Asian Adventures

It’s been a journey since I last posted online, mainly due to the lack of fast wifi to allow me too, and the loss of my phone to a broken screen. It’s currently sat in a bag of rice to absorb moisture and it’s working! It’s 2.52am and my tales are written to you from under a mosquito net, sprawled out in bed due to the heat from a beautiful Thai island: Koh Lipe. Since landing in Kuala Lumpur I’ve had a reality shock. People have previously informed me of the culture difference out here, but I never really believed it – until now. As soon as I stepped foot off of the air  conditioned airport transfer bus into Kuala Lumpur city, the hot and sticky humid climate clung to me like a wet cloth. Sweat poured down my face with added pressure from my large backpack and slight jet lag. Tired yet amazed, I looked around me to find Malaysian men shouting over each other offering Eloise and I overpriced taxis, small children running through the streets at night with cans of beer and cigarettes, hazily mixed with  new, foreign smells of street life. Evening lights flashed before me in the form of mopeds, buses, cars, taxis and bicycles. They beeped and sped past me blowing the humid air on to my hot body. Welcome to South East Asia. I don’t think I can lie about my first thought upon arriving. I was scared, nervous and tired; for men stared at my white skin for to long and a rather friendly cockroach crawled past my foot when waiting to cross a busy road. Nonetheless, I had Eloise with me luckily. Both exhausted and too hot, we wandered around streets aching to find our planned hostel beds to comfort us – and yet with no map to hand we were rather lost. I don’t think I’ll ever get the road name “Julan Sultan Ishmail” out of my head after repeating it to locals so much. Weariness and frustration took hold of me after thirty minutes of unfound aid, when suddenly a small group of four lovely travellers beckoned us over for help. Armed with iPads and maps, they helped us organise ourselves. After establishing we were in the wrong direction, they took us under their wing to the nearby cheap hostel with fresh water, beds and a safe roof. Overjoyed I thanked these friends and decided to ask them for advice until I fell asleep, tired yet excited for the morning to come. Who knew what I was to expect? Was Asia after all these years of waiting for it, indeed too much for me? The morning was beautiful and hot again. I felt more confident then before and felt my wits return with sleep. Eloise and I wandered into China Town in KL to find some incredible street food to start our day – I must say, I have never tasted such beautiful food in my life. Cooked right in front of me on a open stove in the middle of a street, surrounded by hanging fruits, fish heads and the odd stray cat. My love for Asia heightened from then on and it still grows today (after all, one way to my heart is through my stomach). After many train rides, we went to Batu Caves and hiked up 273 steps to another cave viewing a huge Buddha statue overlooking KL. Breathtaking. From KL we headed south to Penang. Penang was different to how I expected, again lost we ended up on the wrong side of the island confused and dazed. Pancakes and fresh juice was the only way forward. However nine hours and a brief beach nap later we ended up staying in a hotel for the night. Penang food was also awesome yet again, and the following morning brought new markets, free puppies, little India and a ferry ride to Langkawi. It was time for some beaches for us both and a beer or seven. Langkawi, a beautiful tourist island bought us two new backpacker friends from Germany: Michael and Gordon. We shared a taxi ride to Cenang beach and found two cheap little rooms for us to stay in. After a few stressful days, we all sat at a local bar made of bamboo complete with hammocks, and drank tiger beer. Beer then escalated to meet new friends, and hours later found us all drinking whiskey at a pool party complete with a built in bar. Not bad eh? The following day, hungover, we rented mopeds and rode around the island all day. One of the best days in Asia I have had so far I believe, as we saw some really beautiful private areas which I can only describe as paradise. I also ate a burger made from local buffalo meat which went down well with the constant tiredness of the humity. The evening was set on the beach, watching a beautiful display of orange and reds tainting and painting the sky from the sun heading to bed on the horizon. A few days later and again I am in another breathtaking place. Koh Lipe is a gorgeous small island with crystal water and white sand. Eloise and I stayed in our own hut made of palm trees and bamboo on the beach, involving a few beers and probably a few too many tasty pinocoladas, fashioned by a friendly dreaded, local Thai man on the beach. Bliss. Nevertheless, I write this after a long day of hard work. We discovered new friends that are known as bed bugs, unknown guests of our travels. Covered in bites, we both sighed and admitted it was time to experience some real life backpacking after the comforts of New Zealand. Deciding to move to a cheaper room, we lugged our clothes to the laundry to kill off the bugs and found a new home for us for the night. Based directly on the Main Street we laughed at all of our stresses, and Eloise’s hangover from the night before. Nevertheless, I was worried about myself. My ezcaema had become even more itchy and inflamed, with big open gashes and lumpy, red skin. My creams weren’t working anymore and I was unsure if it would go by itself. Luckily, as we walked across from our home stay I noticed a doctors. With a quick deliberation and Eloise’s agreement, I took a stop to check up on myself. Quickly and professionally the local doctor examined me and informed me of an increasing infection in my skin on both arms. I was in need of rapid steriod, antihistamine and antibiotics doses. Eloise by my side I had an IV drip placed into my veins and looked after amazingly by the doctor. He gave me tablets and I could feel his need to help me. Already after the first dose I felt my senses and myself become alive again, I don’t think I realised how ill it had made me feel. £200 pooer but health increased I felt relieved at the help and aid of a doctor, Eloise and my family’s loving help. Despite not being as serious as some medical conditions, it made me feel ever so gracious to have such a beautiful network of people around me. I thank Mother Nature for showing me them, and I long to send my thanks and love to them all as much as I can. I love you all! Tomorrow we are off to Koh Phang An, party central. We are meeting some friends from New Zealand which I am so excited for. It’s time to relax and party once more! Despite these mishaps traveling truly is eye opening and not to mention super fun. I have perspective now and have matured so much – I feel like a nineteen (nearly twenty, it’s creeping up on me!) woman who has learnt how to cook, clean and fend for herself. It’s about time! Speaking of which I really should sleep, I have to get up in a few hours.. The fan in this room is noisy, but I appreicate its gentle breeze of not-as-humid hot air blowing in my direction. I’m not itchy and sore though for once, so maybe I should try and get some rest. Peace out and sweet love for all of you out there, stay tuned!

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