Thursday, September 10, 2015

Failing at being a Backpacker

After leaving Aseania resort I met up with a South African friend I'd met earlier at Aseania and together we headed for Melaka. Unlike myself who is so cheap I'll put up with any sketchy hostel, my friend insisted on getting a proper hotel room so next thing I know we're checking into the Rucksack Caratel which is a month old place that was beautiful, great location and pretty quirky (i.e. the 'please clean my room' signs said 'help! Our room has been taken over by leprechauns! please chase then away')

In Melaka it is a pretty and laid back town with a river running through the historical center and the Dutch buildings are painted red and the streets are filled with stores selling scary durian concoctions and baba nyonya reataurants which are based off the cultural mash-up of the Chinese men (or sometimes Dutch or Portuguese) marrying Malay women. The baba nyonya food was good, the durian concoctions I found a loophole around. I'd promised a friend I'd try durian ice cream so at an ice cream parlour I had a sample of it than then tried to drown out the taste with a scoop of non poisonous ice cream - mmm white chocolate macadamia.

In Melaka there was a lot of walking around the rivers, and visiting Fritz, the Dutch guy from Aseania who took us to this little hole in the wall Indian place with excellent tandoori. We  were supposed to leave Friday but after hearing about the weekend night market we extended our stay and that Friday I gorged on food. Coconut shakes, fried veggie cakes, dumplings, satay, ice cream in a freshly made fish shaped cone, you name it and after the night market we ended up at Eleven drinking beer and tequila and sharing a few glasses of single malt with the owner of the bar and his brother who blew our minds with excellent magic tricks. 

These freaky neon bikes were everywhere

Kuala Lumpur
We eventually left Melaka and headed North to Kuala Lumpur which was almost like a shock to my system being in such a big noisy, dirty, busy city after 2 months on a quiet island. Even Melaka was like an adjustment period but it still was pretty small in comparison. In KL we stayed near the Bukit Bintang station right in the heart of downtown facing the Kuala Lumpur Pavilion. The city was busy,  full of shopping (which I don't care about), western chain restaurants (don't care about), and overpriced attractions (especially dont care about). In the 3 days we stayed there we saw the Petronas Twin Towers, the KL Tower, Chinatown area and a bunch of westernized restaurants (my friend wasn't a big fan of Malay food). After 3 nights in the big city both of us were itching to leave so he headed to Langkawi and I was hopping on a bus to the Cameron Highlands and it was only as the bus was pulling away that I realized I had no clue what to expect at the Cameron Highlands or whether the name was an actual town or just a region but after KL I was up for any change.

Lesson learned: It was nice spending a few nights in hotels (and swiping all the free toiletries!) but I am still at that stage in my life and travels where I need to be staying in questionable hostels, and weird accomodations full of equally dirty backpackers because the thought of sketchy hostels, dirt cheap street food-that may make me sick, travelling in cheap but uncomfortable transportation and meeting ridiculous penny pinching backpackers like me still excites me. Again, I may be a masochist.

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