Southeast Asia Journal 21: Introduction to the trip through Malaysia, Singapore and three islands in Indonesia
Well, it’s back on the road for a trek through another few Southeast Asian countries. It’s been quite a while since I have been able to publish journals because I have been very busy taking classes to finish my master’s coursework these last few months.
My last big trip was through the countries of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and then back through Thailand. I did happen through a small part of Myanmar for a quick stop at a market that was said to be abutting the northern tip of Thailand, but I would not be receiving an official stamp of entry for that one. But I will have to make the official trip into the land of the Burmese on the next trip.
Other than that, I did take the motorbike for a seven day jaunt through the south of Thailand in October, which was great. It rained the entire time, but it still made for an interesting and nearly-tourist-free trek to the Andaman side where I got to snap some shots of the Thai Vegetarian festival. A blog of that trip will be accompanying this one. And, when published, they will appear together and in the correct order.
Once I can rewrite the order, get all my entries into sync and organize all the material, I will just have to keep adding to this journal. Once all the photos are edited (maybe in a month or so), I will hopefully be able to get it all uploaded in one quick shot.
Until then, though, I will be finishing this blog. So far, it’s been amazing. And I have had to wait until the eighth day of this trip to do any writing because I thought that Indonesia would use the same electrical plugs as Malaysia.
I was wrong.
And so I had to find a place that had an adaptor for my adaptor. So I am currently powering my laptop with my charger which is plugged into one adapter made for changing the connections from a western plug to a Malaysian plug and then from a Malaysian plug to an Indonesian plug. The stem to the wall is beginning to look a lot like a National Lampoon’s Christmas tree light arrangement.
Nevertheless, once again I find myself sitting in a little shack of a hostel with a breeze for a fan and a flickering bulb for light ticking away at my laptop, scanning through photos with a hot tea on whatever ramshackle, little end table that happens to be in the room. And I find myself so pleased with the way my life is leading me into the most amazing memories that I can ever imagine having been humbled and privileged enough to somehow deserve in this lifetime.
I only came to Indonesia on a whim after changing my mind at a moment’s inspiration. And this has been the recipe that’s paved the way for the most memorable times of my adult life.
The warm people, the diverse cultures, the jaw-dropping landscapes have all been my kind company throughout my travels. And as the sun bathes the clouds cresting the horizon of the Indian Ocean in a deep red blade that spans the whole of the Javan peripheral, I am reminded of all the wonderful memories in all the wonderful places that I have acquired up until now. And this definitely sets the pace for my time that has been mostly spent here in Indonesia.
Malaysia, as in my last three visits, has always been interesting and different each time. And Singapore was also a vastly different place. But those journals follow and will hopefully add to the color of this, more detailed journal which will mostly cover the islands of Java, Bali and Sumatra in Indonesia. I wish I had more time to travel here, because the people are simply great, warm, friendly people. And they make the entire trip worthwhile.
The bombings by radical Muslims killing hundreds of westerners last year and the years previous seem so impossibly foreign to the feeling that I get from almost all the people that I have encountered so far. I, of course, have not had an entirely problem-free trip. And that aspect has indeed taken its toll on how much I am able to trust the rest of my encounters with people here. But the vast majority of the people here are more than willing to stop and help, to offer assistance and in most cases just simply stop and talk to you. But all of this will be detailed in the following blog.
Thanks for staying with me for these last years and I hope that you enjoy this blog. From here, I will be transcribing my notes from the pad that I have kept for the past six years of travel. I filled the entire thing up completely just this afternoon and it will be a shame to see it go. The duck tape I used as its binder is warn and faded and the book itself more resembles the shape of the bag it’s been carried in for at least that many years (and even the bag, a military gas-mask bag that I sewed a zipper and strap onto, has also been through quite an ordeal protecting my camera while disguised as a ratty hippy-pack. It can be seen in almost all the photos of myself throughout my travels these last years).