Saturday, October 16, 2010

Goodbye Thailand

After four days of battering my body and acquiring both bruises and some very sore muscles from climbing to dizzying heights on the gorgeous cliffs of Rai Leh I came to the realization that I had spent four weeks (a third of my travel time) exploring roughly half of a country. Hurriedly I book my bus and ferry to get to the tropical duty free island of Langkawi in Malaysia before my Thai visa expired. Langkawi has of course all the usual touristic activities to do and when we arrived at the jetty on the other side of the island it felt more like we had entered an airport or a shopping mall complete with a Starbucks, McDonalds, and Baskin Robins. Our taxi to the otherside of the island brought us to what we truly wanted a beautiful sand beach and not much to do. I stayed with some truly amazing  and fun people at a place called Gecko house where I was surprised to learn from many of the people staying there that they had been there for over a week and had no plans of leaving in any hurry. A typical day for someone visiting Langkawi involves getting sunburned on the beach, trying not to lose your bathing suit playing in the waves as the tide comes in, then visiting the reggae beach bars at night finishes off with a late night snack of Roti Canang. Easy to understand how someone could stay there for so long but being on a time limit and with more of Malaysia to discover I left after only four night stay and had to say bye to all of my new friends.
From there I went Georgetown on the island of Penang right off the coast of Malaysia. This is an old British settlement with many old heritage building so it looks unlike any other town I have been to so far. In Penang the most popular thing to do is eat and the food is amazing having a mixture of Indian, Chinese, and Malay influences. Unfortunately my experience in Georegtown was tainted. I befriended a Malaysian man at the bar underneath the hostel I was staying who was very fun and friendly at the beginning of the night having lots of travel experience and tips to share bit later after he had drank more he accused me of being "stingy" for not wanting to necessarily share everything him with him. Then later that night I was sleeping in the dormitory of the hostel which is basically a big open space with beds on the upper level and some other drunk man had managed to find his way upstairs into the dorm. I woke up startled to find him kissing my cheek then he sat on my bed and I told him to go away. A man working at the hostel showed up very quickly and kicked him out then came back and told me he had called the police to have him arrested. They gave me another bed to spend the night in in a room where I could lock the door from inside but after that experience I was not comfortable staying there so I moved to find another place to stay on Love Lane. My second night was a much better experience and Georgetown does have many good qualities to it so it unfortunate that my experience was not a good one. If anything it was a reminder that I should be more careful meeting people since I am travelling alone.
I am now inland in the Cameron Highlands which seem quite beautiful so far though I have not been here long. Here the temperature is much more comfortable with the daily highs reaching only 20C which is a nice change from all the humidity and and sweating I was doing at the lower altitudes.

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