Thursday, July 7, 2011

Koh Phi Phi and border crossing

I decided to spend a few days at the beach on my trek down to Malaysia and after an ardent recommendation for Koh Phi Phi I decided to stop there. The beaches are beautiful and in a lot of ways it's a typical kinda trashy beach town. I didn't do a whole lot other then sit on a beach, so I don't have any good stories to share. Oh wait, here's a conundrum for you to ponder: when you're traveling alone who outs the sunscreen on your back? Do you ask a random stranger to do something that seems oddly intimate? Hi, you don't know me, but do mind rubbing sunscreen on my sweaty back? Thanks! I couldn't bring myself to do it, so I broke down and bought the really expensive spray-on stuff. I reasoned with myself that this won't be the last time I have this problem, so I should just buy it now. I still grumbled a little when I handed over the baht for it though.
More tales of transport and border crossings! I left Koh Phi Phi on the morning ferry and caught a 9h (really 10h) bus to Penang, Malaysia. Met a girl from the states who is not only my age, but also had quit her job to go travel for 8 months, and was at the end of her trails. Finally, someone who speaks my language; literally and figuratively! We chatted it up the whole bus ride, so it wasn't too bad.
Finally we get to George Town, Malaysia. At this point it's 10pm, I have no Malaysian Ringgits, and I'm suppose to meet friends at a hotel...somewhere. Ok, first things first. Must get cash! I get pointed in the direction of an ATM. I walk, with all my packs on, confusedly for a bit. I eventually get asked where I was going by a guy on a motorbike. I tell him. He gives more directions, to which I confusedly kind of nod to. He offers to take me on his motorbike and insisted I wear a helmet. Which was the deal breaker for me. No one EVER wears helmets, so he must be ok. I hop on the back with my 35lb pack on and hold on to the chubby Malaysian man for dear life, praying that I don't tip backwards on the bike. I arrive to the ATM in one piece and get cash, success! The chubby Malaysian man then helped me get a taxi to my hotel! And thus has begun my journey in Malaysia. Hopefully this is signs of good things to come? Stay tuned!  

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