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New Years Eve, Asian Style

Friday, January 18th, 2008


We got really lucky on New Year’s Eve-we found out that the hostel where we were staying was on the very street that they would be closed off for all the New Year’s festivities. They said it was kind of like a mini Times Square with everyone packing into the street to do the big countdown to midnight. So that evening, we put on our finest clothes (that means Christy wore her one skirt and I wore my one button down shirt, yes we are getting very tired of wearing the same clothes for the past 5 months) and headed out for the fun. We had dinner overlooking the main square where people were packing in and they had a great Malaysian band playing. After dinner we headed down and got right in the thick of the crowd. We seemed to be the only white people in the whole area but people treated us great. Everyone had canisters of shaving cream and silly string they were spraying at each other. The teenagers went wild with the stuff and would just cover any one passing by in the stuff. It was so neat because Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, so almost no one was drinking alcohol, which helped keep things under control. I decided that we needed to join in on the fun and bought some cans of shaving cream. When I came back Christy said “This may be another very dumb thing that you have done” I didn’t quite understand what she meant until I looked around and saw everyone around us staring at us.  They somehow knew I had a couple of spray cans and they were armed with theirs in case of retaliation. The deal was, if you didn’t have a spray bottle you were almost safe, but if you did, you were a target for anyone else to unleash their spray on you. And what a great way to start off the New Year than to completely annihilate two whities from America. As soon as I figured it all out (ok, I’m the slower one in this relationship) it was too late and we were being blasted from all sides by this shaving cream goo. We tried to fight back but it was no use, there were too many of them and not enough of us. After they emptied there bottles on us, they all said “HAPPY NEW YEAR.”  Another classic moment, seeing Christy standing there with white foam all over her saying “see you bozo, i told you.”

After a few beers and listening to a great band we decided it was time to do what we did best, go eat more food.  So at 1 am we went to just grab a quick bite at one of the  infamous hawker stands. Before we knew it, we had ordered a whole meal as big as our first dinner. So we started the new year off great by eating 2 dinners in one night, which probably means we will spend 2008 overweight. It was definitely a New Years Eve we won’t forget.

A reverse culture shock, arriving in Malaysia

Friday, January 18th, 2008


We werent even planning on going to Malaysia until we decided we had seen enough of Africa and called our travel agency to change the date of our flight out of Africa.  We then  found out every flight to Bangkok was booked, so our only alternative was to fly somewhere else. The travel agent said he could get us to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia so we said, “sounds good, lets go” We quickly read up on Malaysia and were excited about the new country on our itinerary. When we arrived at the airport we were blown away by how nice everything was. Mind you, we had just spent two months in Africa, so a paved road seems pretty damn extravagant to us at this point. There was a monorail from the airport that jetted us off to the city centre and before we knew it we were at our hotel surrounded by huge skyscrapers. After traveling for 28 hours all we wanted was a bed and we were out before midnight. The next morning we woke up and Christy looked at her watch and almost freaked out. It was almost noon. We had slept for almost 12 hours! I guess we were pretty tired.

We read in the books that the food in Malaysia is some of the best in the world so we went straight to it and started what would be a 4 day eating binge in Kuala Lumpur. I am not joking, the food alone is worth going to Malaysia! They have what they call Hawker stands all over the city. These are basically little carts and each one specializes in a certain type of food or drink. One cart might have springrolls, the other cart has noodles, the next has freshly squeezed juices and so on. The stands will be lined up for a whole block and we would just walk, see something that looked good, eat it and continue on. It also doesn’t hurt that its sooo cheap. Most things cost between a quarter and fifty cents so you could eat all day for about 5-8 dollars a person. There were areas where it was mostly Indian dishes and then you would go to another area where there was Chinese and dim sum, a few blocks later you would be eating Thai food, and then some areas were just a crazy mixture of everything. If you like great food, and you like a good deal, you need to go to Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpu isn’t all about the food though.  There are great places to shop with one of the biggest outdoor Chinese markets in the country, tons of cute coffee and tea shops, the Patronas towers (not sure if I spelled that right), walking trails, butterfly farms, temples, etc.  The city was a definite highlight on our trip and to think we almost missed it!