finally found a cafe. whew. i still don’t have access to my pictures, but i’ve got the earphones on, springsteens in. let’s see what thoughts float to the surface in the middle of singapore.
well. spoiler alert for the postcard i wrote to my family today, but while the boys took a nap, i navigated the market, stopping for a chocolate pancake and some sweet corn (odd combo, yes). i meandered past temples and big golden statues of buddha, watching as people rubbed their hands in his mouth and over his belly. some held incense and murmured towards the sky. religion is an odd thing.
people hawked flowers and lotion and sunglasses and pendants. old supremes and ccr tunes trickled out of little shops guarded by texting teenagers. the smell of curry and spice in the muggy air. culture is an odd thing.
the lights turn green, i walk across. the only blonde in a sea of black hair. as i do, de javu. i walked alone, lost, through the streets of amsterdam a few years ago. then along a lumpy road covered in dust in uganda also a couple years back. now, the clean and modern streets of singapore meet my feet. and again, i am alone. it is a content solitude, but for some reason, i keep finding myself in far off places wandering around trying to find my way. maybe it’s symbolic of life. it looks like God has a theme going…
alright, so anyways, here’s the rundown. we got into kuala lumpur last tuesday (again, i wish i had pictures…they will come). stayed until thursday in a decent hostel a little malay man showed us to on a street in hectic chinatown. walked down to the famous petronas towers, went up, jumped around, came down.
the city is, well, a pretty dirty, typical asian city. an islamic hub with a completely mixed bag of people. walked past a rotting dog (“dude, what is that smell!?”), accidentally dropped my camera into a bucket of shower water (after skyping my dad and getting his “put the camera in a bag of rice and it will take out the moisture” advice, it has gradually made an amazing recovery), felt overly aware of my exposed shoulders in the flocks of headscarves, and sweat bucket-loads. it’s hotter than a bakers oven in these parts.
thursday we flew to the east coast, to kota baharu, and boated our way out to the perhentian islands. these islands, to put it in few words, are heaven. white sand, soft blue water…go google it.
since we arrived at night onto the main strip, long beach, we just dumped our stuff at a cheap joint. cheap and seedy. the pillows had been fighting a mold war for years and the sink was hilarious. you turn it on and the water goes splashing right to your feet. the next two nights we lucked out at the lonely planets island pick, petani beach, where we ran around in bliss and blue water. the place was run by a south african woman and her malay husband, so that was quite cool.
the boys snorkelled. we all hammocked. i hunted for shells. we all read, lazed, napped. we watched the sunset, kicked up sand, ate fresh fish by moonlight, boated over to a big island birthday party with new friends.
the amount of times we say, “dude, where are we!?” or “this is ridiculous” is diminishing and simply giving way to glances and looks. wide eyes and nods. they all say, i can’t believe we’re actually here.
but island life ends, for now, and last night we took the all-night fun bus through johor baru and into singapore. we have one glorious day and then it’s back into malaysia tomorrow to catch a flight to bali.
its been soft breeze and banana pancakes for breakfast, yes, but the glamour erodes too. besides the camera debacle, i whacked my ankle on a hotel sign i hopped onto to see the petronas towers (and 2 minutes later, was asked to get down, so it was a short-lived view) and it remains bruised and cankleish. then the next morning we were racing in the suffocating heat to the metro to hopefully still catch our flight (we missed it…) and i was running on said bum ankle, with a good 18 kg on my back, an open bag of rice with my busted camera inside in my hand, dripping sweat and getting stares galore. it was a sight.
and today, after not showering, an all night bus ride, and 2 days worth of suntan lotion, deet, and salt water shellacked to my skin, me and the guys walked for what seemed like forever on the hot singapore streets in search of a hostel. i could have rung-out the sweat from my pajamas. yes, pajamas. thats the cherry on the story.
and with that, i’ll hope next time for pictures to tell the story. who knows if this was even decent writing, it was kind of all over the place, but my net time is almost up, so i’ll just leave it at: the debacles, adventures, and as my dad would say, the character-building continues…