Oh my gosh! Im in Malaysia. I have no real clue how Malaysia is going to be, but Im sure I will have an amazing time.
Well, this morning we docked in Penang, and we had to go through immigration. Usually, we pick up our passport in the faculty lounge and immigration officials from the country check us off. Today, however, the process was taking place off the ship. After our group met in a classroom, we headed over to the immigration check. It was crazy chaotic and took a ridiculously long time. We were waiting in line for over an hour. Usually SAS trips get priority, and it was just annoying that when I was actually on one, we basically had to wait for the whole rest of the ship to get checked off. When we eventually all got through, our bus headed out an hour late. The trip is to Kuala Lumpor, which is the capital city of Malaysia, and includes exploring in caves.
We drove for about two hours, and our first stop were some caves. They were very cool. Ive never really gone exploring in caves, so I thought they were really neat. They were huge, and I thought it was cool how they were shaped with different pieces coming down each way. When you screamed, it would echo, so that was pretty cool too. They were filming some kind of a Viking movie there, so we kept passing people that were all dressed up. I think it would be interesting to rent that movie and see the caves that we were in. We finished exploring in the wind tunnel, which was a pitch-black flat area of the caves. We were supposed to go up to the golden flowstone where we would see light streaming in, but because of the immigration process this morning, we were short on time. We were only in the caves for about an hour. It was really sad because I was enjoying myself, and I knew that our whole group would have preferred to be late to dinner and see the caves.
After the caves, we drove for a while longer and stopped at a bank so people could exchange money. I had my leftover Canadian dollars and South African rand with me, so I wanted to exchange them. The bank wasnt changing anybodys money though, which was kind of annoying. Oh well, Ill find a spot to exchange them in later. We drove for a while more (it takes 5 hours to get to KL) and stopped at a rest stop. They had Baskin Robbins, so a bunch of us got some of that. It was so delicious!
When we finally got to Kuala Lumpor, we stopped at a few touristy spots for pictures. Our first stop was the Kings Palace. We werent allowed to go inside, but from the outside, it looked pretty big. There were those guards that stand outside that arent allowed to talk at all. Our next stop was the National Mosque. It was sad because it was free to get in, but we didnt have time. We just took pictures from the outside. I definitely prefer travelling independently because youre in control of your time. I guess Ive learned my lesson. Next we stopped at the National Court House and Independence Square. We didnt even get off the bus because it was pouring. Our tour guides name is Lee, and hes this adorable Chinese man. It was cute because he was singing Rain rain go away into the mic on the bus. We passed the Patronas Twin Towers on our way to dinner. They are the tallest twin towers in the world. They were so beautiful! I could have just sat outside and stared at them for hours. They were all lit up with blue lights.
For dinner, we went to a buffet with traditional Malaysian food. It was really good. I had this thing that tasted like tofu with peanut sauce on it. For dessert they had tons of weird jelly things and some other Malaysian sweets. They were okay but a little weird. I also tried this thing called Durian fruit. Durian fruit is supposedly one of the grossest foods in the world. I had a dessert with Durian fruit mashed up with coconut; it looked like soup. It was super disgusting, but Im glad I tried it. After dinner, there was a cultural show at the restaurant. It included live music and dancing. I enjoyed it; one of the guys was really good. After the show was over, Tequila and I went to go get pictures with the dancers. It was really chaotic because all these groups were trying to take pictures. Eventually we just all got on stage together and took pictures. It was fun!
Once dinner was over, we drove through the downtown area called the golden triangle to get to our hotel. The traffic was so ridiculous; it was bumper to bumper the whole way. The downtown area was really cute. It looked like a mini version of Times Square in New York or Trafalgar Square in London. I wouldve liked to explore that area a little. When we finally got to our hotel, I took a quick shower and got ready for our night festivities. The hotel was gorgeous. There were only two people to a room, so I got to sleep in my own bed. I wasnt expecting that at all. There was also a really nice view from our windows of the city. The other SAS group was there, so we all hung out together for a while. We tried to go to karaoke at a hotel bar nearby but there was no one there, so we decided to try and go find some Malaysians. We ran into some who said they were going to Heritage Row, so we all got taxis there. It was just a street with lots of places. We first checked out a place called LAX. It was kind of empty, but they had good music, so we all just danced around together. Logan persuaded the DJs to let him rap on the mic, so that was really cool. After a while there, we decided to check out somewhere else. We went to another club, which was free to get into for girls. It was a lot more crowded and more people were dancing. It was really fun! They played Waka Waka, and we all got super excited because its the theme song for our voyage. We left the club when it started dying down right before it closed. We were going to go back to karaoke, but we found out everything closed at 3am, so we headed back to our hotel. Someone had a plan to go to the Twin Towers, but we decided since we couldnt go inside them this late and we had to be up really early that it wouldnt really be worth it. I just went back to my room, took a quick shower, and went to sleep.
All in all, I did really enjoy today despite some of the negative things I mentioned. I really like Malaysia and the group of people that came on my trip. I had a fun time seeing some of the sights of KL, exploring the cave, and getting know some more people. Hopefully tomorrow will be this fun also!
Today we had to wake up early around 7am. I was super tired because I went to bed so late last night but also really pumped for the day. We had free breakfast at the hotel, and they had a lot of variety. They had breakfast food, but they also had other lunchy-type items like mashed potatoes, noodles, and cold cuts. When we checked out of the hotel, our first stop was just to take photos at the Twin Towers. They were cool but a lot less pretty during the day. I wish we couldve gone up them, but I heard the bridge between them is closed for construction for the next few months anyway. It was funny because while we were there, a little Chinese family wanted their children to take pictures with Kenny. We were just all cracking up on the sidelines watching it happen. Our next stop was to the National Museum. It just included different Malaysian artifacts throughout time. There was a really cool spot in it where they had the early Malaysian stuff. They built an area that looked like a real rain forest and a real cave.
After the museum, we headed over to a war memorial. It was a large statue with men shooting arrows and other men on the ground atop a small water fixture. Im not exactly sure what war it was for, but I still liked it. There was an artist selling his artwork by the memorial, so I bought a small oil painting of the twin towers.
Our next stop was our second cave visit. The Batu caves house Hindu temples inside them. We walked up a lot of stairs to the entrance of the caves. The view from the top was really cool. We could see most of the city off in the distance. There were monkeys all along the stairs. One of the monkeys actually came up, stole my friends water bottle, and then proceeded to open it and start drinking. It was really funny. The area we were allowed to go into for free was really limited, but I still liked it. I didnt really feel the need to go inside one of the temples. The cave itself was cool though. There was vegetation all along the walls, and the sun was shining in. On my way back down the steps, I stopped at one of the side caves that had lots of monkeys. They were really cute as they were fighting with each other. You could do an adventure tour in the cave, which wouldve been really cool if we had time.
Next, we thought we were heading over to get lunch, but really we stopped at something called a Hanidcraft centre. They showed us a quick demonstration of how a piece of cloth gets dyed, but the woman had a really thick accent so none of us really understood it. It was basically just an overpriced store. Some of the clothes were really cute, but they wanted to charge us like 40 bucks for a shirt and 60 for pants, which is absolutely crazy in these countries. A store worker gave us a demonstration of how to wear one of the long pieces of cloth. She did like five things with it where it could be worn as two types of skirts, a shirt, or a rose necklace. The rose was really cool, but I know I would never remember any of it.
When we left the store, we finally went to go get lunch. We ate at a cute little Chinese restaurant. I have no clue how SAS found it. We had spring rolls, rice, vegetables, salad, and this delicious tofu curry dish. It was so good! I ate so much of it. I didnt even know they ate curry in China. When we finished eating lunch, we had free time to go shopping. There was an open-air bazaar nearby, so I walked through it. I managed to find myself a shot glass, so I think I accomplished something productive. They had some cute fake designer bags, but they were selling them for so much money. I asked how much a Prada bag was, and they wanted 350 ringgits, which is over $100. For that kind of money, I could just buy a real Prada bag on ebay.
We drove the whole way home stopping only once to get some snacks. I managed to score my own seat, so I slept somewhat comfortably the whole way back. When we got back I took a shower and hung out with Jordan on the 7th deck while I waited for the tender. The ship wasnt allowed to dock the 2nd day in Malaysia, so we had to take tenders (small boats) from the port to the ship. They were kind of cool; it was just annoying not to be able to instantly get on and off the ship. I walked around with a group of people that I didnt know that well. We stopped at a reggae bar, but there werent that many people there, so we decided to head elsewhere. We ran into Madeline who was hanging out with some people she met at hostel. All the people she met were from the US. One of them was teaching English in Thailand and one of her friends had come to visit her. We chatted with them for a while, and they were really nice. There was also this older guy who was from the US too and had been living in Malaysia for a little while. He said hes never run into this many Americans there before. We walked with them for a while before stopping at a karaoke bar. I ran into a bunch of my friends who were already there singing. It was Sunny, Ali, Charles, Alexis, and some other people. Ali was singing when I got there, and I never knew she actually had a good voice. We all sang a few songs really loudly together. I requested some Britney Spears and Spice Girls, but we left before I got to sing them.
We headed over to a club called Slippery Senoritas. That place was so much fun! There were a bunch of the crew and other SASers at the club, so we all danced together. There was a live cover band for a little while playing popular songs. The singer was dressed like Lady Gaga (and that one singer Neon Hitch at Ybor-Mandy you should know what Im talking about.) We just danced and had a good time there until the club closed at 3am. A few of our friends were getting massages across the street, so we waited for them for a while before deciding they would take too long. I walked back with Deara and Darrell. We didnt think Darrell knew the right way home, but we got there with no problem at all. I had a lot of fun tonight! The nightlife in Malaysia is definitely way better than India.