goodbye Indo, hello Malaysia!

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

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Hello intrepid readers!

The past week has been hilariously fun, exhausting, and filled with good people and events.  I traveled to a tiny island in Indonesia called Gili Trawangan for 4 days.  It was tiny, super blue water, lots of pubs (well...when I say a lot, that means maybe 5), and filled with Dive Shops.  I paid $8/night including breakfast for a little bungalow (no hot water), with ocean views.

First, the people there need to be described.  First, they are Muslim, and while you are sitting and having a beer looking at the tropical beauty, you hear the Muslim call to prayer from the mosque several times a day.  But most of the people who run the bungalows and pubs there are what they call "Indonesian Cowboys".  Total players.  Super cheesy.  Silly.  Funny.  I dont know what kind of woman would fall for such silliness, but they all have their schtick going, and it varies from being hilarious to ridiculous.  I did find a very good friend there who ran my guest house.  And Indonesian guy named Raja who did not have this game going, was so sincere, kind, helpful, chatty, and a really good person became my sidekick for the few days.  It teetered on annoying how happy he was to be my friend and how much time he wanted to spend, but it all was totally good natured, and he was adorable.  I will post a picture of him and the island soon.

I also was so happy because I finally got to go scuba diving again after a year and a half.  The dive shop had a course called Scuba Tuneup for people who hadnt been in the h2o for awhile, which was great to brush up on my skills and builde confidence.  Then only one dive for the day, for a total of $60 which is quite a bargain by American diving standards (all equipment included).  The dive was not as beautiful as I would have hoped.  Years back, before they made it a marine sanctuary, the Indonesians used to fish with dynomite there, and Im sure you can guess that the coral didnt like that so much.  But I did see a giant turtle, a manta ray, some cuttlefish, and some other nice stuff.  Other groups on the boat saw some reef sharks, but I was not so lucky.

Also on the island were Jill and Kai, who I wrote about before from Ubud.  We got to spend a nice amount of time together which was great!  One of my biggest fears on this trip was being lonely, and if anything, it has been the total opposite every step of the way.  I actually havent spent that much time by myself to be honest after over a month on the road.

So that, in a nutshell, was Gili.  I awoke at 7am on Tues to catch the boat off Gili to Lombok, which is a sizable island betwen the Gilis and Bali.  Then a 2 hour busride through Lombok to the main harbor.  Then a 5 hour boatride from Lombok to Bali.  Then a 2 hour shuttle ride from Pandangbai (the Bali bay) to the airport.  Then a 2.5 hr flight to Kuala Lumpur.  And then a 1 hr bus ride from the KL airport to my guesthouse.  And of course, the night before all of this was my latest night on Gili (went to sleep at 3:15), so needless to say, I was flipping exhausted when I finally got here to KL.

So KL...interesting.  Its extremely modern.  Clean.  Tons of shopping malls.  The tallest building in the world at present is here...the Petronas Towers, which I am sure many of you have seen before.  If you get there early in the morning and queue up, they give away 800 tickets to walk across the skybridge that attaches the two together.  There is a blend of Indian, Malay, and Chinese here, so the people watching is quite interesting.  And today is Chinese New YEar, so there are tons of red laterns hung all over the city and there will be celebrations for the next two weeks.  Later today, i will head out to see if I can find some dragon dancing.  Yesterday I spent the hot afternoon walking aorund Chinatown and Little India with Charlotte and Amy, two sisters from Wales.  And then last night I went out with some guys from the guesthouse and belted out some karaoke at a pub until 3am.  Really good times!  Other than that, Im actually not that into KL and will be heading out tomorrow to the Cameron Highlands for some trekking and touring of tea plantations! 

Malaysia is interesting also because it is split between the Peninsula and also part of the island of Borneo.  There is supposed to be really amazing trekking, animal life, and whatnot on Borneo, but it is the rainy season, and travel and conditions can be complicated now, so I think I will just stay on the peninsula. 

It is more expensive here than Bali, but the food is quite cheap.

Oh, and I have decided that I will not be doing the silent meditation that I mentioned before.  While I still find meditation to be meaningful and I am incorporating it into my life, the 10 days frankly sounds freaky to me, and I am out of the Ubud funky spiritual phase at the moment.  I also met a Greman guy on one of my boat rides to Gili who said he had done it in Thailand and it was extremely difficult.

Oh, and my final news is that I am securing my positions in Australia.  I think I will be sheering sheep for a week!  Stay tuned on that.

So that is the scoop!! All continues to be really good....but I do miss Bali.  :-(  But onward and upward with new adventures!



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