Sunday, March 9, 2014

First steps in Malaysia

Do you know the feeling that some things and events are already planned for you? And if your plan doesn't match the general plan everything will happen according to higher plan anyway? Well that's what just happened to me couple of days ago. I wanted to take the long train journey from Singapore to Butterworth - Penang on Thursday. So I went to get the train, but I didn't make it on time, traffic was stuck, trains slow, just wasn't to be. So at the end I spent some good 3 hours in SG cold and clean public transport! Then I found the bus crossing to Johor bahru - Malaysia. Past through customes, got tran ticket to KL, bought new sim card and after some persuading I have managed to withdraw some money. Then I have found out that train traveling here is a serious businesses. You need to get queque number before purchasing ticket first, then you should be ready to board the train half an hour early and need to sit on designated seat (until the air con breaks in your couch and then you can sit just anywhere). :-)
So far, I love Malaysia, the eye contact, smile, helo, care, interest, oh it feels so much better here. And everyone knows basic English which makes it harder to learn at least thank you in Malay, but easier to talk to people. So far cheapest country and its reasonably clean.
I arrived to KL at 10pm, found taxi to china town, found a room in Backpackers and went to sleep totally exhausted. Next morning, I met Amanda from California in the lobby, we went to find Petronas towers together and got fantasticaly lost twice, so we arrived there much later then it would have been possible, but it gave us nice time to talk, eat breakfast and have fun. Then I ren back to hostel to pack and check out, got lost again, but made it on time. I didn't realise it was Friday until I was told that the second class in my train is full and had to buy a fist class ticket... first class freezer I would say. I even unpacked my jacket for first time to be able to survive the cold aircon. Well next time I will go by bus, several people recomanded it to me, its cheaper, faster and they should apparently have very comfortable buses. I will report on it once I see it.
I made it to the ferry to Penang at 10 pm, where I met Sharon from GB a lively young girl. We walked together, found hostel, (my first dorm), got late dinner and went to sleep. Oh I almost forgot the surprise waiting in the room! A Czech woman was there, it was nice, but we didn't even said our names and she left in the morning before I was fully awake, shame... Now its only me and Austrian old guy there :-) . It's all nice and clean for 20RM!! (120kc) but I got several - looots of strange and very itchy bites during night. It was not a mosquito, but I don't know what it was. I have asked at the reception, changed bed, sprayed the anti-insect thing all over me and this morning, found only two or 3 new bites. Well, bugs love me for sure... I will ask for some local product tomorrow in pharmacy I think.
Penang - George town, love it, so strange, you can get a fantastic meal for 4rm at one place and cappuccino for 9 elsewhere :-) ! But it's very friendly place, great mixture of different etniques lives here and I guess that creates this nice atmosphere. This place is famous for its street art and tasty food - confirmed.
I went to an event yesterday, small meeting in photography museum organised by local InterNation group (expats) which I've joined. We had guided tour around this fantastic museum full of interesting old cameras and had fun. I recommend a visit.
One guy from the group was heading to very first St. Patrick day parade in Penang so I have joined him. It was very nice, there is actually profound historical connection with Irish people, most famous are founders of schools, buildings, society moves,...and we heard and saw The sigh band - back pipes and drums - fantastic sound! I hope I will a mange to upload video somehow, so far it doesn't works :(.
 So we ended up spending whole evening together, had dinner and strol through market, it was great to meet someone who lives here and explained me some of interesting facts. I have enjoyed the night and company greatly.

Very funny thing happened today, I was walking through the centre and they close some streets to cars on Sunday mornings for fairs and community time. I was gathered by local medical association promoting a kidney health and was given free medical check - they insisted. So I report, that I have normal sugar in my blood, low cholesterol, 57kg, 172cm!!(I thought I was 174cm :[), normal blood pressure and I feel good. I received a present and met a guy who was hanging out with me for some more time showing me all nearby stalls and it was fun. I have also tryed the calligraphy brush for first time and made mandrine sign for heart!! <3 on paper on which you paint with watter so it all disappear after few minutes and you can start again like everything else in life. Yes and dragon candy! All pictured, have a look. :-)

This street art is amazing !!! Prague, make some notes and stop that stupid tagging! Signature can be an art or the other way round.