You turn around the corner and the empty street your hostel is on turned into a buzzing night market. A truck behind you covers you in diesel fumes. Move! You get out of the haze and battle your way through the people. The smells and colours of the food let you realise you havent eaten today. In you go. “That looks nice.” you say to yourself and order a plate. You dont know what exactly it is but eat it anyway. Tasty! You made it through the market back to the hostel…Peace and quiet. Wrong! Asian travel group. Approx. 15 people at the reception, 4 of them yelling at the poor soul behind the counter. Into the room, quiet! And this is a weekday!!!
Next day. You prepared. Batu Caves just outside KL. You are amazed! Little hindu temples inside the cave, monkeys roaming free within them. After that back to the hostel. Next day, new city.
Taman Negara, the worlds oldest jungle. You are catching a shuttle bus, front seat. He needs to stop for fuel. Hard breaks. The next thing you see is two girls flying across the road. They dont move at first! Within seconds the village is gathered around lifting the moped. One girl is getting up. A few moments later the 2nd one is sitting in the bus…off to the hospital. It’s closed. The little one gets moved into another car, they drive off. We carry on. No details exchanged, no questions asked. Only the blood on the drivers shirt reminds us of what just happened.
Arriving in Taman Negara you check into the hostel. 99% humidity! You are sweating like a pig just sitting there. “This is going to be a short stay!” you decide and wander off into the jungle. On the way you meet a guy from Austria and have a quick chat with him. A few hours later, back at the hostel. Down by the river there is floating restaurants. You watch the children play and serve the guests. You don’t know what to make of this. One of the little ones brings you your food and you hand him a lollipop. Reluctantly he takes it but then runs off screaming and shows it to the others. The food is good, although you are again not sure what it is really. Some sort of chicken. On the next day you catch the boat out of the jungle. Incredible!!! Floating houses, people fishing or just walking through the rivers, wild animals roaming between the trees. Every now and then you see a few people at the river banks, living in the middle of the jungle. “HOW?” you wonder, but the driver doesn’t speak english. A 2h ride and you arrive in Jerantut and decide to stay the night. You are starving. Tired of trying all these different foods you want something you know. KFC. Before you realise it the Austrian is standing in front of you and starts talking. He wanders off to his table, he is not alone. A woman is traveling with him. “The girlfriend” you reckon and pay not further attention. In the morning you catch the shuttle bus to Tanah Rata. On the bus, the Austrian and his partner. “It looks like we are meant to travel together” he says laughing and they take the seats next to you. You get a closer look at the girlfr….hang on! Oh no! Its not a girl as such. Its one of Thailands infamous Ladyboys! Well done, you now have a perv and his toy following you around. “Austrians,” you think, “they always make us Germans look bad!”. This makes you smile. Not for long though as the driver doesn’t seem to be to attached to his life. You want to slap him and drive yourself. After getting to your destination you are trying to think about a way to loose this odd couple as quickly as you can. Not that easy if you are a foot taller then most people around you with a big orange backpack and a bright yellow T-Shirt. You must look like a lighthouse in this sea of people. On top of that the village is tiny. “Do you know where you are staying?” the perv wants to know. “Can I use this somehow to get rid of them?” you ask yourself inside your head. Hmm…Either way they are going to follow you. You tell them where you are staying and of course they decide to have a look as well. As you walk through the village people are staring at you. You are used to this, but this time it feels different. This is weird. You get to the hostel, its overbooked. They will put you on a mattress in the common room. The Austrian is not happy about that as he was looking for a single room. Some “quality” time with the “girlfriend”…Anyhow they decide to go some place else. Thank god! You are still not happy about having to sleep on the ground but there is a festival in town so all the other hotels are booked up. Three more people turn up and are put on the mattress beside yours. The strange duo comes back and wants to check in as they couldn’t get a room. “The hostel is full” says the girl behind the counter. Pheww! The next day you pick a tour and check out what there is to see around the Cameron Highlands. The only 2 things that stick out are the tea plantation and the strawberry farm! Fresh, sweet, juicy strawberries in all sorts of forms and recipes! You love it there! Back at the hostel you need to take a shower…You realise its a combined shower/toilet and the shower head is right above the hole in the ground. Watch your step! Bus to Penang…The Austrian. “Don’t see me, Don’t see me, Don’t see me!” Damn it!!! You are to tall. But you are optimistic, Penang is a big city, you WILL loose them there! After you arrive you vanish into the crowds of people and hope to never see them again. Exploring the surroundings of Penang a bit you end up in the biggest buddhist temple in South East Asia. Awe inspiring!!! Colours, fragrances, monks, statues, little gardens, pagodas, music, joss-sticks, carved doors, amazingly decorated walls, pictures on the ceiling, candles, shrines…”We are closing, Sir. I am afraid you leave now!” How long have you been here? Not sure.
“This is not even that crazy” some people coming from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are telling you!
“Lets go!” you think.