I’m back in KL, sitting in the little lobby of our discount hotel and trying to figure out how to metabolize four weeks of travel and spew it out in one nice, little, re-digestible blog piece. This trip has both dizzying and intense, with periods of pure loveliness and bliss, even, but it’ll take me a bit to process all the data that flew at my receptors like snowflakes in a blizzard. This cud’s gonna have to get chewed a while…
What I can say it that it’s good to be back in Malaysia’s capital, firmly back in “civilization”. It’s nice that the stares have abated and everywhere I go people don’t shout “Hello mister where you go?” to me. Indonesia is a country where, as a foreigner, it’s nearly impossible to go out a-wandering unmolested. You are showered with attention wherever you are, some of it welcome, some of it not.
I feel like I’ve just returned from a three and a half week camping trip. Last night saw my first hot shower in ages; my first sleep since in which insects did not crawl upon body (though I did get chawed on by a couple of skitters). For once I feel as if I haven’t been slathered in sweat and grime and covered in salt. This morning I actually got to SIT on a toilet where the threat of a venomous snake slithering in unnoticed was incredibly low. I feel clean and it’s nice.
KL is kind of a cool city, the downtown core at least. This place puts the multi in multi-culturalism. It’s a mosaic of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arab, and Western flavors. This is seen in the city’s endless restaurants and food stalls especially. It’s a great place to get down with some food, and after three weeks of Indonesian nasi goreng and the odd rendang curry, I’m ready to make my last meal of the trip count.
I have tons to write about Indonesia, and shall be posting more as the week goes by and I gather my notes. The last days were spent on Pulau Weh, where I spent much of the time under the water, both snorkeling and diving (the sealife is incredible there). We spent a couple of hours yesterday morning touring around Banda Aceh city in a motorbike sidecar. Our driver was a tsunami survivor (ten of his family members died that morning) and he drove us to several spots memoralizing the disaster, including one featuring a fishing boat on the roof of a house that’s been preserved for posterity. The whole experience was gripping and more than very moving. In retrospect I wish I would have spent a couple of days in the city and getting more tsunami stories, but they are often so crushingly tragic that I’m not sure if I would have had the stomach for it. Well, at least I paid my respects.
Time to go eat. See you in Korea.