51. Malaysia

Malaysia: It was a short month in Peninsular Malaysia and we pretty much made straight for the beaches to recharge after India. It worked.

Amy: I really had no expectations for Malaysia. I probably honestly couldn’t have easily found it’s exact location on a map before this month. Now that I’ve been there though, I’m enthralled. Malaysia is a beautiful country that appears to have all of the great qualities of SEA (south-east Asia) in one relatively small nation. You get the big city experience in futuristic east meets west Kuala Lumpur, the most beautiful beaches and islands on both coasts, incredibly welcoming and generous locals and the alluring wilds of rainforest jungle. Did I mention that I swam with giant sea turtles so close I could touch them and reef sharks from a nice safe distance? The island life afforded me lots of time to reflect and enjoy my dumb luck that brought me 6,000 miles from any place called home to a place called Malaysia. I often found myself making an agenda ahead to the time known as “Who The Hell Knows,” when I would get to visit again. Next time, I’ll definitely make it to Malaysian Borneo. Yes, definitely.

Sloan: Motorboats, coconuts and us, together at last. We didn’t see nearly enough “real” Malaysian culture, because we spent so much time mingling with tourists on the islands. That’s only a small regret, because the Malaysian island life is tough to beat and tougher to leave. We did absorb a decent amount of local flavor while travelling between the coasts and this was our first taste of the strong influence that China has on all of SEA. For better or worse, Chinese culture is everywhere and it was an integral part of the Malaysian experience. I loved how incredibly easy it was to travel cross-country, much of which is credit to the kind and generous disposition of the Malaysian people we encountered. Interestingly, every logistical task now gets compared to India, as in, “If we were doing this in India, we’d have a crowd of people involved, they would all be giving us conflicting information, something would have just caught fire nearby, and there would probably be a cow pooping on my shoe.” Except for the Pangkor Monkey Insurgency (PMI), Malaysia was all highlights for me – impossibly delicious fusion cuisine, swimming with giant sea turtles, chatting with local kids about recent developments in the World Wrestling Federation, stargazing on the beach, and the dynamic duo of Jimmy and Mr. Low, the owners of our Chinatown hotel in Penang. These guys loved the Doobie Brothers more than anyone I’ve ever met.

Me: That’s the Doobie Brothers on your radio.

Mr. Low: Doobie Brothers! How you know?!

I’m the number one fan.

Mr. Low: You like China Grove?!

Oh yeah.

Mr. Low:
It Keep You Running, best song!
Jimmy: (singing) Eee keep you run-eh, oooooooooooh, oo oo oo.
Mr. Low: Ha ha ha! No good!


  1. Erin says:

    Hmmm….It is a good song. I don’t know about their best…I guess I’m partial to anyone who lets me know that “Jesus is just alright…”

  2. furey says:

    giant sea turtles? that must be a sight….love that pic.

  3. furey says:

    you two feel any tremors from that earthquake?

  4. S says:

    No tremors from the earthquake, but I’m prety sure all the garlic rice I’m eating in Manila is going to repeat on me.