Friday, August 21, 2009

Heading South

So from Koh Tao I ended up in Krabi again for 4 days. In a way nice to do nothing but relax in a place that is also familiar. The banana bread at the bakery is amazing but somehow I am sure that I'm about to lose weight again without being able to go back to my same restaurant meal after meal after meal...
I'll admit I was just too lazy to get anything done or go anywhere from Krabi this time as well and spent all of my time hanging out getting massages and hanging out at the massage parlor with a friend I had made when I was there the first time. My backpack weighs a ton now, must be the heaviest of the whole 4 years. Fortunately I have been wearing a lot of scuba tanks so the weight isn't the problem. The problem is that I feel like I need to jump in the water and become neutrally buoyant.... I also find myself leaving my sandals everywhere as I am not used to wearing anything on my feet anymore either. That might be the hardest part to adjust to, going from barefoot all the time to having to travel in my boots again because I can't fit them in my pack on travel days :(
Somehow I've managed to swing it so that the day I entered Malaysia was also the first day of Ramadan. I wasn't sure if that was really going to make much of a difference but I guessed not with such a large non-Muslim Chinese population. After crossing the border into Malaysia I found myself with the same problem as the first time I had gone that way. 10km to cross before finding a bus station, so once again I stuck out my thumb and hoped for the best. The old man on a motorbike that picked my up seemed to think the best of Malaysia is not very good. He stopped just to help me get a ride and tell me I never would. He had a point, as everyone he asked to take me shook their head and quickly drove off. In the end he got so frustrated that he just took me himself, which meant a ride in the rain on the back of a motorbike with all my gear. Hmmm.... Not the luxury that I'd had the first time, but I won't take his advice to boycott Malaysia in the future. I still like the country.
From the bus station in Changlun I ended up on an overnight bus to Kuala Lumpur only to arrive at 6am and have to wander around in the dark for an hour looking for a hostel. It took that long not because I wanted to wander around and look for that long (despite what my sisters would have you believe) but because almost every place was completely full and the best I could hope for was to get screamed at by the receptionist after I woke him up... When you travel through all seasons you really start to hate the "tourist" season after a while. Eventually I found a hostel in Chinatown with a single room that was a whopping 8ft by 5ft if I round the dimensions up! At least the lighting was good so I could lie in bed a read.
Don't ask me why but I spent about a week in KL. I had 2 friends to visit, Fauziah, who I'd met in Penang on our first visit, and Yi Wei, our host from before as well. He was unable to host me but we did go out for dinner on a couple of nights and I also now have a CS Malaysia shirt :) I don't know how it is possible but I ate a lot of chicken rice in KL at a bunch of different places and I can honestly say that somehow they really don't know how to cook rice. The steamed rice was often hard, or soggy or something wrong. Definitely not Thai rice.....
I was able to explore a little more of the city that I hadn't seen before and apart from the Ramadan market set up in the Kampang Baru section of the city in the early evening, I didn't even notice a change for Ramadan. I developed a little more of an appreciation for the architectural contrasts that KL offer as well. It is kind of bizarre to have old 2-storey colonial or Chinese shophouses complete with faded paint and crumbling exterior and then massive skyscrapers right behind them. Speaking of skyscrapers, I still find it hard to believe that the Petronas towers are some of the tallest in the world. Unless you are standing right under them, they just don't seem that tall. I suppose it's because they are just so perfectly proportioned and you can see them from so far away that you think they are just shorter and closer....
I start class in Singapore on Monday so was hoping to get a place to stay with Paul's extended family (as we did on our first visit) but that fell through at the last minute so spent a few stressful days trying to scramble together anything else. Singapore is expensive... Anyway, last night I got a positive reply from a couchsurfer that I could stay with him and his family. Oh, I so very much love CS!!!! Today I spent in transit getting down here and I am now in Singapore with my new host. All good. Now I just have to turn on my brain and start warming it up for the intense course ahead....


At 9:16 AM , Blogger Jason Chapman said...

Hey guys,

amazing shots, I can't believe you're still going - congratulations it's very inspiring.

I've been thinking of Brandon a lot lately - how do I get a hold of him? I tried your email of watkins travel and it doesn't work!

Keep in touch,

Jason (the old ESL customer)

At 3:08 PM , Blogger Ju_B said...

hey Ammon,

I'm sorry I cannot offer u long term accomm but if you need somewhere to crash for a few nights you're welcome at our place near Queenstown MRT.

I'm not on CS but am on, although I haven't used it since leaving Brisbane.

Cheers & good luck with the course!


At 4:20 PM , Blogger Brandon said...

So good to hear from you!

Please contact me directly at



At 12:34 AM , Anonymous Brandon said...

So jealous that you are back in sparkling clean Singapore. We know we thought it was a livable city for sure, and now you are studying there. You just never know about life.... way to go.


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