Friday, January 31, 2003

In Krabi

It's Friday evening, and we're in Krabi. Not much to do in Krabi in the evenings. Anyway, here's the updates for the last two days:

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003
We went to bed about 9:00PM last night, and slept in until about 9:00 AM. Had breakfast in town, and bought a van ticket to Krabi (180 baht). We just took it easy and laid on the beach today, until about 3:30. I snorkeled out to a big rock jutting out of the ocean off of our resort. It was amazing, lots and lots of colorful fish. The BIG angelfish are the best, but they're quite shy, and won't let me get very close for a good picture. I swam around the rocks for about 20 minutes, then started heading back to shore, and ran into a *HUGE* school of fish (I think they were squid...long, slender bodies, swam in a huge school, must have been a thousand of them), and I swam in amongst them, it was a totally awesome experience!!! I swam around with them for about 10 minutes, then headed back to shore. It was quite breathtaking.

I found a HUGE spider in our hut (almost as big as a tarantula), and made the mistake of telling Courtney about it. She insisted I get rid of it, so first I tried to get a big branch, and get the spider to go on it, then I could take it outside. Didn't work. They she insisted I try to kill it by spraying it with Off insect repellant. Being the skeptical type, I tried it, but after the first spray, the spider ran really fast, and dissappeared. Never saw him after that. Courtney hates spiders!! I learned from that, I'll never tell Courtney if there's spiders in our room anymore.

We went to town for supper, came back and packed our stuff up. A truck was going to pick us up at 7:30AM the following morning, heading for Krabi. We went to the restaurant for a drink, we were bored, it gets dark so quickly. There was a totally cute little kitten in the restaurant, playing around, and just being a kitten. We stole a ball from a neighbouring resort and tried playing some beach volleyball in the dark, but it's no fun with only two people. We gave the ball back, then Courtney tried doing some flips in the sand (she did well!)

- a lot of older tourists (40+) around Koh Lanta. Also, there's a lot of couple's touring, as opposed to groups of guys or girls travelling together (like in Mexico).
- the dogs here (and there a lot of them!) are totally calm and laid back. Even if they are rabid, they'd never bite, they just sleep and lounge around all day, totally non-aggrressive. They're never tied up, they all roam free.

Friday, Jan. 31, 2003
The bus picked us up about 7:10AM and took us to the Krabi international airport, about 10 km out of town, so we had to take a taxi to town. We had a reservation desk make reservations at the Chan Cha Lay Guest House (recommended in Let's Go), for 250baht a night. Very nice and clean guest house, with shared washrooms and showers, but they were very clean as well. It's a brand new guest house, according to Let's Go. When we got to the guest house, the lady only had one room left, which was a small room, two single beds, with one small window facing a concrete building next to us. As we were having lunch at the guest house restaurant, she came up and told us she had a room upstairs, at the front of the building, facing the street, if we wanted it. Of course, we took it (same price), and she took us up and showed it to us. We totally got the best room in the whole guest house now. Large double bed, two windows, one facing the street, with a great view down the street. Right outside the room is a balcony, so Court and I had a few drinks of our cheap Thai whiskey we had bought in Koh Lanta, as we sat on the balcony. We were going to go to a Country Dance Bar we had seen earlier, while walking around Krabi. After having a few, it was still very early (about 8:00), so we started walking to the bar, and there was NO ONE inside. They weren't even playing any music. Apparenly the nightlife is best about 20 minutes from town, at a beach called Au Lang (or something like that, I forget now).

AT lunch at the guest house, I had iced coconut milk. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So sweet and tasty, I love it. Does anyone know if coconut milk is high in calcium like cow's milk? Not that it matters, I'm just curious. I ended up having some more coconut milk at supper at another restaurant.

Krabi is a lot cheaper than Koh Lanta, restaurants are cheaper to eat it, internet is half the price (still slow, though, so no pictures yet).

All day, these firecracker things have been going off. They are VERY loud, and one of them went off next door, and scared the crap out of me. It's the Chinese New Year here, and everyone is firing off these firecrackers. They are pretty neat. I asked at the guest house, and there's nothing "special" about the Chinese New Year here, it's a family affair, so no big parties or street parades or anything.

I think I may have travellers diahrea. (sp?)

Courtney is shopping heaven again. They have a much better selection here than Koh Lanta, and cheaper too. But we've been spending WAY too much money, we have to watch it, so she's trying to cut back. She did buy some nice pants for 85 baht though (less than $3.00CDN).

Ooh, I have to tell you about my stomach. I got a bad burn a few days ago, and yesterday my stomach started blistering, and today it's super itchy and kinda sore, the blisters are breaking, it's all sore and peeling and gross. Cool, eh?

Tomorrow we're going to rent a motorbike and take a trip to some hot springs and soak. I think we're going to try to hit the nightlife centre at that beach as well.

BTW, pedestrian's in SE Asia DO NOT have the right of way. If you're walking, get out of the way, or get run over.

We found a cheap Lonely Planet Thailand book (a photocopy from Vietnam!), which is good.

Anyway, I suppose it's time to go. Until next time, TTYL.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Almost done in Koh Lanta

Ok, let's see, the last update was Monday sometime, so here's what's been happening since.

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003
Had a crappy sleep last night. I was kinda cool, plus my sun burn hurt whenever I moved. I had sunburns!!

We checked out of Lanta Sand Resort and into Deep Forest Bungalows. 250 baht/night (half the price of Landa Sand Resort). Court and I each paying about $3.50 CDN a night at this place. It's kind of a dive, but not too bad. It's a beach hut type of thing, has a double bed, a small night stand with mirror, and an attached bathroom, with a toilet and shower. No sink. There are ants all over, but none on the bed, so it's good. We have a small lizard living in the bathroom (maybe 5 inches long), which is cool. There are probably more, and we hear strange noises at night, that seem to be coming from the walls of the hut. Courtney said to me this morning that she thinks we have wild animals living in the walls of our hut. All we do is sleep there anyway, no big deal.

We had breakfast in town, and checked out getting scuba lessons (PADI Open Water certification is 10,500 baht, three hundred and some odd dollars CDN). We're gonna wait and see if w can get something in Krabi, maybe cheaper, since this is a tourist resort, it's probably a little more expensive here.

We went to the cave (can't remember the name...something Mai Cave or somethign like that). It's a motorbike ride to the cave, then you have to buy a ticket, and a local guide will take you through the caves. It was just Court and I and the guide, and we each had a flashlight. He was a nice fellow, speaking in his broken English, but I don't think he ever used a toothbrush in his life.

Anyway, the cave was AWESOME!! It was so humid inside, I was sweating and sweating. It was so dark and quiet, and went on and on and on. There were some pretty tight spots, a fat person never would have been able to do it. Along the way, we passed some other spleunkers who were going on a tour as well. The guide then took us to the bat cave. We shone the flashlights up, and there were hundreds and hundreds of bats hanging from the ceiling. It was soo cool. We got lots and lots of great caving pictures, unfortunately, we can't upload them in Koh Lanta.

Some other noteworthy items:
In town, there was a group of maybe 10 schoolkids (dressed up in uniforms) that stopped me, and started practising their english on me. They came up and one guy was kind of the more agressive one, and started asking me questions about where I was from, how I liked Thailand, how long I was staying. Every once in a while, another kid would chime in with another questions. They all had English workbooks with them, they had to sometimes open it up and check it before asking a question. It was soooo cute and nice. AFter about 5 minutes of "interrogation", they said goodbye, shook our hands, and said thank you and left us, to find other tourists to practise on, no doubt.

Courtney belches a lot!!!!!!!

Courtney and I did hand. We bought some detergent at the local supermarket and used the bucket in our bathroom to do laundry, then hung it outside our cabin to dry. We looked like the trailer park trash of the resort, I'm sure.

In the evening, we went to Jonathon and Carly's cabin, and said goodbye to them. They were leaving the next day to go to Bangkok.

That's about all that happened on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 30, 2003:
ON Tuesday we booked a 4 Island snorkelling tour to go on on Wednesday. A truck came and picked us up at 8:00AM, we hopped in the back of the pick-up, and took off. When we got to the dock (which is at the townsite), we had some time to kill, so we walked to a shop and bought an underwater camera. Glad we did!!! The four islands we visited were: Koh Ngai, Koh Chuek, Koh Muk, and Koh Kradan.

Anyway, the boat that was to take us there pulled up to the dock, and we boarded the boat. I was expecting a relatively "nice" boat, but this was pretty rickety. Anyway, it got the job done (barely!)

Anyway, it took us about an hour and a half to get to the first island, which was just a huge rock jutting out of the ocean. We jumped overboard, and swam with the fish, it was pretty neat. There weren't tons of fish here, but a lot of very colourful fish and coral. AFter about an hour, we got back on board, and went to the next stop. This was pretty neat. There were a lot more fish here, schools and schools of fish swimming all around you, large and small, yellow, orange, black, striped, spotted, thousand and thousands of them. Very impressive. It was really neat to see someone throw a piece of donut or something into the ocean, and see the fish swarm around it and devour it. Way cool!!

The third stop was called the "Emerald Cave", where we swam through and underwater passage system into the inside of this island, where this beach was surrounded by cheer cliffs on everyside. The only way into the centre of the island is by this underwater cavern. (Or parachute in, I suppose!) The sand in there was unlike any sand I've ever walked on. It was sooo fine, it was like walking in flour, that's how soft and fine it was. Unbelievable.

The fourth island was the lunch stop. The boat pulled up on this beach on another resort island, and we all had kind of a buffet picnic. They had rice, fish heads (I passed on this), vegetables, and a chicken stirfry thing, and bottled water. This was a very nice place.

The wind was blowing pretty heavy today, and there were some pretty big waves crashing into this beach, which was neat.

On the way back, we had to pick up a bunch of people out of a little fishing boat. I think the guy was giving a snorkelling tour from this little fishing vessel, and because of the high seas, the boat couldn't handle them so he had to pull into a small bay, where we pulled alongside, and everybody in that boat climbed aboard our boat. Then we picked up some more people at a big pier on another island.

On the way back to Koh Lanta, the boat nearly keeled over!!! There were huge swells in the sea, and the boat was swaying pretty good. At one point, the boat started keeling over to the starboard side, the windows below decks (where we were sitting) started filling up with water, and we were probably at a 45 degree angle, and the captain knew this was bad, and cut the engines, and turned the boat quick, so we wouldn't keel over. Anyone that was sleeping at that point sure got a rude awakening. Everyone was scared, it was kinda funny. I got a fright too, I'll admit!

We got back to the dock about 6:00 or so, and a truck took us back to our "resort". We had supper at the resort, rented another motorbike, and drove into town, Courtney was craving chocolate, so we found a small bakery on the waterfront, and a brownie and a chocolate shake. Courtney was totally wiped from snorkelling all day. She was to tired. I was doing ok. We went back to the resort, looked at the time, it was only 8:00 (it gets dark about 6:30 here), so we walked along the beach for a while. Did I mention all the bars and lounges along teh beach? Every resort has a bar of some sort, they're never busy, though.

We walked back to our hut, watched some more of our video, then went to bed about 9:30.

Other notes:
Everyone takes their shoes off before entering a store here. So we do too. So you walk around in your bare feet all the time.

I think we're getting used to the weather today. It's still frickin hot during the day, but at night, we sometimes find it kinda cool, even though the temperature probably doesn't get below 25 degrees. We're getting aclimatized (sp?)!

The island has lost power for the last 2 of 3 days. It's out all day, and usually comes back on late afternoon of evening.

No shortage of places selling plane/bus/train/boat tickets out of here. Seems like every 2nd shop in town sells travel!

Oh, and I have to mention the fruit shakes. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!! Orange is the best, it's just crushed ice mixed with fruit juice, and is it ever good!!!!! Soo cool and refreshing!!!!

Anyway, that's all I have written in my little diary, so I guess that's it. It's Thursday morning right now, we're taking a relaxing day today (we've been non-stop for almost two weeks straight now). We're gonna buy a ticket out of here, and leave tomorrow for Krabi, and do some day trips from Krabi to the beaches and stuff around there.

Darren: Are you familiar with some sort of "lagoon" or something near Krabi, that's high on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, or something like that? One guy made mention of it as something to do near Krabi.

Until later. Probably no more updates until we get settled in Krabi tomorrow or the next day.


Monday, January 27, 2003

Ko Lanta!!!!

Well, we've had a couple of days in Ko Lanta so far. Today is Monday, we arrived on Saturday...I'm just trying to figure out where I am in my days, sorry....

Ok, I last updated the journal on Sunday morning, so here goes...

Sunday, we laid on the beach, and did some snorkelling around the resort we are at. Amazing! All kinds of fishies, all colorful swimming around some of the rocks just, maybe 50 metres off of shore. It's great. I got a BAD burn, a BAD burn...did I say a BAD burn??? It's super red still, but it doesn't hurt anymore. I had sunscreen on (SPF30), but sunscreen never works for me anyway. Oh well, just grin and bear it, I guess!!! Rented a motorbike abotu 4:00PM (250 baht for 24 $8 CDN), and drove around for a while. Drove down to the townsite. Court and I went shopping. Cheap! You gotta learn to bargain, totally. We're starting to get the hang of it now, though. Courtney bought a white shirt, scarf, a satin outfit and a skirt for 1000 baht...about $30 CDN!!! She is in total shopping heaven!!!!!!!!!!!! She loves it!! I keep telling her it'll get cheaper, in Bangkok, and maybe Vietnam, but she can't help herself!!! Ahhh, it's too funny.

When we rented the scooter, Courtney wanted to drive, because she has a scooter at home at the lake, so she knew how to drive one. So she took a little spin on it, and was pretty wobbly!! She said to me, she didn't wanna drive, so I jumped on. I was even more wobbly, I've never driven anything like this before. I did a couple of quick laps, then Court hopped on, and we took off, wobbling down the lane. I started off slow, until I got comfortable, then started going faster and faster. I'm an old pro now, and I love it! It's so cool, flying along on a scooter at 40 klicks, wind in the hair. Of course, there are not helmets to be found.

Went to a bar for supper, where you get a free BBQ and buffet when you buy a drink. It was actually pretty good, BBQ chicken, and great buffet with lots to have. Beer and spirits are expensive here (sorry Darren, things must have changed since you were here), the giong price for booze in a bar is typically 100 baht ($3 and change CDN), although you can sometimes get local beer and "Thai Whiskey" for about 30-60 baht. BTW, to calculate CDN dollars, I typically chop the last number off, then divide what's left by 3. So, 240 baht becomes 24, then divide by 3, leaves 8 CDN dollars. That's gets you pretty close anyway. After a couple of drinks at the bar, we went across the street and bought some really cheap Thai vodka (that's what Thor told us...Thor is a guy from Norway we met on the bus, he is travelling with a buddy of his). The "vodka" was only 70 baht for a 1 litre bottle, and bought some coke, and went back to our resort and the four of us (myself, Court, Ryan and Carly) had a few drinks, then walked down Long beach (it's a long beach!) right to the other end, where a small party was happening at a bar. We had a drink there, then about 1:00 AM, we decided it was too far to walk back, so got a taxi and paid 100 baht for the four of us to get back to our resort. The taxi was just a scooter with a "wagon" attached to the side, so the four of us squeezed in, it was a blast!!! The scooter would hardly move with 5 of us (us plus the driver), we could only go 20km/hour downhill!!! It was sooo much fun.

ONe interesting thing, when we were walking down Long Beach, as the surf came up on the beach, it would leave behind what appeared to be tiny phosphours rocks or something, they would glow in the sand for a minute or two then die out. It was really cool. Oh, and the crabs, you could see the crabs scurry out of the way at night as we were walking along. So awesome.

Anyway, this morning, we got up, had breakfast, then took our scooters to the waterfall in the island. The resort person told us she didn't know if there was any water coming down it right now, because it was the dry season, but we headed off anyway. The road started out paved, then turned to a packed gravel, then turned into nothing but dust and dirt, very deep dirt at some points. It's hard to drive a scooter through deep, fine dirt. Court and I came flying up over a hill, and the downside of the hill was thick dusty dirty, and I slammed on the back brake to slow down before we wiped out. Court was kinda freaking behind me. I heard a scream, I checked my mirror, and in a flash, saw Ryan and Carly in the process of wiping out!!!!!! They had come flying over the hill, and he hit both brakes, his front wheel locked up, and they took a spill!!! Carly took a nasty cut on her knee, but Ryan was ok. Court and Carly walked the rest of the way down the hill, I drove down (slow), and Ryan couldn't get his scooter going again, so he glided down. He managed to get it going (good was a long walk back), and we continued on. Carly's a big girl, no crying or complaining, in fact she was laughing about it, even though it hurt. She scraped her hand too, but her knee took the worst.

Took us about 1.5 hours to get to the waterfall (after biking, we had to park it and walk about 2km to the the waterfall). There wasn't much water, kind of a trickly coming down this cliff, but I'm sure in the rainy season it's quite impressive. It was so cool to walk through the jungle to the waterfall, was saw some lizards along the way.

On the way back to our resort, we checked out a few other resorts, the first one was 3000 baht/night, and another was, like 1500 baht/night. We found one for 200 baht/night (that's less than $7CDN boys and girls...$3.50 each!), so we decided we'd go there the next day.

We got back to the our resort, and walked to the next resort, someone had told us they have cheap, good Thai food, so we decided to check it out. It was very good, but it was very spicy and hot, what I got Thai noodles. I couldn't finish eating it, but I had stuffed myself so full, I thought I was gonna explode. While we were there, we asked about their huts...250 baht/night for the one closest to the beach, 200 baht for one a tad farther away. This was great!!!! We'll just move next door now, instead of going half way down the island, we can just carry our packs to the new place. The new place is truly beach hut style! We'll take pictures.

BTW, gas is pretty expensive here. 25 baht/litre, which is about 90 cents/litre. Good thing the scooters don't take a lot.

We tried to upload some pics here, but it's too slow, and we couldn't! That's too bad, both Court and I want to show you all how we're living, and make you all jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!! I'm so red, I feel like I can heat up all of Saskatchewan!!!!!

My scalp is burned too. So is Courtney's. She's never had a burned scalp, so it's new to her.

Court and I are getting a new wardrobe for me (and her too). But I have no sense of style, but I'm travelling with good taste, so I'm all set. She's telling me what she likes, I'll try it on, and we barter from there! It's great!!! :-)

Anyway, Court's done on her computer is rerring to do some more shopping, so I gotta finish this one off. I'm buying all "classy" Thai-type clothes, I'll be so styling when I get back!!!

Until later. Hopefully next time we'll get pictures uploaded.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Koh Lanta...Ahhhh!!

So, another change of plans, we're not in Krabi, we're staying on Koh Lanta, an up and coming tourist island, but still cheap, cheap, cheap and not very busy.

BTW, the Malay's *LOVE* their cake and other desserts. There are cake houses all over KL, and desserts (cake, baked goods, ice cream, etc.) are easily found everywhere.

Another thing I wanted to mention was when we took the bus to the waterpark that one day, the bus we got on, they bus workers (two of them, one driver, a 2nd rounding up passengers and collecting the fare) had installed a huge stereo system in the bus, and had really old classic rock music blaring on their stereo. It was hilarious. As weird as it is, when we returned from the waterpark, the same bus was waiting for us for the return trip!

Anyway, quite a bit to talk about since our last update. We had purchased tickets to Hattyai, which is kind of a sourthern Thailand transportation hub, from there, we had plans to go to Krabi (as recommended by Darren). We took a taxi to the bus station (Jalan Duta) (did I mention how insane traffic is in KL?), and got on our 10PM bus to Hattyai. The bus was *COLD*. The air condiioning was really working well, all night long. Courtney was so cold, she wrapped toilet paper around her ankles to try and keep warm. We had to make 3 stops to cross the border, the first was to get our Thai immigration cards filled out, then we had to stop at the Malay border and "check out" of Malaysia, then a third stop to "check in" to Thailand. No hassles or anything, this just all happened at about 5:00-6:00AM in the morning. The bus was so cold, we didn't sleep at all.

Driving to Hattyai once we crossed the border, there is a huge difference between Malaysia and Thailand. I expected Thailand to be a lot like Malaysia, but you can sure tell the money in Malaysia versus Thailand. IN Malaysia, everyone drives new cars. In Thailand, all the cars are old rickety things, or old motorbikes, or walk. A lot of Buddhist temples and monasteries along the bus ride. Saw some Buddhist monks walking along the highway. (95% of the Thai people or Buddhist). Chickens and cattle roaming around the streets. The Tuk-tuks are cool.

Anyway, when we got to Hattyai, Court and I needed money, but there was no ABM near the bus station, so I got directions to the nearest ABM, and tried to find it, but couldn't. I walked and walked and walked, and tried asking directions, and walked some more. Not very many people in Thailand speak english. Everyone in Malaysia speaks english. Finally, I had some old guy point to a big building a short distance away, with two huge exhaust fans on them (they looked like to big eyes on the building), and indictated to me to walk toward the building with big eyes. So I did, and sure enough, there was an ABM there, so we could get money to actually to somewhere. When I got back to the bus station, everyone was so relieved. I was gone so long, they all thought I was lost, and one guy was out on a scooter looking for me. I knew exactly how to get back, I just couldn't figure out where I was going, that's all.

When I returned, Courtney told me we're going to go to Koh Lanta, that's where some other people on the bus (two from England, two from Norway (I think)) were going there too. So, on a tuk-tuk we climb, which takes us to a bus (minivan!), which takes us to another bus (minivan), which takes us to Koh Lanta island (need to take two ferries to get the island). The whole ride, which was about 3 hours, I think, it cost us 290 Baht, which is just under $10 CDN.

When we arrived at the bus stop (minivan stop), we were bombarded with resort salesman, all trying to get us to stay at their resort. They all had colorful brochures, some had photo albums with pictures of their reosrt to we could look, they all offered free rides to the resort, and if we didn't like it, they'd take us to another resort, and they were all trying to undercut each other on price. It was hilarious, and you feel kinda bad having to pick one and saying sorry to everyone else. We had decided on one that I thought looked nice, and we were ready to go, when buddy from that resort came back and told us he was full, and couldn't take us. Carly and Ryan (the two from England) decided on Lanta Sand Resort, and they got a good deal, so we went with them to that resort. Price: 500 baht for the room. That's about $16.00CDN, or about $8 each. Our bungalow doesn't have air or hot water, but big deal. It's so cheap. Air and/or hot water would have upped the price to maybe 800-1000 baht. We're not complaining.

Courtney is in heaven (so am I, actually). This is a totally awesome place to be. Actually, I'm sure most of the resorts along the beach are just as nice, but this is soo nice. The beach stretches for miles. And it's totally not busy. This is nothing like Cancun, which was so busy and packed. This is so relaxed, and easy atmosphere, slow, quiet. Why people would go to Cancun, over this is beyond me!

For supper I had a filet mignon. I was kinda unsure about what kind of steak I'd get, or the quality, but it was awesome. Nice, big piece of steak, thick, of the best steaks I've had anywhere. They have a great kitchen here, they have everything. My filet only cost me about $8 CDN.

We hung out with Ryan and Carly for the rest of the evening. The bar on the beach had happy hour last night (Saturday night), and drinks were 100 baht, about $3.25 (alcohol is not cheap here), except Chang beer, which was 35 baht, which is about $1.50, which is pretty cheap.

This place is totally like heaven. It's amazing. There's a lot to do on the island, caves, snorkelling, elephant trekking, motorbike rentals, canoeing, etc. EVERYONE MUST COME HERE!!!!!!!!

We slept amazing last night. We got woke up about 8:20 from a rooster cockadoodldooing. First time for that! We got up, and hit the internet to let everyone know how much of an amazing time we're having!!! We've decided to stay at least two more nights here.

To flush the toilet, we have to fill a bowl with water and pour it down the toilet to flush it!!!

Anyway, we're gonna go for breakfast. BTW, they have three computers here for internet, and they are all open-air computers! We got a picture of Court sitting at one of the internet terminals in her pajamas. That's how laid back it is!!!

Anyway, hope you are all having fun! We are!!!! :-)

P.S. We wanted to upload pics to make you all jealous, but a slow internet connection with a firewall, and locked down computers makes it pretty hard. Sorry!

Friday, January 24, 2003

Friday's Adventure

Courtney slept in today for the first time the whole trip. Usually she's wide awake at 6:00AM, but she slept until about 9:00 this morning. We got up, showered, had breakfast (banana pancakes...they were quite good), and then packed our stuff up, and stored it in the lock-up room on the main floor of the hostel. We have to catch a bus at 10:00PM tonight, and the hostel dude told us we can store our bags in the room for 2RM/bag until we need to go. He also told us we could use the showers later in the day, which was grand.

So, off we went to Lake Garden Park, a very large forest reserve and park in the city of KL. We walked there in the sticky, humid heat. It was nice when we got there to be able to walk in the shade of the trees, and not the concrete jungle. It's quite a nice place, they have the worlds largest netted bird park there, which was 22RM to get in. A little expensive compared to what we're used to, but oh well. You can tell that KL (and Malaysia) is starting to get touristy, because places like this start charging more. It was worth it, it was great to see all the birds flying around. One bird started attacking Courtney, and started trying to bite her legs, and she was freaking out. I got the whole thing on video, we just watched it, it's hilarious. They had monkeys in there too, and they were cool to see. They had a photo place where you could get your photo taken with a bunch of birds on your arms and shoulders, so we did that. It was only 5RM.

We walked around some more of the park and it was soooooooo hot today, I couldn't believe it. We decided to head home, but kinda got lost in the park, and wandered. We walked so much today, probably more today than any other day, and Courtney is sick of walking. She tells me she's not gonna walk on this trip anymore, she's sick of walking. Ahh, she'll get over it. The details of how we got list aren't important, though. (Although it might have something to do with me taking a wrong turn.)

Whenever we go walking in KL, I sweat and sweat and sweat, and I can't stop. I keep remembering Darren's (my brother) video of when he was in KL a few years ago, and how hot and humid it was, and how much he was sweating, and he took video of himself sweating so much...I feel the same way.

AFter walking the whole way around the park, we managed to find the National Mosque, which was where we came in at (BTW, the National Mosque is quite impressive too), and from there we found our way home.

It's presently 6:30, we have about 3.5 hours before we catch our night bus to Haddyai, Thailand. Geeze, I hope it's not as hot up there as it is in KL!!!! I imagine it probably is, though.

Until next time.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Change of plans...

We've had a drastic change of plans. On the spur of the moment today, we decided to go to Thailand instead of sticking around Malaysia. We have to come back to Malaysia later on to get our flight to Sydney, so we'll do Malaysia then. The Perentian Islands will be open up again then, so everything will be good. We're taking a bus from KL to Hattyai, Thailand. It's a night bus, leaves at 10:00PM Friday night, and arrives Saturday morning at around 8:00AM, then we can catch other trains or busses to wherever. We're gonna go to Krabi, and start hitting the beaches and islands there.

So, what did we do today? Not to much exciting stuff. We first walked around Central Market (a big indoor market to buy all kinds of things). then we visited Merdeka Square (Freedom Square), and saw the Sultan Abdul Samad building (dunno what it is, but it's pretty nice from the outside, the Masjid Jamek mosque (we couldn't go in, long pants and long sleeve shirt are required), and went through the National History Museum. All were located right at Merdeka Square.

We then walked to the Petronas Towers and got tickets to go up to the bridge that connects the two towers. I believe it's on the 141st floor, and gives a good view of KL.

On the way back to the hostel, we got lost, and walked aimlessly for an hour, trying to see something recognisable. We finally made it to the Masjid Jamek mosque, and tried to retrace our steps from there back to the hostel. That didn't work, we got lost in Chinatown. AFter quite a while more of wandering, we finally found the pink building that houses the hostel. We were both laughing at being lost. We both totally enjoyed being lost, and just wandering around the streets of KL.

We dropped our stuff off, then went on a hunt for zip-lock plastic bags. Courtney found that by stuffing clothes in the zip-lock bags, then sealing them, she can really pack in the clothes. Now she can buy a whole bunch of new clothes. Alas, it is *IMPOSSIBLE* to buy zip-lock bags in KL. Which is strange, because the hostel dude has some zip-lock bags he uses to store stuff in his locker. We asked hostel dude where we could get some, and he wasn't sure. He suggested a couple of places in Chinatown, and drew a little map for us, he said these stores specialized in plastic bags. He also indicated he wasn't sure of the location of these shops, but the map showed where he thought they may be. So, off we go, in search of plastic zip-lock bags. We follow the map to the destinations he provided, and can't find any plastic bag stores. I mention to Courtney that I find it hard to believe that there'd be any stores that would specialize in selling plastic bags, and she laughs, and says after walking around Chinatown, she'd believe anything. Anyway, we did come across quite a few shops selling bags (purses, backpacks, daypacks, etc.) in that area, and I figure that's maybe what he was showing us, and thought maybe we could get what we wanted there.

So, next we try a 7-11. No bags.

We run across a bags.

We run across another bags.

We run across another bags.

We've come to the conclusion that any zip-lock plastic bags in KL are black-market items, and you have to have contacts in order to acquire them.

On our search for zip-lock bags, we stopped at a McDonalds, and I had a double cheeseburger combo. Mmm, good. Taste the same as McDonalds in Canada.

Courtney's on a "eat-healthy" kick now. She's been eating too much junk food, so she didn't indulge in McDonalds, instead had spaghetti at the hostel (which I had last's very good!) Did I mention that Courtney won't stop eating??? She's always hungry. She just won't stop eating. That's a good thing, though!

We're not uploading any pictures today, there was nothing terribly exciting. In fact, today seemed totally dull and boring compared to yesterday. In fact, today kinda sucked. When I suggested to Courtney we go to Thailand right away, she got all excited. We love the fact that we're not saddled down to any plans or anything, and can suddenly change plans whenever we feel like it!

Anyway, so far so good. In fact, Courtney and I are getting along great. We're perfect travel partners, it seems. We're both fast walkers (when we're in a group, it's always us two that are way in front of everyone else), if it's just the two of us, I never have to stop and wait for her, nor her for me, she never needs to stop and take a rest of anything (neither do I), we're both totally open to doing anything, and we both don't care about "getting lost" and just wandering. we're getting along perfect.

I suppose that's it for today. There probably won't be too much for updates for a couple of days, so savour every moment of this update!

Bye, and take care everyone.


It's Thursday morning, Stephanie and Jason have left for the Cameron Highlands area (we'll be heading up there later on), which is good, because the tiny room the four of us were in was WAY to small for four people with big backpacks. We may meet up with them later on in Australia.

We had breakfast this morning, and we're waiting for another room now, we have to go back to the hostel in about an hour and get another room, so we're just killing time at the internet cafe two floors down from the hostel.

There's a small restaurant in the lobby of the hostel, so it's great for breakfast. We had Pete's Special, which is two eggs, toast, chicken sausages, hashbrowns, tea or coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice, for 8.80RM (about $3.50CDN) The oj is amazingly good. Better than any oj I've had in Canada, as far as I can recall. The tea is amazing too. Tea is a pretty big thing in Malaysia, up near the Cameron Highlands, there are lots of tea plantations, which we'll tour when we get up there.

Ever since we left, Courtney won't stop eating.

The Chinese New Year is Feb. 1 this year, I guess either Hong Kong or Singapore is the place to be for that. We're planning on being in Singapore for that.

As I mentioned in my last journal last night, we've got some laundry happening. We pick it up later this afternoon, so today, Court and I are just gonna go around KL and check out the sights, the Central Market, some of the old mosques, museums and stuff. We're not gonna spend a lot of cash today.

With regards to Darren's comment about too many pictures: It's free! We're gonna take as many pictures as we want! In fact, those were just Courtney's pics from the waterpark. I'm presently uploading more from my camera, as I type this. So nyah on you.

Does anyone have any recommendations on what to do in Southern Peninsular Malaysia (near Singapore)? We're thinking of trying to head down there as we get nearer the Chinese New Year, so we don't have a long trip to Singapore for the party. We still haven't got a Malaysia travel book (just our general SE Asia ones), but when we get one of those, I'm sure there'll be something in them.

The Muslim and Hindu people here are so nice. Courtney loves the dresses and saraongs and outfits they wear. They are so colorful and spectacular, and they are typically very beautiful. Of course, the Muslim women cover there heads, even at the water park, there was a Muslim woman in the wave pool, totally convered up. She was swimming, head under water, she came up with her head still covered. It's a total contrast to the bikini's around there.

I'm uploading more water park pictures right now, so check my web site for more pictures.

That's all for now, I guess.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


Weeeeehaa! Court and I had such an amazing day today, we're so high off of it, it's so great. It's gonna be hard to beat today.

We got up about 9:00, had some breakfast, and whatever, and about noon, headed out to Sunway Lagoon, a water park built next to a mall/hotel/convention centre. The Let's Go book described it as a water park with water slides and wave pool and stuff. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were like little kids, and the place was virtually deserted of people!!

First, the whole mall and convention centre and hotel is decked out in an Egyptian-style architecture, and Court and I walked in and were quite amazed at the size of the place. We walked around for a while, taking pictures of the wave pools, water slides, the huge volcano in the middle. There's a really long (almost 500 metres) pedestrian suspension bridge (the longest in the world, they claim) crossing over top of the park, and we could see a roller coaster and a couple of other rides from the waterpark area. After taking a few pictures, we got changed, locked up our stuff and went to the water park. We had a blast. There was no lineups at all, and the water was refreshing. It was sooo much fun.

After that, we got dressed again, had a snack, and started walking around the rest of the park, walked across the suspension bridge, walked around the whole park, took the roller coaster, and a "Flying Carpet" ride, then started thinking about going. We had a total blast, and we had killed about 3.5 hours. Courtney was having so much fun, she was giggling like a little school girl all day!!!!!!!!!!!

We noticed an area that we hadn't seen before, and started walking around, and found a whole other part of the park that we didn't know anything about. They had a white-water rafting ride, an incredibly fun log ride, and another where you down down a water-slide in an inflatable two-person raft. It was hilarious. You should have seen us. We were SOAKED from head to toe from these water rides. Court's shorts were so wet, you could see her underwear right through them. She was pretty embarrased. I got a bunch of water inside my waterproof shoes. I wonder how long it'll take those to dry out. We had sooo much fun, everyone. You can't imagine how much fun it was. It's gonna be hard to outdo today.

To give you an idea of how much it cost us to "live" today, here's a breakdown.
Bus ride to park: 2MR (45 minute busride)
Entry to park: 39MR (includes access to ALL rides!)
Lunch at park: 8MR
Bus ride from park: 2MR

Here it is in CDN dollars (approx):
Bus ride to park: 75 cents (45 minute busride)
Entry to park: $15 (includes access to ALL rides!)
Lunch at park: $3
Bus ride from park: 75 cents
Grand total: less than $20 CDN for the TIME OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is SOOOOOOOOOOOO cheap here, people! How much is a day at the pathetic Moose Jaw fair, with access to ALL rides as much and as often as you want? I haven't an idea, but I'm sure it's more than what we paid here. And the MJ Fair would be total pathetic compared to this. How much is a West Edmonton Mall excursion, for all the rides?

Anyway, my point is, it's SOOO cheap!!!! I LOVE it!!!!!!!!

We were going to head down to Melaka tomorrow, but we needed to get laundry done, and the laundry service in the hostel wouldn't be able to have our laundry to us until Friday morning, so right next door to the hostel is a small shop that sells bus tickets and laundry service. We gave it to them, and it should be ready tomorrow afternoon, so we'll stay another day in KL before heading to Melaka.

More pictures are presently being uploaded to my web site. Check out the time we had at the water park today! Some really great pictures there.

Until later.


Another note: For those that are a little daft, the Photo Albums on my web site that say Courtney are Courtney's pictures, the ones that say Todd are my pictures.

Also, for now we'll be uploading all pictures to my web site, and not to Courtney's MSN Photo Album that we originally started to send pictures to.

Wed., Jan. 22, 2003

Short entry. Check out for lots and lots of pictures!! Click on the "Photo Album" link, and they will al be listed there.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


We got up with plans on going to the Blue Lagoon today, which is a big waterpark near KL. We got all packed, and were ready to head off, when I took one last look at the Let's Go book, and found out the water park isn't open on Tuesday's. There goes that plan.

So instead we decided to go to Port Dickson. It's on the coast, and it's kind of a resort town, with lots of beaches. We, we soaked up the sun today, in 30+ degree sunshine. We took the subway to a train station, where we got on a commuter train and went to Seremban, it was about 1.5 hour train ride. Then we had to get on a bus to Port Dickson, which was, maybe 20 minutes. When we got off the bus, a taxi driver jumped at as and asked us if we wanted to go to a beach. There was 6 of us altogether (we keep picking up Canadians), so we had to take two taxi's to a beach that he promised us was very nice, for 10RM/taxi (about $4 CDN). We got there, and it was very nice. Hardly anyone there, a few locals, but very unbusy, nice sand, a few places selling snacks/drinks, a place to rent tubes, or go for Sea-doo rides. We went in the was HOT like a hottub. I couldn't imagine ocean water being so warm. Even going out past where we could touch teh bottom, it was still sooo warm. Amazing!! So, how's the weather there?????????????????

We had made arrangements for the taxi driver to come back and pick us up at the beach at 6:30, but we had to bargain for a price, because he wanted 15RM to pick us up later (he claimed he had to drive to the beach with no paying customers later on, so it'd be more). We bargained him down to 10RM (same as trip to beach). Well, by 5:30 we were done, we went back to the change rooms, and our taxi driver was waiting for us. Because we bargained him down from 15 to 10 RM, he couldn't go back to town, he had to wait for us at the beach (so he claimed). Anyway, that was nice, we got back to the bus depot, we thanked him, took the bus back to Serenbam, and the train back to KL, and the LRT to our hostel.

I've got a bad suburn now. Actually not that bad, but I can feel myself generating lots of heat.

Last night in the hostel room, it was COLD. The air conditioning was definately working well, Courtney and I were shivering all night. The other two (Jason and Stephanie...who are originally from Newfoundland, mom) slept together, so they weren't cold. We got extra blankets for tonight.

Some other stuff:
- last night while walking through Chinatown, we came across this poor sap who sitting on the sidewalk, back up against a streetlight, and his leg was all "gross", boils all over it, and he had a small bandage covering part of it. I think it was leprosy, but don't know for sure. It was gross.
- school girls On the bus ride from Seremban, we were stopped at a red light, and there was a busload of little schoolgirls in the next lane. They were all giggling and waving at us, we'd wave back, and they'd giggle more, and wave back. they don't get that many tourists in that town, so we were quite popular with the little girls.
- hmm, there was something else I was gonna say too, but I forget now.
- The other two guys that were with us today, one is a genius, he working in AI, he finished high school in one year (graduated from high school when he was 13 or 14, I think he said). He's got a degree, and is going to Australia to do some AI work in Melbourne (?), but he had a bad ear infection, and can't get on the plane. So he's stuck here for now. The other guy had an interview at the British consulate for a job. He's only just finished grade 11 in Hong Kong (where he and his parents now live), he goes back to Hong Kong tomorrow. He's a smart cookie too.

Anyway, I think tomorrow Court and I will head to the water park, then the day after, head down to Melaka for a couple of days, then back to KL for a while. We're going to head to Cameron Highlands after that, it's out in the middle of nowhere in Malaysia, and we can do some jungle trekking and stuff. Another girl told us to go there, so we'll check it out.

Being unemployed, and travelling is an awesome lifestyle! I highly suggest it to everyone!!!

Courtney has more pics on her web site. I'm going to go try to upload some to my web site, but I don't know how well it'll work, so we'll see.

That's it for today!

Monday, January 20, 2003


Well, we had a long day today. As I mentioned (I think) in my last update, Courtney and I were awake about 6:00 AM this morning, and we trekked to a new hostel and had to wait a couple of hours to get a room, so we went down a flight of stairs to the internet place and posted that journal. About noon, we went back up to move into our new room, but he didn't quite have it ready yet. He had a big room where our stuff was locked up, so we decided to head out to the Batu Caves for the afternoon. They had a map at the hostel on how to get to the bus stop where we could catch a bus to the caves, so we got to the bus stop and started waiting for our bus (Bus #11D). We were waiting, and another guy on another bus starts yelling at us, so I go and talk to him, and tell him we want to go to Batu Caves, so he tells us to get on the bus, he'll stop at Batu Caves.

You have to see it to believe it, but each bus in KL (at least the Metrobus bussing company) has 2 people working on it, one drives, the other scouts out customers and gets them on the bus. It's totally a business to them, the more paying customers they have on the bus, the better. He then starts yelling out the buses new destination (Batu Caves) to everyone else, and lots of other people get on the bus. The bus ride was only 1.60 RM (that's about 50 or 60 cents, CDN) out there. But, he didn't actually take us to the caves. Instead, he stopped on the shoulder of a busy freeway, and opens the doors, and people start piling out. Of course, like dummies, we just sit there, and then he starts motioning to us to get out too. I tell him, Batu Caves, he says, ya, and points off into the distance, saying, "you get off here, Batu that way" and points off towards a mountain. Confused, we all get off, and just start following everyone else, assuming they're going to Batu as well. So, here we are a busload of people all walking down the middle of this busy highway, cars avoiding us. AFter a a few hundred metres, I realize why he kicked us off early. The highway to Batu Caves was backed up for a mile or more. Walking the rest of the was WAY faster than trying to bus it. As we were walking along the highway, we could see the caves, and the stairway leading up to it. As we got closer, you should have seen the garbage!!! Holy moley, the garbage 1.5 million people can create is unreal!!! Of course, the place was like a fairground still, all kinds of merchants have their temporary shops setup, selling their "Hindu" wares, they had a small amusement park, but it was shut down after the festivites from the previous day. There were quite a few people there, but the place is so huge, that it wasn't a bother.

At the bottom of the steps leading up the cavern is a donation box, I put in 1 RM (BTW, RM is the currency, a Ringett (not sure of spelling), and 1 RM is about 40 or 45 cents Canadian). We started up the 272 steps, and I was getting pretty pooped by the top. But it was worth it. There were all kinds of small Hindu shrines and statues inside, and lots of Hindu's still worshipping inside. It was quite a site to see. We took lots of pictures and some good video. While inside, it started raining, hard, so we waited inside for a little while, and it started to let up, so we started back down the stairs (with everyone else that was waiting for the rain to let up). Half way down, the rain started pouring again, we got soaked, but didn't matter, it was very warm. We walked around the booths stuff, then decided to head back to town.

We had no idea how to catch a bus back, so Jason asked a cop, and he said to go to the tire store and wait, so we started towards it, and the bus we were supposed to take (11D) to get out there was just pulling up dropping people off. Perfect!! Except he wouldn't let us on!!! He waved us away, and shut the door in our face! Great, now what? We contemplated just starting to walk back, but the caves are 15 km from KL, so we just waited, then another bus (a Metrobus) came by, and we asked him where he was going, and he said something we didn't recognize, then he asked us where we wanted to go, and we told him Chinatown, and he said, he's not going there. Dejected, we walked back into the tire garage to stay out of the rain, while this bus got loaded up with passengers. As he was getting ready to leave, he yells at us, I go over, and he asks us if we're going to Chinatown, I say yes, and he tells us, ya, he'll take us there, so we pile on the bus. It's standing room only, so we stand near the front of the bus. The bus leaves, and bus-buddy starts coming around to collect the fair. It's 2RM's for the ride back (it was 1.6RM for the ride out), which is cheapo. Well, the ride was back was unreal. The bus driver was driving like he was racing in the Indy 500, swerving in and out of traffic at low speeds (the traffic was heavy, we couldn't go fast). But there was no way the driver was just gonna sit in one lane, he HAD to be in the lane that was moving fastest at that particular moment. At one point, some guy in as Honda CRV pulled in front of us, and the bus driver started honking his horn to get him out of the way, or speed up, and we're literally 1 foot from the CRV, horn blaring, and the damn bus driver isn't gonna slow down. All of a sudden, the CRV stops abruptly, because of traffic, the bus driver slams on the brakes. Everyone in the bus gets thrown forward. The front door of the bus was open, and a poor old Hindu woman almost got thrown out on the freeway. I was watching what was going on, and was prepared for it. Anyway, no, we didn't hit the CRV (how he avoided it, I'm not sure). At least we knew the brakes on the piece of crap bus worked very well.

So, anyway, we keep driving back into town on this bus, every once in a while, he stops at a bus stops and a few people get off. At one traffic light, here's what happened, if you can imagine this. In Malaysia, they drive on the left side of the road. So, at this particular intersection, there is 3 lanes of left turn traffic, and about 3 or 4 of straight through. The straight through traffic has a red light, but the left-turn lanes are free, so cars are turning left onto this other street (just like we'd turn right...we don't need a green light). The bus driver, being the impatient kind, decides he's gonna drive in the left hand turn lane, upto the traffic light, then hang a hard right and pull in front of all the cars waiting at the red light to go straight. And he pulls it off and gets ahead of them all.

A little while later, our bus driver, being rather insane, decides he needs to move up in the traffic jam, so pulls into the oncoming traffic lane and starts driving!!!!!!!!! Cars are coming at us, and are having to swerve out of the way of the bus!!!!!!!!! AFter passing a number of cars, he starts trying to force his way back into the traffic jam. I take a look behind the bus, and guess what I see??? A bunch of cars had followed the bus, hoping to get ahead in the traffic jam as well. I didn't know whether to laugh or pray for my life.

Then, at another point, the driver decides he's gonna try to pull a right turn, into oncoming traffic. There were no right turns allowed here, but he was gonna do it anyway, screw everyone else. So, he just put the bus in gear, and takes off, when there's a little break in traffic. Now, this bus is not a speed demon. It goes rather slow, and he can't get across the oncoming lanes very fast. Cars are coming at us in the oncoming lanes, and have to come to a quick stop so as not to hit our bus.

Anyway, it was definately the weirdest and wildest ride of our lifes. I'm still totally amazed we didn't hit that CRV on the highway.

When we finally arrived back at our hostel, he had the room, so we moved in (very small room, there are four of us (myself, Courtney, Jason and Stephanie), there are two bunkbeds, so four beds altogether).

AFter moving in, we're hungry, so we walk to the Petronas Towers, because the hostel dude tells us there's a great food court there, with everything you could want. On the way, we walked through an "urban forest", where we can see a bunch of original trees of the area. There are monkeys in here as well, but we didn't see any. We get to the towers, it is quite impressive. We walk around the food court, then decide to eat at Chili's Grill and Pub. Court and I have chicken fajita's. We didn't go across the bridge linking to the towers (not yet anyway, we may go back and do that). After supper, we went back outside and sat by the huge pond/fountains and park area surrounding the towers. Very, very nice and calm and beautiful. (Mom: You'd *LOVE* this part of KL. The shopping in the two towers is amazing. Courtney said, if she had some money, she could spend a lot of time there.)

AFter supper, we walked back to the hostel, and layed down for a bit, then Jason wanted to get some sandals, so we walk around Chinatown for a bit, then we split up, Jason and Steph go there own way, Court and I sit down for a drink. It's about 9:30, so we start to head back to the hostel, but neither of us were paying much attention to how we got there, so we had to do some walking to find our hostel. We decided to hit the internet place posting this stuff.

Courtney got some photo's up on her MSN Photo Album. Check that other post for the URL. I'll try and get some on my web site soon, I forgot the cable for my camera at the hostel, so couldn't do it tonight.

Check out the pics, and let us know what you think!!

That's it for now. It's 11:30, we've been awake since 6:00AM, so it's time to go to bed. Tomorrow I think we're heading to a waterpark (wave pool, water slides and the like). We did WAY to much walking today, we must've walked more than 20 miles. We should have bought one of those things that tell us how far we walk, so we could find out how much we really are walking.

Anyway, until next time!!


Well, well, this is better. We slept awesome last night, even though it was a dive. The air conditioner was making loud, strange noises all night, and eventually broke, so no more air for us. We had decided yesterday that we weren't going to stay there another night, so we checked out this morning. Our Let's Go book gave a "thumbs up" to two hostel's in Chinatown, so we walked to those two, took a look a them, and they are nice. We'll be staying in one of them for at least the next two nights.

Anyway, I'll back up and give more details of our trip so far. Flying into LA at night was so cool. LA/area is HUGE!!!!! Lights and lights for as far as the eye can see. It was massive. And warm. LAX is hard airport to get around, and figure out where you're supposed to go. There were no signs telling us how to get to international departures, and we only had 1.5 hours (our flight was late leaving Calgary), and we were running around, trying to find our way. When we finally got to the ticket booth, we didn't have to wait in line, there was no one at the Malaysian ticket counter. (You should have seen the mile-long line for the Mexicana counters though....WOW, glad I wasn't getting on one of those planes.) AFter he checked us into the computer, he says to us, "Hold on a sec, I think I have something for you" and walks away. We look at each other, wondering what the heck he has for us. He comes back a couple of minutes later with a voucher for a stay at a hotel on KL on the flight back from Australia (we have a one night stopover, and get a free room at this hotel). Hopefully we don't lose the voucher before we come bac. Haha.

Taipei airport, where we stopped for 1.5 hours, was kind of a dive. Not a particularly impressive airport. It reminded me of being in Japan, with the strange Mandarin (?) alphabet, and hardly any english. We landed there about 5:30 in the morning, so there wasn't much to do in Taipei airport that early.

Malaysia Airlines is cool. Every seat has their own TV screen, and you can watch movies or TV or play Nintendo games or multiplayer games with other people on the plane. Way neat. Highly recommend Malaysia Air. Very friendly and courteous too. You even get a menu for breakfasts, lunches and dinner!!!! Air Canada sucks after flying Malaysia!

When we got to KL, it was totally beautiful coming into to land. So green, and we circled the airport once or twice, flew over the blue ocean, lots and lots of beach. It was amazing. It was cloudy and just a tad of rain when we landed, which was nice. I dind't want the sun to be beating down on us. Getting of the plane, we met up with Jason and Stephanie, two other Canadian's. We've been hanging out, they are on there way to New Zealand in a few weeks or so.

Anyway, a lot of KL is pretty dumpy and dirty. And of course, the hostel we were at last night was no good. The new one is much nicer.

Last night, we stopped at a Reggae bar and restaurant and had supper. I had beef burger, everyone else has vegetable fried rice. The whole bar was decked out in Bob Marley stuff. It was pretty good. We walked around Chinatown after that. Holy moly, talk about crowds and crowds of people. And so many people selling there wares on the streets and in back alleys. It's an experience. Walking back to the hostel, on the sides of a lot of the buildings, are all kinds of little lizards, maybe 3 or 4 inches long. Crawling all over the buildings. Oh, and you should see some of the Islamic temples around here, pretty impressive. We got back to the hostel about 9:30, and Courtney and I crashed. We were wide awake by 6:00 this morning, so we got up, chatted, figured out what we were going to do today, and just vegged for a while, dreading the cold shower we were about to take. (Did I mention that that dive of a hostel only had cold water????) Oh well, it was nice to shower anyway. Oh, when Courtney was going to shower, she saw one of those lizards scampering in the hallway of the hostel. Lizards don't frighten her, she's only scared of cochroaches, so everything was good.

We waited for Jason and Stephanie, and we headed out to find the new hostels that Let's Go recommended. Along the way, we stopped at a McDonalds and had breakfast (we've seen lots of McDonalds, a KFC, a Burger King, and a Starbucks so far). We continued on our journey, and found our new homes for the next couple of nights.

We were planning on going to the Batu caves today too, but the hostel we're staying at, we can't book in until after 12:00 (noon), so by the time we get settled, we might want to put the Batu caves on hold until tomorrow. Right now is a huge Hindu festival at the Batu Caves. When we were at the McDonalds, they had an english newspaper, and 1.5 million (!!!) showed up at the Batu Caves yesterday for some sort of Hindu festivities. We're hoping that the festivities continue on all week out there, it should be an impressive site!!

The new hostel we're at is on the third floor of a building, on the 2nd floor is an internet place, so that's were we are right now. We're not sure what we're doing this afternoon. We'll have to ask buddy at the hostel if it's too late to go to the Batu Caves this afternoon, or whether we should make it a whole day trip another day.

Courtney bought a really nice sarong last night at the markets. Only paid about $9 CDN for it. Looks nice.

Just a note for people leaving commens on my journal. I enjoy reading all the comments, and I do read them all!!! Please leave your name at the end, so I know who left the comment (unless you want to remain anonymous!) Also, as a general rule, I won't reply to any of the comments. If I do reply, it'll probably be embedded in the next journal entry somewhere.

I also may leave questions to some of you, instead of sending an e-mail directly, you can just reply to the journal.

(Darren, we didn't see the hostel with bakery underneath, although it's probably right near here somewhere. That was 3 years go too, maybe it's changed since then.)

I actually feel comfortable now, as we were walking to our new hostel, I'm now back into the "backpacking" feeling again, and feel comfortable. Yesterday, I was just in a dazee, didn't know what I was doing, really. That was probably party because I was so tired too. I'm all settled in now, though.

Courtney is going to try to post some pictures tomorrow, onto her MSN Photo Album, so if that happens, I'll post the URL for that in another journal entry. Oh, here is that URL:

Courtney is already sore from carrying her backpack! Hahaha!!!

Darren: What time of year were you at the Perentian Islands??? Apparently the whole east side of the peninsula is dead right now, rainy season. Rainy season goes from Nov. to Feb. or something. Any other suggestions for beaches/islands in Malaysia? We might just head out the Perentian islands anyway, and see what we can find. Maybe everything will be dirt cheap because of the rainy season, and maybe El Nino is affecting it so it'll be nice! Yah!!!

Anyway, I'm gonna sign off now, I see my visa bill is waiting for me in my Royal Bank web site, so I should go check it out. Courtney tells me these systems are 128-bit encryption on them, so all is well.

Sunday, January 19, 2003


Well, we arrived in KL today, after about 30 hours of flying almost non stop. I hardly slept at all, and I'm so tired. But I know you're all waiting for updates from me!!

We're staying in the KL International Hostel, and it's a total DIVE! (Did I say it was a DIVE?) It's costing us about $8.00/night (CDN), but we can cheaper and better for tomorrow night. We haven't done much yet.

We met up with a couple of other Canadaian travellers, and we're hanging out and doing things together. We'll probably check out the Batu Caves tomorrow or the next.

It's very warm (humid) here. It's gonna take a while to dry towels.

We'll update more later, I'm tired and want to sleep.