|June 20, Y2K BKK, Thailand|
HEY MALAYSIAN FRIENDS! This is an update for the website that my husband and I (well, really he) have been reporting to as we travel. the address is : itisnet.com it's a good independent travelers website. But I wanted to forward a copy of the message to all of you that were such a great highlight in my weeks in Malaysia!
Update from Margaret -- 21 June, 2000
Happy Summer Solstice Everyone!
What? There are less than two months left of our trip and I have only written on the website twice in the past year? How could that be? Where has the time gone!!!
Keel and I are back in Bangkok, having been reunited after nearly an entire month of solo travel. I had an "excellent adventure" in Malaysia and Singapore, where I met up with a great British chic named GEORGE -- together we ripped up the countryside.
For anyone considering a jaunt into PENINSULAR MALAYSIA, I cannot stress enough the wonderfullity of the Cameron Highlands -- especially if you are in dire need of a respite from the heat of the rest of southeast Asia -- which I certainly was at the time. (Hey, I'm a northerner, from Maine, for goodness sakes. We practically see penguins it's so cold there.) For those of youthful soul, I can highly recommend a friendly little guesthouse called FATHER'S. There was a very groovy bunch of other travelers there -- who taught me how to play the classic traveler's card game, "Shithead." There were also a handful of studly Canadians that gave me a run for my money in "Hearts," -- I am still waiting for a re-match you guys! Another plus about Father's was that I got to catch up on all of the new movies that are out -- for free! They've got a great video collection (perhaps of dubious origins...) and I got to see a new movie every night --psych!
THere are some wonderful hiking trails all around the Highlands -- though dont rely on the local maps. When you wander off into the jungle, it's best to be prepared to get lost -- out of 9 days of hiking I was never completely sure that I had actually hiked the trail that I had set out to conquer. But there was some great jungle scenery, I worked up a good sweat and used some of those muscles honed in Nepal, and there were NO LEECHES (major bonus).
After a good long stay in the
Highlands, George and I, accompanied by our superhero buddy SHMIKE,
We saw the Towers Petronas (tall, man), did it up in the Central Market (my wallet is considerably lighter and my husband not particularly thrilled about it George -- I have to blame it on you for taking me into that Chinese clothing boutique...!) Other than that, KL is an expensive town and if you want a gin and tonic, I suggest taking out a loan.
We bade farewell to some of the
Father's pals that trickled in through Wheeler's while we were
there -- Darryl (and his newly arrived consort, the lovely Megan:-),
Bertrand, Janice, Autumn, and Alastair -- Alastair on his way
HOME to Scotland-- hope you made it dude, yikes, a frightening
foreshadowing for Margaret.
Well, being so close, I just
had to see Singapore, though Miss George was not interested.
So I embarked on my own! I took the bus -- just a few hours (and
many violent videos blaring at full volume -- who are these bus
drivers??) and I was in the cleanest most beautiful city I've
ever been in my life. Wow -- Any Rand would have a lot to comment
on in Singapore. I stayed at LEE TRAVELLERS CLUB, which, again,
isn't ranking high on the Princess guage -- but adequate and
affordable, to be sure. I had an even smaller shoebox than George
and I had in KL, but no matter, I didn't spend much time there,
and, besides, it was across the street from a STARBUCKS coffee
shop, which made up for everything. Listen, would-be Asian travellers,
seeing a Starbucks is like a light in the decent-coffee darkness
that is this part of the world. I nearly bowed down and worshipped
the Cafe Latte I had. Much to my delight and amazement, and a
testament to the First class first worldness of Singapore, there
is a Starbucks every few meters -- one on every corner and in
every mall and shopping center. Believe me, Singapore is well
stocked in shopping centers, all with very western SET prices.
Fun window shopping, but even better was the BOTANIC GARDENS,
How awesome is that?? Singapore is another great place if you need to ship things abroad -- the prices are decent and affordable and the service is reliable. And, while in Singapore, pay a visit to the historic Raffles Hotel -- there's a small museum there and one's imagination can recreate a time when the likes of Somerset Maughm strolled its corridors.
After just 2 nights and 3 days
in the shining city, it was time to head north again to meet
Georgie Girl for more jungle trekking in Taman Nagara National
Park. Unfortunately, the train was at night, so I couldn't view
the countryside along the way. Amd, I was to arrive in the town
of Jerantut at 2:30 AM. I spent the day before I departed desperately
The next day we went to the park
-- took a really fun 2 hour boat ride up the Tembling River to
get into it, found a place to stay, and hiked and hung out and
drank Milo shakes everyday. There were only 3 leeches that we
saw, and they have nothing on their gymnast cousins in Khoa Yai
Park, Thailand. Taman Nagara boasts the world's oldest rain forest,
and I actually managed to survive the canopy walk. The "walk"
was more like an Outward Bound ropes
After 3 days in the park, it was time for me to get back to Jerantut and the train station to get north to Bangkok and meet the "hus" again. George and I had to stay up to the "wee" hours again in order to catch the night train, which we rode together until daylight. We said goodbye as I got off to cross the border into Thailand and she continued on to the Perentian Islands where I am sure she is getting a great tan. And so concluded "Madge and Fred's Malaysian Romp," an unexpected highlight of my year in Asia.
And now Keel and I are trying to plan the remaining weeks of our tour -- China is out -- as the money is dwindling, we really cant afford to fly to Beijing and spend alot of money on hotels. So we will probably get back into the north of Thailand again, where the pace is slow, the food is amazing, and the guesthouses about $3 a night. Then, in mid-July, we make our way to the airport and do a jaunt to Japan before continuing back to....... aaaaahhhhhhggggggg!!!!!! ....... the US.
That, besides a few incidences with puppies and kittens along the way, is all the news thats fit to print, presently. Hope all of our faithful readers (the small handful of you) have enjoyed a little desktop travel with us! Ciao friends -- Margaret
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