Bandar Tasek Mutiara, Malaysia
Butterworth Travel Blog› entry 164 of 247 › view all entries
Ok, so back on the road we were, ready for a brand new adventure!
We only had one real concern: Was hitchhiking going to work in Malaysia and Asia, in general?
For us, ‘til now, it’s worked out A-Ok, and it seemed like a perfectly safe and convenient way of traveling.
But here, it’s another story. Gotta remember that in the East, it’s a pretty foreign concept, and not everyone knows what hitchhiking is, or understands our reasons for traveling this way.
They figure, we’re Western tourists, so we gotta have money!!! Nope, not exactly the case for us!!
And still, hitchhiking allows us to have a completely different experience and get to meet loads of interesting people that we probably wouldn’t be able to meet if we were traveling on a bus.
Hence, our reason and willingness to stick with it, despite any worries we may have about it working out here in Asia.
The good news is, to our pleasant surprise, hitchhiking worked out just fine.
At first, though, as we set down our backpacks, we obviously got the strange looks, because let’s not forget, we’re a couple of foreigners that were sticking out our thumbs at vehicles passing by!!!
"What in the world are these two doing?" folks must’ve been asking themselves!!
Lucky for us, though, a few people, who most likely were curious to know what we were doing and probably felt sorry for us, tried their best to help us out.
Automatically, these individuals would say, "Do you want to take the bus?" And of course, we replied "No .
And as we tried to explain what we were doing, HITCHHIKING, finally this cute miss and her mom, decided to give us a lift to a location, where we’d be able to continue northward to our destination. That was perfect!!
She gave us a lift to the infamous Batu Caves, which was great for us because we hadn’t planned on visiting this place, but now we could!!
Unfortunately, and little did we know, we weren’t on the right road needed to get us northbound!! Argh!! Spoke too soon!!
Anyway, it was still very nice of them, and we were thrilled that we actually managed to catch a ride in Malaysia!! Things were looking good!!
So, we were back on the road just shortly after, but the bad news was that we found ourselves back at square one.
The next guy who picked us up, wasn’t heading in the direction we wanted either, and actually complicated our situation altogether. We ended up back in the city centre of KL, the worst possible place to continue hitchhiking, because it’s a big city and all.
For those of you who are familiar and actually do some hitchhiking, you should know that it’s practically impossible to do so from a city. That’s why we always try to get out of the big city and in a place just outside.
Lucky for us again, Arnaud managed to convince this guy to get us to the toll booth, which was probably the best place for us to continue onwards.
From there, things started looking brighter for us. We ended up negotiating our way into riding along with this trucker, who would become a great friend and guardian angel to us.
Now, introducing Guna, our new trucker friend, a Malaysian but of Indian ancestry. The ride north was a long one, indeed, especially since there was a significant language barrier.
Still, we managed to overcome it, and what seemed to be bothersome at first, soon became very insignificant. It’s amazing to know what one is capable of, when necessary. Ah, communication, a beautiful thing, no?!!
Guna’s English was actually not that bad . . . if only my Hindi or Malay, could be just as good!!
So, eventually (after 8 long hours!!) we got to Bandar Tasek Mutiara, not exactly Penang, where we originally intended on going to, but hey!!
And being that it was pretty late, we were in a bit of a jam for accommodation .
As has been the case for us ‘til now, we were being watched over by The Big Guy upstairs. Couldn’t really set up our tent in this town, but that wouldn’t be a problem at all.
Guna made sure to take care of us, and made arrangements so that we could stay with his sister and her family.
Ah, and once again, the beginning of a beautiful story, with endless generosity and friendship. Might sound cheesy, but I'm still amazed at our good fortune.
Although we were technically still in Malaysia, we were in store for a little taste of India here. We spent some of best moments in the company of these adorable folks. Trying their traditional meals, watching and listening to the infamous Bollywood hits, and just taking in the Hindu culture altogether.
Our stay with Guna’s sister’s family was wonderful. Mano, Guna’s brother-in-law, is a true sweetheart. And his children were so polite, calling us "Uncle" and "Auntie." How cute!! :) We immediately felt like we were part of the family and they made our time with them truly unforgettable.
As far as Guna’s family . . . Wow!! His wife, Vani, and their 6 kids were something else!! Never a dull moment in Guna’s home. As was the case at Mano’s home, we also, were treated like royalty at Guna’s.
We spent a good part of the time eating, seriously. They fed and fed and fed us, as if we were being plumped up to be eaten!! :)
We had feast after feast, and I was even a bit adventurous and tried some of the seafood that was prepared in our honor.
And though I much rather preferred the chicken, the crustacean thingy I tried, wasn’t so bad.
Everything was perfect . . . the food and its various sauces, the company, every single thing, down to the cute banana leaves we had our food on.
I just wish I could have eaten with my hands, like them, but for the moment, a fork and spoon would have to do. Perhaps I’ll pick up this skill a little further on along the trip . . .
After spending some incredible days with them, we had to keep on going, next stop, Penang . . . but we’ll be back!!!
Le 2ème routier fut le bon et de nouveau un « hindou », Guna parlait peu l’anglais mais suffisamment pour qu’on se comprenne !! Il allait lui aussi à Penang.
Après lui avoir expliqué notre façon de voyager par rapport à la tente et tout le reste, il nous proposa de passer quelques jours chez la maison de sa sœur, sachant que l’espace était plus important chez elle !!
Badabing, Badabong Badaboum nous voilà devant la porte de chez le beau-frère Mano. Il nous suffisait de passer la porte pour devenir membre de la famille.
Tout était déjà préparé, les serviettes pour prendre la douche, un peu de nourriture et du café et surtout plein de questions à poser !
De notre coté un mystère demeurait, où était le papier toilette ? Dans ce pays et je crois dans toute l’Asie se nettoyer avec un peu d’eau à la main est aussi naturel que d’utiliser du papier toilette.
Entre nous je préfère la méthode à l’ancienne :)
Il nous laissa dormir au milieu du salon sur un tapis magique. Magique dans le sens du confort, pas très épais mais un confort absolu. Le jour suivant, on était la nouvelle attraction du quartier et surtout de la famille, tout le monde voulait voir ce couple de fou.
La femme de Mano nous prépara un repas typique Indien et Guna arriva en fin de journée pour nous proposer une autre invitation pour le lendemain mais cette fois chez lui avec sa femme et ses 6 enfants.
On passa donc toute la journée en bonne compagnie, à gouter les saveurs Indiennes (assez épicées), à vivre et à parler à l’Indienne « YES my Frrriend ».
Après une bonne nuit de repos, on était en route pour l’appartement de Guna. Et de nouveau, on était attendu. Sa femme nous avait concocté un énorme festin.
Pour remplacer les assiettes de grandes feuilles de bananiers et pour nous fourchette et cuillère vu qu’en Malaisie, les gens mangent à la main.
Il y avait de tout, du poisson, des crustacés, du poulet et avec chacun une sauce différente et sans parler du riz, des nouilles et des légumes. J’ai fait d’ailleurs une petite vidéo de la soirée !!
On devait aller par la suite à Penang, une petite ile non loin de chez Guna, donc il trouva quelqu’un pour nous déposer devant le bateau !! Il était bien sur obligatoire de faire appel à lui à notre retour !!