Well, cannot believe another week has gone by. Where does the time go? At the moment I am on a plane headed to Hanoi. I have just spent a week and a half in Malaysia. The time went by in a flash. Let me tell you all about it.
So, a few months ago I was talking to my friend from Uni, Constance, and she decided to coordinate her trip home to Borneo for the same time that I would be graduating from my TESOL program. This could not have been more perfect. I went from my newly made friends in HCMC to my old friend and her family. It started with two nights in Kuala Lumpur. Constance and her in laws picked me up and we headed out to the sweetest town called Melaka. It took a couple of hours to get there but it was completely worth it. Since Connie and her family are Chinese Malaysians, we visited Chinese temples, ate the most amazing rice balls lunch, and walked around. The town is a must if you are visiting K.L. There are cute shops, cute guesthouses, museums, a huge cathedral and the the most amazing guys riding around on the funniest bikes decorated in all kinds of colors and designs. You have to see it to believe it. It was a lovely day that ended with a lovely Chinese dinner and a trip to the health clinic.
A few days ago I felt like I was getting a cold and it quickly went into my lungs. If you have ever been to Vietnam, the first thing you will notice is most people wear masks. Not your every day sterile medical masks but very trendy masks that match their outfits. I understand why. There is a ton of dust and pollution in the city. Anyways, I did not wear a mask and my lungs were not happy about it. In fact, when I landed in K.L. my heart sank as all I could see was a very thick layer of pollution haze. I was already having pretty serious issues breathing and this was not going to help. At any rate, Connie’s brother in law took me to his clinic and I was told I had pollution induced bronchitis. The doctor gave me some perscriptions, a nebulizer and told me if it does not get better that I will need to leave. “Leave where?” I enquired and she said, “Asia”. Since that was not going to happen, I started taking the drugs. Honestly they did not really help and it was not until a couple of days later when Connie’s sister scored me an inhaler that I started feeling better. The wheezing and pollution were pretty scary though.
Constance, her husband and I flew over to Borneo, Kuching to be exact. I have never been to Borneo so I did not know what to expect. Constance’s neice didnt help as she informed me that Kuching was a really sleepy place with nothing to do. I had all these visions of undeveloped jungles and no city or internet. I was pleasantly surprised to see a gorgeous and thriving city. I say if you are ever in the neighborhood, you must take a look for yourself. First off, Kuching means cat so you will see many cat statues around the city.
There is great shopping, guesthouses and museums in town. It was great to be welcomed into Constance’s Chinese family because it was a great cultural experience for me. I was amazed at how much and how often they eat. How do they stay so slim I wonder? Anyways, we sure had a great time eating our way around Kuching. Seemed like friends and family were coming out of the woodwork to take us out to eat or drink. Everyone was so welcoming. Constances family was amazing. One night we drove out about 45 minutes to a little town that literally just had a dirt road. It was so cool because they had strewn red laterns back and forth across the road, there were food stalls every where and even a stage with karoke.
There was also entertainment in another area. It was good fun eating and watching the karoke. Another night, Constances husband’s friends invited us out for some beer and durian. As someone who doesnt like durian, I almost stayed home that night. So glad I didn’t because it was a blast. I was amazed at how passionate they were about their durian. And, honestly, by the end of the night, I was even enjoying eating it. Yes, its true. There are different kinds and I found one that was quite tasty.
Another day, we went to a longhouse which is a small village on stilts. Every door is actually a home and these days you can stay in one just for the experience. The floors are bamboo and not the bamboo floors that I know but actual strips of bamboo. It was a strange, and a little unsettling, feeling to be walking on bamboo–especially since you could see through the floor to the ground about 10 feet below. It was a great experience and I would love to go back some down and spend the night.
Another evening we went to a food festival. What luck it started while we were there. It was at this food festival that I discovered oyster pancakes. I dont really like oysters and let me tell you, this is a pretty sweet dish. The thing I loved about eating with Constance and her family is that everything seemed to be dim sum which meant a lot of interesting flavors. Im sure I wouldnt have tried half the stuff I did since I wouldnt even know what to order. Instead my taste buds were delighted the entire time I was there.
We rounded off my stay with a trip out to Damai, the beach. It was gorgeous and we had a lovely time swimming in the sea and going to the cultural village. It was really a great time. Before I knew it, it was time to go. Constance and her husband took me to the airport. While we were walking inside, along comes her sister. It was really great to see her at the airport and I felt very special. I’m just really excited to go back and take Paul. It was an extraordinary week in Kuching.