Experiencing Malaysia

24th January 2009

So we left Bali on Thursday. Our flight with AsiaAir was 3 hours long and really good. But we arrived in Malaysia at night, and the bus to the center of Kuala Lumpur was an hour. Then we hopped on the monorail thingy to near our hostel. We arrived really dehydrated!Β 

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After some much needed water we spent hours wandering through China Town. You can buy anything you want – fake and cheap!! We got some lovely chinese food for peanuts and went to bed. Our very uncomfortable bed! The “Westover Lodge” was a little bit on the rough side. Ideal for back packers but we were glad we’d only booked one night!

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Yesterday we had to move out of our little hostel. We looked for another hotel but they were either booked up or really pricey because of the chinese New Year this weekend. So we found one in downtown Kuala Lumpur, the Tune hotel for 20 quid a night. It was like luxury! Compared to the hostel the night before. The shower was a dream, the bed was soooo comfortable. And the curtains were blackouts, so at 9.30 this morning when we finally got up, we felt like we’d had a proper sleep for a change! We saw the Petronas towers last night, they were so cool looking at night, like 2 big diamonds!

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Today we unfortunately have to leave the Tune Hotel, but we managed to find “D’oriental” so we’re going to find that after some brekky – and a brew in Starbucks! REAL milky brew!!!!!!!!

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26th January 2009

We have loved KL so far. It’s brilliant. There’s only 1 part we haven’t liked, and that’s the attitude and the stupidness of the staff at “D’oriental” where we spent the last 2 nights. In a nut shell you didn’t get what was advertised, booked and paid for. Including breakfast! The daytime however has been a completely different story! Amazing…

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It all started as we found the KLCC. Shopping heaven. Neither of us are overly keen spending the entire day shopping, but this was different! The KLCC is huge. Thre are about 14 floors and the floors are larger than the trafford center. You can buy anything! There were about 100 different places to eat, maybe more. We spent a bit of time chilling in starbucks again with toasted banana and chocolate muffins, and wandered about the whole day. We were going to see a film (all in english) but there wasn’t anything that interested us. I can’t believe we didn’t lose interest – there was just so much to see and do in there. Another bonus is that the whole thing is air conditioned so you can escape the heat of the day. That was Saturday day.

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Saturday night was pretty good too. We managed to get ourselves very drunk in a posh (expensive) bar over the road from the beach club. We didn’t go in the beach club because they wanted 7 quid entry each. It was just a simple normal bar. And the beer was about 6 pound a pint as well, so we thought NAH. Over the road we got in before 10 so for free, and stayed until the early hours, dancing away! Legless…

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Yesterday we fell upon another shopping mall – 2 actually. The first we found was “Low yat” with 10 floors of nothing but electrical gear. Any computer geeks idea of paradise. We ended up buying a laptop. Couldn’t resist. We figured all the money we spend in internet cafe’s will make up for the purchase πŸ˜‰ You can get free wifi all ver the place. Over the road was another mall – a bit like the KLCC we found the previous day and probably just as big. This one had a 50 lane bowling alley in it which we had a go in, and a rollercoaster. It’s a bit strange when you’re not expecting a rollercoasted to go screaming past you overhead!

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This morning we had another do at “D’Orienal” idiots when they tried to tell me I hadn’t paid for the previous 2 nights. Soon cleared that up and headed back to the lovely Tune hotel in a much better part of town. Same price, 10 times better! Also we can get all our clothes washed and dried for a quid – D’oriental wanted a quid for each item and we had about 30. ARGH!

All in all – we’re having a fantastic time. Neither of us are even considering where to go next we like it that much. maybe we’ll only be able to stay for the 4 days we have here at the Tune Hotel and then we’ll have to move on. We definately want to visit the water park – Sunway lagoon I think it’s called. They have a hot spring which opens up at night too. So we’re planning to spend a whole day there.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUEANNE!!!!!! Sorry that we didnt get to speak to you!! I callled your house 3 or 4 times and just got your machine.. Hope all you three are doing fine though? Hows Lowan?? Me and jem are having a wicked time though so dont worry about us and will speak soon xx

29th January 2009

Hi everyone it’s Jemma. Me and Taz are trying to find somewhere new in malaysia to travel to tomorrow. Somewhere nice and cheap to make up for over a week of very decent hotels and endless trips to starbucks πŸ™‚ We’re looking at the cameron Highlands, a little cooler, cheaper and much greener! Lots of jungle trekking and waterfall trails to be done. We found a ten quid hotel called “fathers hotel” or something like that. Very popular with backpackers apparently so we have booked 2 nights. Still waiting to hear back from the hotel though because they don’t have instant confimation. Hopefully they’re not full.

The last few days have been blissfully lazy. We keep getting up at after 11am and yesterday we spent the afternoon in a great big outdoor pool and then went up the petronas towers that night. The pool was lovely and warm, they don’t have to heat them over here it was roasting as usual. The weird thing was a bunch of women came in with the families in head to toe muslim gear. That must be so annoying to have to keep it on!

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Today we spent the day in the gym in the majul tower over the road. It was 6 quid but we spent hours in there just to escape the heat of the day. A really good gym and a great sauna and steam. Again though – the womens sauna and steam were seperate from the guys because most people are muslims here. Weird customs. I’ll be paying for the gym visit tomorrow when I try and get my backpack on. One thing I will miss about the city is the lack of mozzies – we havn’t been bitten once in about 8 days so we have no random red lumps all over us which is nice.

There’s some serious rain going on right now so we’re debating whether to call the McDonalds free 24 hour delivery service for tea πŸ˜‰ There’s no mcDonalds in the jungle we’ll be sleeping in tomorrow night…

Also – Congrats to Rick and Katy who have just found out that baby number 2 is a boy!

30th January 2009

We reluctantly checked out of the brilliant Tune hotel in KL this morning at 10am. We forced ourselves to get up at half 9. As we weren’t getting the bus until the afternoon we stopped by the sogo mall round the corner for all the essentials. Back at the hotel collecting our bags, we got chatting to a young couple from the isle of man in the reception area who are on a round the world tour. They just flew out 2 weeks ago to Singapore but they’ve traveled before and they were a good source of information. The annoying thing was that as they knew they’d be in KL on these dates, they booked the hotel in advance and only paid half what we paid. Which would have made it more affordable for us to stay a bit longer. Never mind.

Buying a ticket at Puduraya Bus station wasn’t a problem. We were 45 minutes early for the 1.30pm bus. Finding the bus was a big issue! In the heat of the day theΒ busesΒ line up outside and inside the bus terminal and there were literally hundreds! We got on the ricketty looking bus just in time. Or so we thought – it didn’t leave til 2pm. Typical. The journey was interesting. It was that bouncy that youΒ couldn’tΒ read or playΒ Sudoku!

On arrival, about 4 and a half hours later the guy from the guesthouse was exactly where he said he’d be. He whisked us straight up to the place. By this time the air was so cool. It was like England on a rare warm summers night. So lovely. The guest house is amazing. It’s filled with back packers and everyone’s really friendly. The room’s nice and big and has everything we need. Much cleaner and nicer than we expected. It’s 13 quid on the weekends, 9 quid week days. The wifi is only 1 pound for your entire stay and they rent movies for 1 pound that you can play in the movie room. They even have sex and the city the movie – which Taz says I am definately not allowed to rent. Yeah right πŸ˜‰ We can’t recommend the guesthouse enough though so if anyone’s planning on a visit to Malaysia’s highlands check it out. Fantastic value for money. http://www.fathers.cameronhighlands.com

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We headed out for food. A bag of monkey nuts all day isn’t enough to keep you going! We found the “travellers bistro” just down the hill. We got a coffee and a lovely cup of tea and ordered some food which to be honest wasn’t brill but it was cheap. The beer was relatively cheap for malaysia, 2 pound for a tiger beer, so we had a few. At the bar we got chatting to a British guy from Shrewsbury on a round the world ticket that had just reached Malaysia from Thailand. He’s a rock climber too, yey!! He showed us lots of photo’s on his camera of a place to climb over the sea in Krabi, Thailand. You climb until your hands can’t take anymore and then you let go and fall into the warm crystal clear sea. Ace! He rented a hut in Krabi on the beach for 6 quid. He stayed the entire 16 days he was in Thailand and said he found it was really hard to leave. He said it was the best view he could have asked for when he woke up – he’d open his hut door and there was the sand and the sea… sounds good to us. Brilliant to hear of some climbing places, because we haven’t even unpacked our climbing shoes in the 5 weeks we’ve been in Asia which is a shame. So we know where w’re going soon!! The best bit is we can stay as long as we want, because we didn’t buy a round the world ticket. We love the freedom of travelling on a whim and to where we’ve heard from other travellers that it’s good. I think Thailand will be amazing. Before we knew it, it was 11pm.

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So tonight after tea and beers we came back to fathers guesthouse and we’re chilling out in our cool little room. We haven’t even got the fan on it’s that cool. After our journey we’re looking forward to a relaxing few days here. The whole atmosphere’s so different and we keep saying “god we love it here” and we haven’t been here a day yet. We’re hoping to do a trip to the caves the day after tomorrow. It’s a 2 hour bus journey and you spend the day there and get dinner. Sounds brill. I think there’s white water rafting too, yey!!

So bye for now – and all you non-travelers out there don’t know what you’re missing πŸ˜‰ Today has been a really great day.

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31st January 2009

Today has been one of those days where you can’t help saying to yourself – god we love travelling! This morning was fine fine example. We woke up around half 10 and went down for brekkie at 11. It was good – a nice hot brew that was steaming away outside in the cool mountain air, and bacon, eggs, beans and toast. Everyone was friendly and chatting and talking about the trails they were heading out on that afternoon.

Taking advice from a guide in the office, we headed out at about 12.30 staright onto a jungle trail. We took loads of pictures. The whole thing was really hard work but it was so interesting. We walked up to the peak of a mountain and it rained all the way back down, serious monsoon style! It was great! The round trip took about 4 hours and by the time we landed back in Tanah Rata we were starving and incredibly wet. At one point we were a bit worried because we took a couple of guesses at forks and junctions and we couldn’t help thining ahhhhhhhh what if it goes dark and we’re still looking for the road!! I think our walking shoes will need a few days to dry out anyway. It was just a brill trek. The air was so fresh. Compared to everything we’ve done so far, villages, towns, cities, beaches, islands – the jungle has been the most amazing experience.

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Back at fathers guesthouse we got a much appreciated warm shower. Mum and Laura, and Taz’s dad saw us on the webcam tucked up in our sleeping bags being lazy in the late afternoon, ha ha.

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Down in the lounge the BBC world news was on so we chilled out with a nice hot brew and caught up on what’s going on. It’s always nice to catch a bit of BBC every now and then. The plan was to head out for food at about 8 but someone rented “What women want” so I was glued to the TV until it was over. In fact, there were about 20 other knackered travellers curled up on the sofas watching it too! So cosy. But poor Taz. He was starving and so bored by the time 10pm rolled round. We got a lovely Indian in the village, again our tea only cost us about 6 pounds including a lovely milky hot chocolate for me and freshly squeezed fruit juice for Taz. I can never eat all the food, no matter how hard I try!

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It’s getting late now. Taz is already flat out asleep. We’ll probably be sore tomorrow. He he. We are planning on going to some farms in the morning that have been set up for tourists. Apparently you can go strawberry picking or something, mmmmm. God, we love travelling.
Ta ta for now! Jemma and (asleep) Taz x

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Monday 2nd February 2009

Good evening world Taz here for a change, Jemmas lost her typing fingers so I’ve taken over the reins………

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Anyway day 36 and today we been visiting strawberry hydoponic farms. One in particular called Big reds, had a bit of a nightmare just getting there as the was told that the bus left the bus station at 1.30pm, ok so we arrived back for 1.10pm to be told that the bus had already left, even know there was a massive sign with times of when they do leave and it clearly said 1.30pm. So after we missed our very cheap 20pence/1rm bus journey we had to get a frickin taxi, fortunatly I negotiated a very reasonable Β£1.60/8rm taxi up to the farm instead. Upon arival we jumped out of the taxi only for jemma to of left her camera on the back seat but lucky for jem he was a nice man and he blasted his horn and gave it us back…This place as well as selling and growing ridiculous amounts of strawberrys it also grew 5 different types of lettuce and mahousive cacti!!

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Managed to get some real good pics. The only downsite was that the strawberrys where quite expensive for very few and half of the strawberry products that they sold were made in Bangkok… All in all it was ok, glad it was free tho or we would of been disapointed.

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We set off back down the mountain road to our advantage we swindled a free cab ride back down to town…. Score. By this time it was 6pm ish and in the guest house (fathers) in the tv room, they was playing some new films but we didnt get chance to watch them as their was no seats…. Comfy ones anyway.. So we got showered and went out to the local towns Indian restaurant purely because we’ve got sort of sick of eating tandori chicken, even know its cooked in clay ovens and its most delicious, you do get sick of it. Now this little place, didnt quite catch the name of it but I had the best veg currie I can remember eating, had roti(Bread) with it to and popadoms too…. All washed down with a coffee… And the best part about for all the food I ate and for Jemmas to it only cost 2quid!!!!!!!! The best 2quid indian I ever eaten…..Good and god bless the full tummy…

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Friday 6th February 2009

Hello it’s Jemma πŸ™‚

A couple of days ago we left the cool highlands for the super hot beach…

We have spent the last couple of nights in a tourist resort called Batu Feringgi. Getting here was a fun but epic 6 hour journey. We ended up getting a little bit lost, and arrived via 3 buses and a taxi when we could have just got 1 direct bus… Anyway now we’re here we really like it! We found a room with aircon on the outskirts of the resort and explored the place. We found a nice guesthouse to move into the next night, right on the beach. Baba’s. Free wifi again, yey! We had a couple of beers at a beachside bar and the sunset was perfect πŸ˜‰

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Yesterday was an amazing day. We moved guesthouses and had brekkie at a beachside cafe. We took some beach mats and sat on the beach in the blazing heat. The best bit was that the beach wasn’t very busy, we were one of about 6 sunbathers the whole day. The seas brilliant and so warm. I was a little shocked at first by the sucker fish because I didn’t know what the hell was having a go at my legs, but once Taz told me they were actually quite cute, sucking on your feet and stuff! We sat about, ate and swam all day until about an hour before the sun completely disappeared. I’ve never really liked sitting on a beach all day but this was peaceful (apart from the odd jet ski flying past) and we just chilled the whole day.

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At around 7 we went for a run up the beach. It was still really warm so the sweat was poring but it was very rewarding. By the time we reached the end of the bay on the beach the sun had set. We ran back along the road after a breather on the rocks. Running on the concrete was a walk in the park compared to the soft sand!! Carole – you’d love it!!

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For the last couple of nights I’ve had really good teas – the night before last night Taz got some noddles and oysters and I had the best chicken corma ever. Last night I got grilled fish, Taz got rice and prawns. The meals are max 2-3 quid each. There are so many people eating at these places, locals and tourists. There’s a horseshoe of around 10 different food stalls and a cluster of tables in the middle, so you can wander round and decide what you want. There’s everything – Indian, Thai, seafood, western. Western’s always the worst looking and in my experience worst tasting. If you want western food that’s good, eat it in the west! The local food is definately better. I’m always really full!

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Today we went into Georgetown to get Taz a new book – he’s on a reading frenzy! He’s gone out for a run now again. Hes’ on a mission! We’re both looking forward to another night watching the sunset eating more yummy salted corn on the cob. Mmmmmmmmm…….. wish you were here?

Monday 9th February 2009

Hey everyone it’s Jemma! I think we may have been the hottest we’ve ever been these last few days. Here in Batu Feringgi between the hours of 11 and 6 it’s just way too hot. My bottle of water feels kettle warm and you just can’t shower enough. It’s blissful but irritating at the same time! I wouldn’t change a thing apart from the heat, if we could I think we’d turn it down just a notch. Batu Feringgi’s great and I can see why lots and lots of travelers come here. The beach is nice, it’s very very sunny for the sunbathers and there are some incredibly cheap brilliant food. Just the simplest 80p rice dishes are great.

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So this morning after breakfast and a trip to the chemist for antihistamine tablets, anti-itch cream and pain killers I sat inside and chilled. The woman chemist was shocked at the sight of me and waved the guy chemist over to check my legs out. He felt sorry for me, told me it was the worst mosquito damage he’d ever seen in his life and gave me a freebie to try and help me! Bless ’em. I thought the woman was going to try and hug me or sumat! They also told us to watch out because apparently dengue fever has been kicking around the area recently. Mum, you were right, antihistamine was the first thing they handed me πŸ™‚

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I’m back at the room and Taz is on the beach entertaining himself. All drugged up and away from the burning sun my legs have calmed down and all is good πŸ™‚ Looking forward to being able to roam around when the bites have stopped itching profusely. I’ve found that sunlight, heat and sweat is just the worst thing to annoy them. Practically burning them under a very hot shower has seemed a little effective against the itching but nothing has worked as well as the strong cream the chemist gave me this morning… just in case you ever get eaten alive in Malaysia.

On a positive note we had a brilliant time last night, treating ourselves to a nice juicy steak each in a restaurant called the ship because we realised my credit card was 17 quid in credit for some reason πŸ˜‰ Not many places accept cards for food so it was nice to sit in the air-con while “sailors” served us the nicest food. The credit didn’t quite cover it, but you only live once!! It was nice to go out (with long trousers on of course) after being sat in the shade inside all day.

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Roll on sunset!! bring me some lovely shade!! I’d love nothing more than a jog as the sun’s setting but that’ll have to wait until I can fit my feet in my trainers again…

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Ooh and just in case anybody’s curious about the Tsunami damage here, it managed to kill over 50 people on this island (Penang) and destroy hundreds of homes. I googled it. 22 people died here in the resort of Batu Feringgi, most were Malays. In my opinion they have recovered really well. You’d never know.

WednesdayΒ 11th February 2009

This morning we got up at 5.30am and checked out of Baba’s early. After a bus, a ferry, a bus and another ferry we arrived at the island of Pangkor… where we got a taxi to the Suria beach resort. The place is quite nice. We spent the heat for the day chilling out because our room has air-con and a TV with movie channels AND hot water. Bliss!

This afternoon when we managed to pull ourselves away from our “fridge” of a room as went for a walk down the beach. Locals were cleaning it all up which is nice to see. The beach is really nice and the sea’s clear. There are even nicer beaches up the island which we’ll walk to tomorrow. We bumped into some people who were staying at Baba’s while we were there, they’re from Finland and left Penang a couple of days before us. Small world.

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But bye for now – we’re back in our room after a nice fish tea and we’re watching a film with a milo (hot choc stuff) πŸ™‚

Saturday 14th February 2009

Happy valentines day everybody! It’s Jemma here. We have a little room party going on right now with our Finnish friend Sammi. This involves coca cola and a big bottle of Thai song. Which is now nearly empty πŸ˜‰ We’re moving onto the beach soon after another hunt for alcohol… Not so easy in a little muslim beach town. We hear there’s only one place…

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Today has been very relaxing. We spent the morning on the beach, bobbing around in the sea which takes about 30 seconds to get to from the hotel. I’ve never been a big lover of deep water but the sea here has changed my mind. Apart from the odd prickly jelly fish (SCARY!) the water is amazing. Last night we went swimming at about 5 o’clock and didn’t get out until around 9pm when we got a quick shower before getting food. There’s quite a few people in the water around sunset and the atmosphere’s so nice and relaxing. I’ve learned a few things and let go of a few inhibitions – I’m much better at climbing a rope (ME!!)and climbing trees than I would have thought – see facebook videos for tree climbing evidence, he he. I feel like a tomboy for the very first time! I’m better than the little weak Chinese men in their Lycra shorts! Good practice for the rock climbing in Thailand. This is probably my favorite place so far. And today has definitely been the best valentines day. Who’d want to be anywhere else?!

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We have been debating where to go next. Yesterday we booked a flight to Bangkok for the 21st February (Emily’s Birthday). We booked 3 nights at the “New road guest house” or something like that, and our plan is to make our way down the coast of Thailand. We are going to try and extend our 30 day visa at the embassy first though in Bangkok. Apparently you can get 90 days if you show up and ask. We’ll try our luck. This is because I think once we get to Krabi and get on the rocks we won’t want to leave Thailand within the 30 days.

We’ll possibly stay here until the 20th and spend a night in Kuala Lumpur again the night before our flight to Thailand. This little island is so much more fun than the last one, Penang. I think it has a lot to do with our room. Same price (ten quid) but the air con has made an unbelievable difference. You can relax during the day, whereas in Penang when the heat of the day set in there was absolutely no escape. You couldn’t even sit in restaurant to cool down, because they were all open air. The only thing you could do was shower every time you reheated!

I’m glad that our experiences have inspired a few other friends to take the plunge – even my little brother is planning to visit Thailand after his GCSE’s to join us for some of the best rock climbing available in the world. And I hope so much that Sarah comes to South East Asia while we’re still here on her way to Australia for the summer. And Sarah – you know me, we’ll defo’ be going to see Juan in in New York next Christmas now you’ve mentioned it πŸ™‚ I want to go there the summer 2010 after graduation. We could do work America again if you fancy?! And visit the ranch on vacation πŸ˜‰
Thank you for the valentines present little sis. x x Well I’ll love you and leave you. We’re having the time of our lives πŸ™‚ Take care and happy valentines day.

Sunday 15th February 2009

I’m sure if Taz has written this update it’d be called “Uno Champion” and not “uno Cheater” ha ha. At around 3pm we went for our usual swim in the sea. I impressed the local boy kids with my rope climbing. Still can’t believe I can do it. They can’t! Some of them don’t even attempt. Big girls blouses.

At 7 we went for a run, probably 3 miles, just to the top of the island and back. Very nice warm run. But hilly. Sammie knocked on our door at about 8 to remind us about the drinking going on next door. We waited until the end of “The apocalypse” film before venturing our for tea at 10, and then to Sammie’s at about 11. For tea we got typical cheap Malaysia food. I got rice, Taz got noodle. The noddles Taz gave me to try I ended up shoveling to the very skinny, very pregnant cat purring at my feet. There must have been at least 5 or 6 little kittens in that belly!!

There were 5 Finnish versus 2 English in the Uno game. If Taz hasn’t cheated I think England may have won. He had to help me with the first few rounds because I didn’t know the rules. I repaid him by making him jump out of his skin with a big “BOOOOOOOOOOOO” on our way back. Ha ha. Apparently if we take the trans-siberian railway home, we’re more than welcome to stop off in Finland on our way for a couple of weeks. We’ll bear that in mind… Hmmmmmm…

Today has been excellent. Tomorrow will be a hangover! The day after is Helli’s (our boy Finnish mates girls) birthday. Her friends have hired a beach bar and ordered a cake. We’ll be there!! Any mention of cake πŸ˜‰ I thought she was younger than me, maybe 20. She’s actually 30 in a few days!! Sammie is a toy boy. She’s a whole 7 years older than me!
God bless Malaysia!!!!!!!!!!

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Saturday 21st February 2009

Well its an early start for us today, to make sure we catch the 8:15 ferry from Pangkor back to the mainland. (Malaysia) We met our friends from Finland to travel back to Kuala Lumpur with them. Always fun in a group.

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After we arrived back at the port of Lumut, we had our last Malaysian breakfast of egg roti and rice which was delicious as usual. After our hearty breakie we boarded our coach to KL which would take 4hrs. As the driver set off at 10am he managed to collide with a parked bus and scraped all one side of our bus so that set us back half an hour. Finally we arrived in KL for which a lot of the journey Jemma managed to sleep for. Nothing new there. Said our good byes and farewell to Sami and Heli as they were staying in KL for a few days to catch up on decent western treats which is something that I never thought we would ever crave, but after weeks of rice and peas and noodles etc you cant wait for pizza or something. Headed to the airport on the sky train and then a bus. Finally we arrived at 5pm ish only to have weight issues when we was checking in, to be honest it was 1.8kg overall between us so we had to go away and take stuff out then take them back to put them through. The last thing you want when you have been on the go all day and we were sweaty and just wanted a shower. Couple of hours to kill then we finally boarded and was on our way to Thailand.

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