On our last night with the 4 of us we had a really nice meal on a rooftop restaurant, we were all still pretty knackered but made the most of our last night together. We knew the next day was going to be a long one, becca and michael were travelling to bangkok for flights home and we had to somehow make it to malaysia. Underestimated just how long and horrible this day was going to be. Started with michael being charged
30 quid for repairs of the owners car- he never quite fully mastered control of his moped and this resulted in him driving it into the back of a car. he thought he had got away without having to pay for the damage but apparently not. Our drive to the ferry got off to a good start when our driver took both hands off the wheel to roll a joint, not the most reassuring. When we got to the ferry we had to say our dreaded goodbyes, needless to say both hannah and laura shed quite a few tears. even now we still feel like we've constantly got someone missing and we cant get used to not having becca about.
luckily the ferry journey was considerably better than the one to koh phangan, just as well or us 2 might actually have broken down. we also realised at this point that we didnt have any idea what we were going to do for the next week in malaysia so the next 2 hours were spent with our 2005 guidebook (someones castoff we picked up in a hostel) pointing to places on the map saying ooh this looks nice, doesnt look too far out of the way etc. with a sort of plan we arrived in surat thani (hate that bloody place) and trekked round about 20 different tourist offices in the pouring rain to try to find a bus to penang, an island just over the border from thailand. it seemed that this was too much to ask and we were told we would have to sleep in surat thani or hat yai and then get a bus the next morning. all the guide book has to offer on the subject of hat yai is that all the hotels are ran by prostitutes- fantastic. staying in surat thani would have wasted a whole day travelling and by this point we just wanted to get out of there so hat yai it was. we were told there was a minibus leaving in 2 minutes time to take us to hat yai in the morning so we were bundled in. We refused to go without a ticket and only by kicking
up a, pretty dramatic, fuss did we get thrust a 'ticket'- a flimsy bit of paper with what looked like scribble on it. 5 hours later, after a stop in a service station with 2 thai ladies at opposite ends screaming into a microphone for no reason that was apparent to us, we arrived in hat yai.
We didnt think it possible but it went even further downhill from here. the minibus driver spoke no english and when we tried to ask him where we should get our transfer from in the morning he didnt seem to have a clue what our flimsy bit of paper was all about and just dropped us at a hostel that was fully booked. We met 2 scouse girls who were in the same position, also clutching their stupid bit of yellow paper, and together we hassled the driver into taking us to another hotel.it was 10 oclock by this point and we knew we couldnt sort it out till the morning so we decided to cheer ourselves up by going for something to eat (we'd eaten nothing but crisps all day). this ended horribly when the group of drunken thai men at the next table decided now was a good time to start loud out of tune karaoke. we decided that we would have to laugh or else we were going to cry and headed back to our room to crash out. of course even this didnt go according to plan
as laura picked her bag up and a huge cockroach emerged and started climbing along the side of the bed. we went down to complain at reception and found a 2 year old boy in his pyjamas had taken up the roll as receptionist. he just stood there looking expectantly at us.
when we finally managed to find a fully grown bellboy to kill the cockroach he couldnt find it, shrugged his shoulders and walked out. needless to say we had a pretty sleepness night cocooned in our sleeping bag liners, boiling to death, waking up every half an hour convinced there were cockroaches crawling all over us.
We woke up determined not to have to pay again for the bus to penang and asked at the tourist office next to the hotel. after about 10 people inspecting our 'ticket' they managed to decifer the name of the tourist office where we could get the bus from. never been so relieved as when we were sat on that bus heading to penang. laura survived this whole experience with a full on cold and about 10 hours sleep in 3 nights. definately character building if nothing else. we were very proud that neither of us broke down after our day from hell, think we can take on pretty much anything after that.
Made it to Georgetown in Penang which neither of us had even heard of until 2 days before. realy glad came here though, we just spent the next day and a half exploring the city which was really cosmopolitan coz malaysia is made up of a mix of people from all over asia. had the best curry we've had since being in India- we miss proper Indian food so much. our hostel was a bit of a dump again and our 'room' was just plaster boards dividing up a corridor. the owner was definately a character who slept most of the day and spent the rest of his time shouting at people. we were promised breakfast and a hot shower included in the price. breakfast was in fact a sachet of horribly sugary coffee but
the shower was good and laura was happy coz there was a kettle she could use to boil water for her christmas cup- a- soups (thanks mum). we kept being reminded of becca, there was a gorgeous kitten in our hostel which she would have fallen in love with and an amazing bakery (we have a habit of scouting these out) which we think we would have spent most of our time in if becca was there.
After the craziness of the last week we fancied a couple of days lying in the sun on a quiet beach and that is definately what we got in pangkor where we spent the next 2 days. Absolutely beautiful island- we found a little cove which was basically deserted complete with turquoise sea, white sand and palm trees. The sun FINALLY came out. Got a bit over excited by this and by the end of the first day we were both pretty burnt. from our beach we could see another one behind some rocks which was completely deserted and, us being us, we decided we had to get to it. this involved a treturous scramble over the rocks and through a bit of jungle. people here are lovely and seem to want to look after us, we had already had one guy insist on paying for our taxi when we first got to pangkor and then an old bloke insisted on guiding us to our hidden beach. as much as we loved pangkor and had been hoping for some peace and quiet after koh phangan, it went from one extreme to another and the town where we were staying did not have one bar, not really our cup of tea. theres only so many nights u can spend reading in a hammock. also discovered that pangkor is romantic destination number 1 in malaysia and we were the only 2 not in a smug couple. this got slightly tedious so we took our minds off it by purchasing a vollyball and disturbing the romantic atmosphere- HA!
Now in Kuala Lumpur where Laura had been looking forward to for ages since it came highly reccomended by tracy and andy. didnt disappoint and we're loving it here. when we arrived yesterday we decided to explore on foot and stupidly didnt take a map. this resulted in an hour long walk along the moterway in the wrong direction. we did however end up at a tourist office and they kindly gave us a map so we could find our way back to medaka square, the sight of malaysian indepence. both decided that the state of our hair has got beyond a joke now (hannah hadnt had hers cut since august) so we decided to splash out and get haircuts in the swanky Peter and Guys- Toni's brother perhaps? felt much better emerging with our nicely straightened hair and decided to go out and celebrate. chinatown, where we are staying, has a really good atmosphere and after 2 days spent reading on a night the nightlife here was greatly appreciated. went to a reggae bar for a couple of drinks and ended up being chatted up by the owner, must be the new hair, who whisked us off to four seasons club. this was amazing, all the rooms
were themed with the seasons. our particular favourite was winter where u were given a coat to go into what was essentially an icebox. they even put on fake snow so we can now sympathise with u lot freezing to death in england. really enjoyed the night, malaysian dance moves are pretty hilarios.
Woke up this morning after about 3 hours of disturbed sleep (thanks to the heavy snoring of our dorm mate- god help our future husbands if they snore, we were both ready to knock him out) with a busy day planned. went to the petronas twin towers which was the highest building in the world until 2003- just a little fact for you. this is 272 times taller than laura and 281 times taller than hannah they calculated for us- just incase anyone cares. the shopping centre here was another reminder of becca, she would have been completely in her element. lined with designer shops on 6 floors. although we knew we didnt really fit in, one pair of shoes costing the same as our budget for the year, we
decided we would at least try to browse. quickly realised this was maybe not such a good idea when we tried to confidently strut into chanel, looking like we belonged but ended up not being able to open the door which we think might actually have been the window. made complete fools of ourselves, becca would have been mortified.
spent a good few hours looking at shop after shop trying not to be too depressed that we couldnt afford anything then went to the sky bridge on floor 41 (of 88) to see the stunning views over the city then walked round the park. would have liked an extra couple of days in kuala lumpur theres loads to do but we have a flight to catch and a becca to be reunited with (cant wait!). bus booked for tomorrow to get us to singapore so next time you hear from us we will be in bali :-).
love to everyone, keep in touch xxx