Brief Time In Malaysia

On my first morning in Kuala Lumpur I woke up nicely rested, got myself some coffee and spoke with my new friend Vina's mother, the two of which I was staying with while in the city. I headed into the heart of it and began exploring.

It would be a nice several days all together. I went to markets and tried tasty foods, admired the Petronas Towers, views of the city from one of Vina's friend's high rise apartment and more spicy food along the way that she showed me or I discovered in my own wandering.

She introduced me to a friend of her named Jeffery, we had some spicy pizza and beers together before heading back to his place where we tried some sting ray and squid from a local street stall as well. The day after that was a big sleep in relaxed day, again with more tasty food that Vina brought back like spicy chicken rice and fried bananas.

She was incredibly hospitable and genuinely nice throughout meeting her, even letting me use her transit card to get around the city. After that few days I did some more exploring of the city and of course trying more food, then headed back to Jeffery's apartment to spend the night there with the heat of the city and the odd mosquito or two as I slept on the floor in the spare room. The view from his living room was of the towers and nice to sit and watch.

The next day I spent with Jefferey mostly wandering a mega technology mall, many floors of laptops and electronics in his searching and haggling to find the perfect new one. We also met up with Vina who was on a similar mission, she was considering buying mine from me, but it was deemed generally worthless being older and without a battery at that point.

Jefferey and I sat down for a pint of Guinness midway to contemplate which laptop he should go for and discuss girls and philosophy all the same. That night we listened to and exchanged music, then one last night in Kuala Lumpur's heat.

In the morning I was quickly up and out, Thailand on my mind, no direct route in mind to get there and still not counting out the idea of seeing more of Malaysia. In fact I had one or two CouchSurfing hosts in place north flexibly willing to host me, or not, whatever worked. With Thailand also came some confusion in regards to my visa. I'd already had a flight booked from Bangkok to Germany leaving in about a month, but I'd booked that ticket with the understanding that I was allowed 30 days in the country. I later found out that 30 days was allowed for United States citizens who flew into the country, those arriving by land (like hitchhiking over the border from Malaysia) were only allowed 15 days.

Anyhow, my mindset was still leaning towards dealing with that when the time came or ignoring it. I left Jeffery's apartment before he woke up leaving a note of goodbye and thanks, then hopped the public transit as far to the edge of town as possible to begin my hitchhiking. It let me out a ways away and I wandered down a windy road trying to make my way to the major road heading north.

The roads were a bit confusing and I couldn't find an entrance to what looked like the major highway, I was out in the country and wasn't seeing many cars these side roads. I decided to climb the high embankment up to the highway and soon found out why things seemed so ghostly, the highway was unused with massive signs of construction far and down. It was sort of an eerie end-of-days sort of feeling to be on the massively elevated and wide highway that stretched on so far, completely empty.

Luckily, being that high up now, I was able to spot the active highway and make my way towards it by hiking a ways, hopping some fences and up and downing through some more embankments. I came upon the active highway right at a toll booth which I casually walked by hoping not to attract any attention in the event that I wasn't supposed to be walking there.

After passing by the booths one of the very first cars stopped and offered me a ride, someone speaking English as well which made things very easy. I looked at a map to get an idea of where exactly, the guy also offered to let me use his phone. I took the opportunity to call one of the CouchSurfing hosts, one who lived Khota Bharu on the east side of the country by the Thai border, and let him know that I was likely going to miss out on seeing him since I was heading straight up the west side a good ways. As it turned out, he told me he was in a town called Ipoh for the night partying with friends and planned to head to Khota Bharu the next day. I'd be passing through this town in the current ride I was getting, so we instead decided that I'd meet him there, be able to stay at his friends house, and cruise to Khota Bharu with him the next day putting me right at the border. Perfect.

I met him at a central shopping center and we headed to a bar cafe where some of his fellow teacher friends were gathered enjoying some beers. We all talked for a while, some of them had just met as well, but they were all teaching English in different parts of the country.

We headed back to one of their houses after making a liquor and food run, this turned to a night of drinks, food and stories of travel and teaching and the like. The night went long and I headed back with Chris, my host, and a few others to one of the other people's homes where we could all stay the night. We extended the night another drink or two more on a balcony, then each dispersed to different couches and beds in the house for the night.

Myself, Chris and another guy who also lived near Khota Bharu took off in the morning and searched until we found a cafe shop for a hungover recount of the night that had taken place before hitting the road. They'd both apparently hooked up with the same Ukrainian girl at different points in the night and were hazily putting the pieces together.

The drive to Khota Bharu was nice, thick forests, palms, cliffs and mountains along the twisting roads as we made our way. Back at his apartment we relaxed, ate and I listened to the prayers being blasted through loudspeakers that could be heard all over the city.

I took it easy the next day, going wandering around the neighborhood while Chris was out on a long bike ride. It was a pretty chill place with, again, spicy good food to be found on the cheap. A big thunderstorm hit that was entertaining, I was close enough to the apartment that I headed back and enjoyed it a bit.

Chris came back and by night we were headed to a market to wander the stalls with all kinds of clothes and food and jewelry and anything else that could be put on a table or hung up to be sold. We met up with some of his friends, munching snacky fruits and goodness and all kinds of other foods. We buzzed on back to his place eventually, chatting more and I took the time to get a hit of the internet, sending out CouchSurfing messages to potential destinations in Thailand, as the next day would bring on the start of that adventure, more good times awaited.