inconsistent news from southeast asia

Malaysia-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - March 2006  |  by Matthew Audley

MALAYSIA

New country!

First of all, Malaysia brought me these awesome glasses!  Don't worry, they were REALLY cheap.

First of all, Malaysia brought me these awesome glasses! Don't worry, they were REALLY cheap.

The road from Satun.  Actually, Satun is still in Thailand, but barely.  Very big muslim community.

The road from Satun. Actually, Satun is still in Thailand, but barely. Very big muslim community.

So we caught a boat to Langkawi Island and it was a hell of a time. But I can whine about our troubles some other time. The people are generally nice, (I swear they're even nicer here than in Thailand!) but there always seems to be a teksi driver trying to rip you off somewhere. We escaped eventually.

A mosque!  Muslims!

A mosque! Muslims!

Not to downplay the unique cultures of the other countries we've visited, but Malaysia is more obviously a distinct country at first glance, thanks in part to the fact that it's a largely muslim country. It's also hugely diverse, with large Indian and Chinese populations. It makes for some really awesome food. Especially Indian food.

But I digress. We arrived in Langkawi on the 3rd of February. It's an expensive, touristy place because it was declared a duty-free zone for some reason. This did allow me to purchase the only beer I'll be drinking in Malaysia, though. It was 2 RM (3.2 RM (ringgit) = 1 CAD) for a can of beer there. Everywhere else, it's 8.90 for that can of beer. Ouch. The obvious answer is that the muslim dominated government taxes the hell out of my precious beer. We'll live, I guess.

The next morning, we caught another (expensive!) boat to Penang (or Georgetown, if you prefer). It's a really amazing city, obviously very old, and there's no shortage of really cheap guesthouses. However, we do seem to be staying in some sort of transvestite brothel today. Neat!

Arriving in Penang.

Arriving in Penang.

The signs on all the stores indicate that they've been around for years and years and there's lots of great old colonial architecture, too (Unlike Thailand, which has never been colonized, Malaysia has been colonized by almost everyone.)

Beach Street, Penang.  Thanks to land reclamation, it's no longer even on the coast.

Beach Street, Penang. Thanks to land reclamation, it's no longer even on the coast.

One of many well-established shops.

One of many well-established shops.

So, we've been hanging out in Penang. We checked out their big modern mall, but it has big modern, western prices to match. Today we went to the museum and learned about Malaysia's diverse cultural heritage, mostly. It hasn't actually been as peachy as they'd like you to believe. They don't mention the race riots in 1969. Nonetheless, it was good. Good and educational like.

Everyone here is really nice and the Indian food is fantastic.

Tomorrow we leave for Kuala Lumpur!

Sorry if these entries are a bit all over the place (and they are), but at least I get it done this way.

HA!! I bet you thought the glasses were dorky!  Now who's dorky?  huh?

HA!! I bet you thought the glasses were dorky! Now who's dorky? huh?

'Night, everyone.

© Matthew Audley, 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Leaving for bangkok on Sept. 12. Where we go from there is anyone's guess. Hoping to see Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos. Be back in six months or so if everything goes well. There really isn't much of a route planned - we'll see what happens.
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 6 months
End of journey: Mar 19, 2006
Travelled countries: Thailand
Canada
Laos
Vietnam
Cambodia
Southeastern Asia
Malaysia
The Author
 
Matthew Audley is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.
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