nothing ventured, nothing gained

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马来西亚, Truly Asia.

August 16th, 2008 · 1 Comment

If you asked me a year ago where I thought I might find myself today, swimming with the fish off the coast of Malaysia hardly would’ve made my short list of answers. Ah, the places life can take take you, if you let it!

Berjaya beachMalaysia. My first jaunt outside of Greater China, well, besides the Tokyo airport. What a country!

Joined by my friend Ben from California, armed with Lonely Planet in-hand and a slew of recommendations from local friends and colleagues who’d once lived there, I embarked on a week long trip to explore what turned out to be one of the most warm, colorful, beautiful places in my recent memory.

Signs to world sitesThe journey really began when I boarded the Malaysia Airlines plane (ticket cost: 20,000 miles. Worldperks: priceless.) to be greeted by warm, friendly, flight attendants dressed in the unique blends of blues, turquoises, and purples that dot the landscape of the island along with bright peaches, oranges, and other tropical hues. The friendliness carried through the island as well, and the slower, quieter pace was a refreshing break from the insanity that is always-exciting Shanghai.

At Petronas Towers One of the stark differences between Kuala Lumpur and the large cities I’ve lived in before, was the landscape of a city nestled into an environment of sprawling green. Shanghai, and before it Los Angeles, can sometimes feel like sprawling concrete jungles. And outside of Kuala Lumpur, the nature only gets better. We jetted to Penang, a beautiful island with a rich mixture of Southeast Asian cultures, cuisines, and a colonial history that left it sporting unique colonial architecture, and later to Redang and its surrounding islands that together make up a marine nature reserve like no other I’ve seen.

Mentos on the tarmac! Trip highlights and tidbits:  Driving the circumference of Penang island listening to a local blend of Michael Jackson, New Order, Guns N’ Roses, Hindi island music, and a censored "I wanna love you up!". Wild monkeys. Don’t bribe me. Shopping. More shopping. Sexy AirAsia planes with tasty roti canai, pop music, black leather seats, and a killer inflight mag (ticket cost: $33). Jungle trekking with new friends. The best ferry music ever. Spicy curry Doritos. VIP. KL nightlife. More KL nightlife. The E&O hotel. The E&O hotel butler button. Making diverse friends through rich cultural exchanges of Oreos and Mentos. And more.

I’ve been back in Shanghai for several weeks now, working, exploring, and continuing to make new friends. Olympic fever has taken China by storm.

Beijing 2008 ad

Watching the opening ceremonies in a local British pub together with friends and colleagues from China, USA, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Uzbekistan, and other far-off places was a surreal experience in so many ways. I have so much more to write about my journey here in China, and at the same time, have just begun to plan my next adventure to Japan (ticket cost: 30,000 miles) during China’s Golden Week holiday.. which reminds me, if you’ve been to the land of the rising sun, I’m looking for travel tips. :)

And now.. off to my weekly Chinese writing lesson.

Tags: Miscellaneous

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Log0 // Nov 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Awww, this is so cool! I didn’t perceive Malaysia as that beautiful before, now that is interesting and worthy of a try.

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