Our last stop in Malaysia before heading up through Thailand was Kota Bharu. To get there we took the jungle railway which wasn't quite the expierience we were hoping for. I was invisaging a clapped out, perhaps windowless shell, crammed with locals and a few featherless chickens perhaps. Instead it was pretty mich like one of the ttrains back home (well not the Hertford - London line) what i'm trying to say is, this train was nice. Too nice. Yes we were cutting through the jungle, but we were so enclosed that we didnt feel part of it.
We had the wierdest time in Kota Bharu. It was like being in the twighlight Zone. Everything we needed? appeared magically infront of us, in fact more than we hoped for. Then all day we were treated like film stars. It was as if we were the only westerners they'd ever seen. All the kids were excitedly shouting hello at us and waving frantically . The adults too, wanting to know where we were from, talking to us about football and going completely out of their way to help us.
The most outstanding incident was when we took the bus to a kite making centre out of tomn. Tom and I just jumped on this bus, not really knowing where we were going, but thinking we'd be able to spot it and not accounting for the driver not understanding a word of English and the bus being packed like sardines so we couldn't even see a window let alone out of it. We got to the end of the route so thought we'd better get off. We went to a holiday park to get help. Instantly they were rushing around. There were about 5 members of staff drawing maps and pointing to where we had to go. Turned out we'd completely overshot and we needed to get the bus back. We set out on foot until one came along.
After only a few minutes a car pulled up. "You go to kite centre?' Tom and I must have looked so puzzled and both asked him how on earth he knew. Turned out that was the only English he knew, so we though better of getting into a car witha stranger. But as we stepped back, a moped pulled up. It was the guy from the holiday park. The guy in the car was his friend and he would give us a lift!! Unbelievable. We got in the car thinking he must have been heading this way anyway, but he dropped us out then turned around. What an extraordinary level of kindness and this was not uncommon of the Malayian people who we've become extremely fond of.
That night I locked Tom in our room for 2 hours whilst I was on the internet. The stupid door had a bolt on the outside. I must have done it by instinct. I wondered where he was, but thought he must have fallen asleep. OOOPS!!