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South-East Asia (2019) Thailand

The Return of the Lobster-tan

It were blazing days and mi amour and I resided in a beauty of a room on Koh Tao. The government controlled travel agency had taken care of us these past days and it took time off of our hands. Though I had been reluctant, getting overwhelmed by the making of advanced plans, the Dutch in me had risen when I learned the financial benefits it would have. And despite the incompetence that had shown after the escapades in Khao Yai park, manifesting in an indolent and impatient man’s errors being brought to our blame and the wrongful bookings we had to fix, it was a pleasant experience.

Now, what brought us to this deserted island was our need for harmony from the amassing of nationalities we had witnessed in the Thai capital. A break-away from the tourists, if you must. Given, we did have the national park, however we decided to change the scenario. And where better to go to than Koh Tao, an island stamped with tourist-free by T, an old co-worker of mine. During our ferry there however, and a short amble about, it began to sink in that perhaps T’s definition of “Not so touristy” does not resonate to that of mine. Que sera sera. It took us a long haul to get to the island from the national park, including a night on a bunk-bed-train listening to a heavy-sized American babbling, making flirty remarks towards an uninterested local and grunting phrases and snores whilst awake, or sleepwalking, or both. He was a strange man without boundaries. Anyhow, we eventually arrived on the island and our nights there were booked and the room was lovely! The room was of such comfort we were convinced to have scammed the government – which might explain why she initially accidentally booked a night too few and our accommodation wasn’t the promised pricier cottage at the beach. But since we got our agreed upon night back and the two of us didn’t march and fret at the thought of a minute’s longer walk to get to the sandy border, there was no problem. So, what was the rush, eh?

The second we had fully settled in, the drinking and eating commenced. Something we lacked with the skipping of meals due to odd restaurant times in the national park. I cultivated the lost mass through burgers, pad thai, rice and noodles, sets of Singha and Changi with an occasional cocktail and mojito. We scoped out about every restaurant for a dish and only once our craving bellies were satiated we began the scavenging of activities.

One that had caught our lingering eye was a boat tour around the island, inclusive of snorkelling and swimming side by side with fishes and possibly turtles and sharks whilst admiring the corals. As the enticing title allured you here with a story of the lobster-tan, I find it near superfluous to point out that the seas that day lacked sharks. The turtles appeared at a bare minimum – none we saw – and the corals weren’t even a fraction of the wonders we witnessed at previous dives. I try not to constantly refer to the magical archipelago, however having experienced the corals and marine life in the Philippines, snorkelling elsewhere hardly wowed. As kickoff was the picturesque island near the port we embarked the boat from. That was where the trouble began.

Walking the wooden planks heading towards the viewpoint, my shoulders and neck were introduced to the flaming sun leaving a burning tingle that would increasingly escalate as the hours passed. Therefore, majority of our time on it was spent in the shades we could find. Leaving the island in the horizon behind us, the little boat graced over the waves heading from stop to stop with a sun peeking under the roof from an angle. And here, there was no safe haven to hide from apart from a simple towel. Needless to say that during the snorkelling and swimming, we bore no protection from it entirely.

So, as we began that day with the highlight, the day from there on came down to drifting through the salty air as we bit by bit dried out with a swimming break here and there. The club of foreigners began to redden as the day went on and I possible stood out the most, as a beacon of redness. The offshore lighthouse. The return of the lobster-tan. Nearing the end of our trip we wound up bonding with another victim of the fierce sun. She was an American as well, although she fared far better as company than the babbling train-goer and would soon participate in the restaurant-spree. The moment the boat returned to port, we all rushed out to retreat to our accommodations for a longed for cold shower and rest before proceeding to partake in the island’s gifts.

This trip had been unforgettable for reasons unlike most trips. The reason we could not forget, was that weeks thereafter we counted the blisters covering our skin. Bubbles of air dotted all over our necks, shoulders, backs and arms. Our time on beaches thereafter was spent with clothing covering every bit of skin including the face as the slightest ray touching it burned like hell. Showers, hot or cold, were unbearable. The shifting of our bed sheets or the mere light touch of a shirt sliding onto the shoulders caused a stinging pain. Our days at a paradise of an island was a time of chasing shades. That sun and its burn had us in its grip for weeks to follow. We became strongly aware of how dangerous and damaging the sun truly can be.

With that, as I hilariously look back with a sly smile, I do wish you tread with care when it comes to the sun and its strength. Do not underestimate the damage it can do to your skin.

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South-East Asia (2019) Thailand

A sad note

Having written, in my opinion and reminiscing mind, such a wonderful story with an ending so glamorous, I could not bear to end it with a sad note. I wanted to, but reading the outcome I had so far, my face turned to a smile from memories. So I could not ruin that with a twist so sour and painful. But life is not all about the singing birds, blooming flowers and happy endings. Alas, life brings events that leave the heart to ache and wane.

We got to see our beloved elephants. We smiled at them, we waved at them and we embraced their presence. They are not the only giants in this park, but the chance is still that it was those whom we waved at that are the ones who succumbed to tragedy. Many of you might recall said tragedy, the incident of the calf and the waterfall. After a tumble, the poor thing was stuck and crying for help. Its family, with a mentality of a herd and compassion, rather than to continue onward had tried their hardest to return the child to safety. But it was this sheer commitment of rescuing the calf that lead to their demise. It wound up costing the lives of eleven elephants. Eleven. Watching the news and reading the updates, our hearts ached for them as the death toll rose. It was a gloomy day for us, the park, many worldwide and also for nature self.

There is not a way I can turn this into a positive post, possibly not even an enjoyable one. But, as I said, it is part of life and it deserved a mention, so I am going to simply leave it as it is.

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Personal Favourites South-East Asia (2019) Thailand

In search of the giants

Mo, a small yet resilient woman, lead us through the thick jungle. Wielding her long and sharp machete, she sliced away the lower hanging branches and the bushes taking over the path. Swiftly and without sound she paced on whilst her head moved in all directions. She was using all the senses she was gifted with flew over the paths carrying the eager of a kid on exploration. Then in sudden freeze, she’d bring us to a halt and hold her hand up to say both “quiet” and “listen”. The ground shook at sporadic beats. I held my breath out of intensity awaiting the stomp to come. BoomBoom… With every shake I felt the presence of something huge. Something of immense size. Moments afore, we had stood inside the footprints left by this creature causing the vibrations. A quiet shiver glided over my back as my eyes gazed through the jungle. Going off of the sounds, we knew surely that it was close. They were close. A whole bundle of it. Excitement grew, placing my mind in those of the explorers of Skull Island, awaiting the appearance of King Kong. But nonetheless, despite size and proximity, the thickness of the jungle had them well hid.

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South-East Asia (2019) Thailand

A bash in Bangkok

A capital over-flooding with traffic that peak hours cause overwhelming traffic jams bringing the whole city to a hold with taxi rates inflating. Smog is now the air you breathe. Popular streets are crawling with people. Stands and stalls and drivers and vendors everywhere, actively selling you stuff that you most likely do not need. Food at the ready wherever you go. With the slightest downfall, streets are filled with a lingering river of rainwater. Music bounces through the thick, humid air amassing the tourists as a single dancing crowd. Bangkok, A city where sex sells and alcohol flows.

Whether this sounds like your worst nightmare or a paradise of debauchery, if you have been to Bangkok and thought it to be dull, you haven’t truly experienced it. Often, I am the advocate of quiet towns, breaking free of the crowd and being away from the noise. But these nights, we jumped right into it. We found ourselves wandering around in the AM with a glass too tall and too many munching away on what seemed to be a fried cricket and maggot before hopping onto separate reckless Grab motorbikes. We flew over the near empty roads as our chauffeurs did all but obey the laws, flying over bumps and shooting through the lights illuminating the road in red. We cackled in the wind and blessed the drivers for their speedy drop-off before ambling back to our hidden hostel. The day before, we danced in the rain, flopping our slippers through the stream of rainwater and shuffled with the crowd. Laughed at the wristbands and shirts with lewd words on them and sipped the cheap cocktails – seemingly more sweet than alcoholic. These streets were filled with smiles and joy and it was a blessing to for a day be part of it.

On days of sobriety, we scuttled to the many temples and did all the tourists are meant to do in Thailand (apart from anything elephant related). We even got a Thai massage from a parlor hidden away, thus we knew, with the lacking of an active salesperson, to be getting the real deal – no surprises. We cruised wet markets and food markets and the exclaimed largest market there was. Admittedly and without loss of face the Baht flew as fast out of our wallets as it came sliding from the ATM. A cutesie souvenir here, a new accessory there and double the lunches.

Then we changed residency and moved to a cosier accommodation shockingly bargained. Heck, our surroundings were of fancy restaurants and apartments with hefty price tags filled with businessmen. And in between we sat, at an incredibly comfortable room bearing a price budget-traveller-friendly. We loved it, though it meant long walks to get in range of the affordable diners. When the evening came, we ambled the pink streets with bare women tipping about and signs luring you in with a witty, slight offensive joke. The ordeal was a bewitching, short alley for the businessmen as they came in packs feasting like ants on a syrupy picnic. We, however, knew to leave with a pace as the flirty ladies were touchy and the men in the back had stares of dollar signs.

In short; Bangkok had it all and within the downward of a week we had, we attempted to experience as much of it as we could would want to. Bangkok was fun. Not simply for the visit and a picture or the sights, but the full package. Bangkok brings the true experience.

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South-East Asia (2019) Thailand

A (dreadful) journey into Thailand

At the airport near Amsterdam, the haul of hell to come had shaped its form through the airline Lufthansa declining my attempt at checking in due to a lack of proof of exit. Naive me had been cocksure that, similar to the precedent visit, no one were to bother controlling and thus clueless I marched the queue-less counter as I waved my passport. Soon after, my lady on the other side of the world armed with a laptop and I on my handy, scavenged the web for the cheapest exits possible. After all, it was unsure were I to actually depart on the particular date. Thank heavens then, when we found a bus hauling tourists over the border for a bargain of a price.

Fast forward through the weeks of apartment-sitting, meeting up with old and new local friends, a trip to KL and catching up with a mate under the comfort of drinks in a familiar town and then a final gloom gaze into the apartment. A period that had flown by followed by the final footsteps ticking on the floor of a place we called home as I exit one last time. Out of the premises and into the Grab taking me to the pick-up point where the journey away from home and into travels will commence. Fully aware of it being an excruciating long one, I had been more than slightly discontent with the humid heat striking onto backpack-wearing me causing an already drizzle of sweat to soak my shirt. But the heat is a fight fought on the daily in these harsh countries.

A minivan spurted passed and stunted into a halt before letting me board. A handful of foreigners greeted me and within the hours I learned that I was the only one with a drive into the double digits. What did I get myself into, I wondered, as the distance between Bangkok and I crawled shorter.

As a weary and lost bundle of people we made our way through customs and a hint of anxiety hung on our shoulders. Fortunately, the procedure had gone swift and smoothly and moments after the van was burning rubber on the potholed road of Thailand. A country massively distinct from the country of take-off and it filled my belly with an enticing excitement. The hour we drove to my stop I therefore spent glaring out of the window and at all that we passed by. After manoeuvring myself out of the van, the driver seated me into a wobbly, plastic garden chair for the hour to come. From this point on I would be the sole foreigner and from here I could join the locals within a double-decker carrying a blessed a/c. Now was the start of a dreadful ride passing the fifteen hour mark of head-bobbing, neck-breaking positions and constant switching of positions.

Then, at last, finally, the driver announces the arrival in Bangkok and my miserable joints get their longed for stretch as I stumble out of the vehicle. A crowd of vendors and taxi’s swarmed like seagulls hunting for food on a sunny day and I pushed myself away from the inflated rates and into the lobby. Although the ride had ended and the soil underneath me belonged to Bangkok, I was far from a shower and warm bed. What awaited me was a cruise to the airport followed by some hours of loitering and a tiresome embrace with Kath, who’d land some hours after my arrival. What was perhaps the least enthusiastic reunion followed by yet another hours-long drive into the city for the search of our hidden hostel located in one of the alleys minutes walk from Khao San Road. There, though asked to wait before entering our room, my body screamed relief as they allowed me into the showers. We were back, back into travels and it felt exhausting and exhilarating. Up next, we were to explore touristy Bangkok.

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Malaysia South-East Asia (2019)

A journey of Malaysia

Initially, I welcomed my girlfriend at Penang’s airport with Grab at dial. This was after roughly 2 months apart, which, for us, is a relative short period. Bearing smiles we had tread into our apartment and embraced our new, temporary home to give that ‘living together’, something we hardly got due to distance, a solid try. For weeks, we did our things together within the same confined space and took care of the daily necessities. We weren’t on an exotic island nor in a bubbly city, but a simple, regular town. Some eateries near, a supermarket a walk away and a mall within few arms length away. But that was it. We weren’t together under the guise of explosive passion and riveting experiences that peaked our adrenaline possibly clouding over what is a love existing purely because of the adventures. It is scary to think of, but it’s a possibility undeniable. However, living a regular life, though no day with this Filipina seems to be regular, has left me with nothing more but a longing. A longing of more dull evenings spent planning the coming day’s groceries or munching the local snacks during a binge-session. There is something about a soulmate that simply beats the wandering life in all possible ways – though it doesn’t mean the end of its spirit.

For those reasons, when the final days came peeking around the corner, I felt a bit empty and sad to bid farewell to our apartment – though I’d be back for few lonesome nights later on – as we headed towards Kuala Lumpur for a weekend trip afore her flight. She was heading back to the archipelago for a wedding and we turned it into a fun trip. We got to burn our palette on spicy Indian before pushing through the humid heat to find our tiny hotel located in the corresponding part of town consisting of Indians. Now, as we were camped at the planned-to-detail perfect spot in town, for both getting around and an early exit to the airport, I had the perfect chance to make up for my last trip. On this side of Malaysia, the peninsula, I can confidently say that I have explored most of it. However it was the capital with its thick air and loud engines where I wasted little time and today we’d make amends. So, with an eye on the time, we rode the bus to the batu caves following the footsteps off all preceding tourists. We ambled up the stairs and back down to head into town as a darkened sky became the black blanket over us. Indubitably, as it was my love’s first visit, I guided her to admire the Petronas twin towers and take a swift shot whilst passing all the salesmen wielding lenses. Against the night sky’s black palette, the two towers stood magnificent and bright and precisely as I remembered.

That night, we squeezed one another extra tight. Because come morning, we rushed to the airport where we kissed goodbye once more. However, this time around it was a kiss less morose and leaning towards excitement. A wedding attendance for her would soon follow by a rejoice in Bangkok. But first, it was a man’s night out and the perfect town for it was miraculous Malacca. And what makes Malacca such a wonderful town is the same reason Malaysia gets all my appraisals; the ambience and the people. For they are the opposite of Butterworth – no offence. The moment I wandered back in the familiar streets amidst many a tourist and local all I faced were genuine and affectionate smiles and waves and greetings. Sitting at a diner for lunch, a local Chinese couple joins my table and soon we converse away before they paid for my meal. Waiters and waitresses carried broad smiles without the intention of a possible tip nor to come across professional. People here were loving and warm. Genuine. Transforming this historic town into a place where everyone can feel at home.

Though my return here was not for this reason. It was a cold brewski with an old friend of mine that called my name. And though I had been sorrowful that my preferred bar had changed owners and no longer carried the same homey feel with a push of interaction with others, for the short time it lasted it felt delightful to sip the same beer in the same old chair where my buttocks had left a print over a year aforetime. This with a guy responsible of a friendship that led me to Pakistan and a mind full of riveting tales on the island of Langkawi. A guy I gladly call a friend and if any, one of a lifetime long. I hope by now, at the time of writing, my fellow LDR-er has had the chance to go abroad just like I did.

Overall, my second time in Malaysia had been completely different. I stayed somewhere unknown and mainly visited the known. Introducing Kath to places I had been, people I had befriended and generally what I loved about the country. New places had been explored, however it wasn’t done in a traveller’s attitude, but one that resembles a weekend trip to the next town or a drive to the park. It felt more comfortable. Thank you Malaysia for allowing me diverse experiences.

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Malaysia South-East Asia (2019)

The day our taste buds suffered

Though most of my praising of Malaysia is aimed at its cuisine, they don’t excel at all dishes and since my words of appraisal hardly suffice, I decided to go the opposite direction with a glance in their world of Western food. On this side of the world, ordering anything other than rice such as the well-known delight that is bun and patty is like partaking in a game of roulette whilst in Russia. Whether the chamber is empty and you’re safe to go is an absolute bet and the same goes here.

Portraying the scenario, my love and I had a wander in search for a night-market that due to a festive day was nowhere to be found. With a creeping darkness and a howling stomach, the two craved for a meal and rather fast. Then, as a beacon, a sign with neon-light beamed ‘Papa Rogers’ and it exclaimed the presence of burgers. I have a tendency to gobble them away during my travelling endeavours, rather than during my time home, however without loss of face I pranced inside and swiftly ordered the two biggest and fattest – pardon the overstatement – burgers they owned.

As swiftly that I had ordered, the actual preparing of our meal, despite the place being abandoned aside from us and a group of four, took an eternity. An hour, said with a hint of sugarcoating, dragged by as our already starving stomachs continued to be tormented before a waiter trotted our way with indeed two fat and big hamburgers. The first and second bite was absolutely amazing and it tasted far more heavenly than any meal I had had. Then, my tongue and its taste-buds began to suspect foul play from a crying tummy capable of satisfying its hunger with a month-old, mouldy cow’s tongue. I was drowning in sauces, some of which don’t even belong on a bun. A load of spicy topped with a funky, sweetish sauce that was squeezed onto it a bit too long. Then to top up, a fury of ketchup was rained down upon it. I opened my eyes and witnessed the horror done upon a magnificent patty. Because the sad part was, when I attempted in removing some of the saucy river, I came eye-in-eye with an exemplary piece of meat that would have been excellent served in any other way. Even the bread, weak, soggy and somehow still dry, had been an utter disappointment. Perhaps their tactic was to leave a customer starving so that it will finish the meal no matter what and it had worked as we both, lamentably, did. A taste smouldering in our mouths hours after remained one unforgettable .

Even when loud and clear regarding the desire of less sauce between buns, in Malaysia, they oft douse their burgers to an extend of ruining it. But, in general it is hard to find great ones all over South-East Asia or any Western food for that matter, as it is incontestably not their suit. Which is fine, that’s why I and many others come here, to experience everything that they do exceed in and they outshine in plenty others. Nonetheless, at times this unhealthy indulgent reaches a peak craving after days of non-stop rice and then to find exemptions such as The Black Apartment, Five Loaves burgers and so on, was a welcomed treat. But finding them in Malaysia was a scarcity and this was one of many sad moments.

Which is a secret unhealthy craving you turn to when travelling? Or do you stick to full healthy meals?

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Malaysia South-East Asia (2019)

Our home away

Passing the friendly guards, you’d head to the right to curve around the main building and into the second with the big letter ‘B’. An elevator ride later and you find yourself on the fifteenth floor, from which you can see the distant wavy water bouncing towards the island. Coinciding, that same wind causing the mesmerising waves whooshes through the wide gaps of the building singing its song. During storms and huge downfalls it becomes an event more daunting, bringing the whole place to a shake. Heretofore, the monsoons had turned the hallways into a river resulting in the flooding and destruction of the elevators. Due to poor management, this could last months, but fortunately, we hardly felt affected by the weather or the indolent management. At least not to such extreme extent.

At the fifth door going left, you’d pause, enter a code and then step into the humble abode. On your immediate left is a kitchen, straight is an incredibly spacious living room and to the right is the bathroom connected to the bedroom – which then again leads back to the living room. At the opposite end of the entrance is the glass slide door keeping out the humid heat. As you exit through the slide, standing on the balcony, you could lean over and watch the other inhabitants of the complex do their laps of swimming or you’d gaze further and watch a group of young children outside of the premises indulge in a game of football. Perhaps you can take a peak of the top floor of the ‘A’ building, reachable by going to the fifth floor where the swimming pool is stationed and crossing to the other side where another set of elevators awaits you. Flying up, you find a small gym. Personally, I do not partake in going to the gym – too many people. I have purchased my own minuscule set-up which, obviously, remained in the Netherlands. With that, I felt in luck with this, compared to mine, luxurious yet relative idle gym that was also within close enough vicinity. I even managed to make friends during the time span of my sessions. The only downside was the dress-code I at home wouldn’t abide by – shoes and shirt. That, and the downstairs neighbour stealing the machine’s pins turning it into a ‘Bring your own make-shift pin’-gym.

Mere a minute’s walk away awaits a haven of basic stalls seemingly coated with health code violations, however, upon close inspection, you find yourself in a wander in a heaven of foods. Uncostly meals ready in a whiff, once again served with the sweetest of smiles and with a taste uncanny bearing resemblance to the most lavish meal consumed. Except for the part where the pricey meal in the fancy restaurant with a table clothed and chairs comfortable was nothing but a disappointment and disgrace and the second the feared barrier of comfort was crossed, Utopia was found. Sitting on the wobbly, plastic chair, time after time they manage to wow you. Every food court is the same with every plate being the very picture of the previous ones, yet all tasted completely different. Finding the ones to cherish, you are in a state of absolute bliss, but the Chinese and Malay courts are not the only ones where the Nirvana of food rests, as a couple of minutes further up the road is a 24/7 Indian restaurant that spits out constant ravishing and extraterrestrial delights that had me and my missus gorging away as if our lives depended on it. I can type and type but the love I bear for half the feasts indulged in during my accumulated months on the peninsula remains indescribable and unending.

When not capable of beating the heat or simply aiming for a place further, the taxi-company Grab, the Uber of Asia, would at a bargain drive us anywhere we desired. Taking us to the nearby harbour for some sad pennies to cross for a day or hang out at the air-conditioned mall where we’d watch a movie. Go to a recommended restaurant some kilometres away or to further-away attractions, you name it, Grab is at your service.

All with all, this was perfect. The time spent there can’t be taken away. The morning toast with eggs as remembrance to my European roots, though the bread was an incompetent version, followed by daily eat-outs. All the while, we combined enjoying life and love together, going to the gym and for her working online whilst I did my courses. We both concurred that Malaysia would make a wonderful home.

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Malaysia South-East Asia (2019)

Malaysia; The credit it deserves

If only I had burned out some months before and Malaysia would have gotten more credit. But no, my burnout peaked after a late post on the Philippines and with that, Malaysia was already in the past. Three whole months wrapped up in a single blog post. Was it a country so dull then? Is it lacking of enticing tales? Neh, unfortunately my creativity was what was dull and lacking. All that was written had been a story of hitchhiking, as I could not imagine a story involving anything other than the unusual. In my mind, no memory performed well when written, however that mindset has changed and the answer to the question on Malaysia: No. Malaysia was everything I could wish it to be. Hence the time spent there. Hence the return to it. Strangely enough however, when asked what to visit, though there are many allurements, I was shockingly speechless. Nothing stood out intensely to the liking of mesmerising beaches, snorkelling with whale-sharks, lonesome islands boasting their flora and so on. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot about Malaysia that is breathtaking, picturesque, impressive and on. Some of the most incredible sunsets took place there, the Petronas stand tall and mighty, Cameroon Highlands provides a charming view of the world of tea and towns like Malacca and Georgetown offer architecture, art and history that is more than fascinating. But, what it comes down to, it’s not what I reminisce about when afar and definitely not the reason I returned.

The appeal to this peninsula lays in the resemblance of being home. A home that is away. It’s the homey feeling that made me initially extend my stay and book a ticket after draining jobs and a growing longing for my love. The locals and their amazing cuisine do their part by welcoming each and every person setting foot on Malaysian soil. A dish served with a smile is their motto. At least, I dare to think so. Everywhere you go, smiles are granted and dishes are to delight. For these reasons, it made only sense to this time around stay put in one place and coat the insides of an apartment with our precious belongings. Incontestably it was not at the throw of a dart, as our residence came with a planned view of the nearby harbour perpetually hauling its passengers for few dimes and pennies from side to side. That other side was Georgetown, Penang, where I knew the streets like my hometown. With a place so familiar and filled with comfort for me a boat-ride away, I felt valorous enough to dive into an unknown town by the name of Butterworth to unpack our backpacks.

The haul there had been long; as a lonesome trailblazer I initiated the journey from the airport in the Netherlands. A foreshadowing terror when I was denied at check-in, lacking an exit-ticket not requested or asked for last time, resulted in a 20 or so minutes back and forth messages and exchanging information with Kath ending in a booked bus proving exit from Malaysia. Delightful. From there on, the saunter to my gate went surprisingly effortless and before I knew it, the sleepless flight had started.

After an endless voyage, the wheels of the – second – plane finally graced the runway and with a squealing sound the arrival was announced. It was a late afternoon and I knew I had two options at this point: One, I depart the airport in search of a cheap hostel, stay there a night resting in the comfort of a soft bed and then during twilight scurry off to the town of destination. Two, head to the bus straight away, taking on an immediate six-hour drive in the hope I get to rest and arrive in the dead of the night to only wait until the hour grows at an acceptable stance for calling someone awake. Those that know me well enough will know I opted for the second choice.

And these same people will know my exact luck coming in the shape of a night’s visit from Insomnia. For reasons unknown, this devil’s terror only appears at worst timings and such was this bus ride after an already lacking of sleep. The air-condition was on, and though I praise the lords when the first breeze of cool air gently strikes my skin, hours in I had regret the sweater still recessing inside my backpack as now the bundles of hair on my arms had risen into a goose-bump and my body occasionally shivered. Once we arrived, wistfully precise by clock, the night had struck and the town was asleep. As the apartment would officially be under my name by afternoon, I felt it unfair to waken the owner on the night before and therefore I watched the hours pass inside the harbour’s cooled building and even managed to sneak in a tiny, awkward nap. Then, delirious on a growing hunger and need for sleep, I contacted the pick-up and within the hour I stood inside the spacious room. With a stomach expected to remain satiated and restrain from protesting on a single meal doused with the wrong spices taken half a day ago, I hadn’t felt the greatest. But, to be back on known land under these rough traveller’s conditions with mere days separated between me and my love, the feeling of bliss overshadowed the wailing body and after quenching my thirst by hosing a glass of water down my throat and gorging on a snack of dry cereal, I waddled to my bed carrying a smile. It feels great to be home.