I had a very informative and witty blog post written about my short stint in Malaysia, but my netbook got a virus and it got erased when I took drastic measures. So this is what you get instead:

After Bali, I took a quick flight to Kuala Lumpur (KL to its friends) where Holly was waiting for me (we met in Airlie Beach a few months ago and when her plans fell through, she decided to join me- this is what I love about travelling solo!). We took a taxi- which was as expensive as my flight- to a strange guest house with peeling walls and plastic locks.

Truth be told, Malaysia and I didn’t quite click. It wasn’t unpleasant, but things that happened and things we saw seemed slightly random. Maybe I felt a bit without a goal, and therefore didn’t know how to appreciate where I was.

Also, I was sick for the first week (I think the culprit was the curry dipping sauce that came with breakfast).

Because see, the reason I wanted to go to Malaysia was really to go to Borneo, to go to Borneo to see the rainforest and the weird monkeys with big noses (although I should know better by now about monkeys) and other wildlife from the rickety comfort of a canoe slowly going down the river. See all that before it’s cut down to make way for more palm plantations.

Flight prices rising every day pushed our departure date further and further into our trip, leaving our Borneo time squashed in at the end like an afterthought. Finally, we booked our tickets (fed up because of the 5-fold price increase overnight) only to find out, about 9 hours later, that conflict had errupted in the area. 

It’s hard to know what a situation is like by relying on the media, but pictures of tanks and the fact that a policeman was decapitated were enough for us to scare us into not going. I hear things are settling now, and hopefully that is true- enough killing now, enough.

So we had to improvise. 

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Batu Caves, just outside of Kuala Lumpur. I don’t know, I imagined caves (the dark and dank kind). This psychadelic feast was what we were confronted with.

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A random 3-dance dance show at the Batu Caves, where the one girl had obviously missed the last rehearsal.

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This, next to 12 storey sparkly shopping centres, makes up KL.

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Taxi windshields are covered in stickers, which makes me wonder how the drivers can drive.

After KL, we wound up (literally, up the narrow, windy road) in Cameron Highlands, where we had to wear hoodies and jeans and close our window for the cold. It felt good to be cold for a few days. It didn’t feel so good getting up in the mountains, but I’m proud to report another first: tossing cookies in a bus.

Not feeling so well gave us permission to be lazy and book a sightseeing tour that the guide repeatedly told us was boring and that he’d rather be trekking in the jungle.

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Beautiful tea plantations in Cameron Highlands. Just enjoy the green and pretty hills. Try not to think about the colonial aspects of the whole operation.

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Our tour guide was bored so he made us sit on the jeep.

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We went to a bee farm, where huge creepy statues of bees guarded the hives.

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Very awesome butterfly farm with sedate butterflies and neato snakes.

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I got bitten by a carp outside a Buddhist temple.

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Street in the Cameron Highlands.

From the Cameron Highlands, anti-nausea tablets taken, we took the bus to Penang, apparently the Pearl of the Orient. When you call something the Pearl of the Orient, you have to realise that people won’t expect a really busy, bustling, grimy city. Georgetown was nevertheless a great place to visit with lots of street art, history, cheap museums that explain the mix of Muslim, Chinese, and Indian cultures. A great place despite open drains/sewers, absolutely no footpaths anywhere, and strange cinema-going behaviour. We may or may not have spent two evenings in the ice-cold movies seeing teenage-boy-oriented fantasy-adventure films. Ewan McGregor makes a good good guy.

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Our guesthouse in Penang was a traditional Chinese house. For some reason, we ended up singing Roxanne every night as we walked home.

From Penang, we took a boat to Langkawi, a nice and expensivo island with a fantastic French bakery, amazing juice, and very suspicious resort security guards that make absolutely sure you’re not going to cut through their resort to get to the beach.

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Speaking of random, we were invited to the tail-end of a wedding in Langkawi. We arrived, we ate buffalo and fish, we shook hands with the father of the bride, and then watched as the guys pulled down the tents. The end of a 3-day ceremony.

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Our best meal in Malaysia was Moroccan. This was the juice.

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Between meals, we found time for beach time.

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And sunsets on the beach.

With a few days before our flight for Cambodia, we decided to go to Melaka, a city south of the capiral, accessible from the airport, meaning we didn’t have to go into KL.

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Melaka was my favourite city in Malaysia, by far. Probably because its chinatown was so cool, old, charming (our hotel owner’s go-to word).

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Pimp my tuk-tuk!

For our last day, we enjoyed the amazing hospitality of Anna and Ali, a wonderfully hilarious couple from Calgary I’d met in Bali. They’d rented a swish apartment for a month (cheaper than hotels in the long run) and let us stay with them and swim in their pool and have cereal for breakfast. They let us watch Minority Report (and explained the entire last half hour of the movie when the TV station decided that they should stop the movie at the climax for news for half an hour), go to the mall with them, and order McDonald’s when the pizza place wouldn’t deliver on a Friday. We couldn’t have left KL happier- they don’t lie when they say it’s the people that make all the difference.

Another thought: whoever said durians smell of garbage but taste lovely was lying. Durians, even when smothered in chocolate, taste the way they smell. Which is awful.

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