So I finally moved out of Myanmar too. I stayed a little less than a month but it felt longer. And not because I didn’t like it but rather the opposite. Myanmar felt good, I made a home for a little while in Yangon and I was really having a good time. People are nice, food is good and cheap. The land of men in skirt (it’s actually called longyi) where men (them again!) chew all day long betel nut and get their teeth burned out by limestone (an utterly disgusting habit), where blood red spit is everywhere, where they drive on the right and the steering wheel is on the right also (second hand cars from Japan) made me feel welcome. Not a single moment of insecurity, not a moment where I felt I was in danger. But as we know all good things come to an end and it was time for me to move on. I was on the stage where it’s either you settle down and find a job, or you leave. And I left.
To close my adventure with a bit of a heartbeat I realized when I was half way to the airport that I left my passport back at the hostel where I spent my last night. Luckily I left well in advance so I had the time to make a U turn, go back to the hostel and make it to the airport to catch my flight. But jeez my heart raced!!!!
So now in Dhaka Bangladesh I think about my days back in Yangon and for the first time I am nostalgic. Dhaka is very different from Yangon, it’s a crazy city and people look at me as if I was an alien. Buy it’s fun, my CS host is extremely nice and I’m sure that by the time I will get use to this new dimension it will be time to take my next flight.
So even my time in Myanmar has come to an end. Tomorrow I will be on a plane direction Dhaka, Bangladesh. I have to admit that I had a very good time here. Myanmar is a very nice country, I expected to like it and I haven’t been disappointed. My time in Yangon has been a revelation. I spent my days at Adrian’s, a Filipino guy that have been living here for the last years. He lives with a Filipino girl accidentally named Adrienne. During the time I spent at Adrian’s and Adrienne’s I took part in a surprise birthday party (for Adrienne) a house warming party and to the FAB party, LGBT community party in Yangon that takes place one a month, last Saturday.
So Adrian has taken all the pain to take me around, show me the city, take me to the cool places in town (Gekko, Rangoon Tea House, Penthouse, Sharky’s) and then convinced me to go to FAB (never been a big fan of disco parties). But I’m SO GLAD I gave in and went to FAB party. The place was packed with LGBT people and friends. The crowd is very mixed and people are there just to have fun. In a way it made me think of my early years when I used to go dancing with my friends on Saturday nights. I haven’t done that for ages, until yesterday. All the people met during my stay were there and it made me feel happy, people were having a blast and so was I. And I didn’t even drink! There were boys and girls (and all that’s in between) of all shapes and sizes and I was not even the grandpa of the party!
Yangon and the people met here managed to give me even if for a while the sense of home, comfort zone limited in space and time that I needed. Now I’m ready to move on. The time has come for me to move to another place, time to meet other people, time to live another adventure.
Now that I’ve left Malaysia I see how much more westernized it is comparing to the other SE Asia countries.
I’ve spent around 40 days in the land where number 4 is forbidden (4 and death have the same sound in Chinese), where English is phonetic (teksi, polis, julai… Etc) and the currency has the name of a cartoon character (Ringgit).
I was not meant to spend all that time there but I decided to extend my stay and take a massage course. Kuala Lumpur is very cheap comparing to every other big cities I’ve been. Food is extremely cheap and being multicultural by nature you can find every type of food. I got stuck with Indian, and with roti canai in particular (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roti_canai).
The population is composed by Malay, Chinese and Indian for the majority. Only a small percentage is made of foreigners (and there are many). In Malaysia is difficult to meet people (as explained in my previous post) but I still managed to meet a few very cool characters. In particular my CS hosts. The islands are beautiful places and in general pretty well preserved. Tourism has not corrupted all yet.
Every nationality is well integrated in Malaysian lifestyle but each of them keep their own specifics. Chinese feel Chinese, Indian feel Indian (as opposed to Malay) but neither of them would like to live in their original country. It’s funny how they insist on the fact that they are this or that although their passport is Malay.
I volunteered for 2 weeks in Oriental Heritage House and even if nothing went wrong I didn’t enjoy the experience (but the house is amazing!!! https://m.facebook.com/orientalheritagehouse/). I didn’t really learn anything and the communication with the management is very poor. Also it is in a very quiet area but this means that you’re far from the city center and the public transport is very bad – as in Kuala Lumpur in general. So, since I was busy only in the mornings I decided to fulfill a dream that I had for long time and take massage classes in the afternoon.
After a research in internet I decided to go to Wellness art training centre (https://m.facebook.com/well.ness.3158) in the very center of the city, a few steps away from the famous towers. It all started on a bit bumpy way. I had discovered that my CC had been cloned so my bank blocked it. Therefore I could not pay the entire price in one go and the management insisted that I had to pay before starting the class. I told them I could not and if it was a problem I would just cancel the course. They told me it was OK but the didn’t stop to send me WA messages asking me how I was and when I could pay. So at one moment I told them that their attitude was very annoying because I felt they didn’t trust me. And I understood that they don’t know me so why should they trust me but also told them that in Europe you can pay in two or three times and it was not an issue. And the management replied that in Malaysia things are different. And so I realized that even in the small things we have to be careful. We all think in different ways and we should understand that something that is absolutely common for us it might not be for some other culture.
If I had to choose one Asian country to live in Malaysia would be one of the candidates but honestly I felt a bit lonely there. People told me that Malaysia is cool, fold is amazing and places are beautiful. And it is true. But still. There’s something missing that I cannot quite spot. I still enjoyed my stay in KL and I loved my massage classes.
I’m still in touch with some of the people I met along the way and hopefully I will see them again some day.
So… Where to start…
I’ve been in KL for more than one month now and I think it’s time for me to move on. The time spent here it’s been good, a needed a little nest to make home for a little while. Travelling is cool but it’s also tiring and every now and then is good to go back to the comfort zone.
But yeah my time here is up. I realized it yesterday. It took me time to buy the ticket to Cambodia. And not only because of the problems I had with my credit card (yes. It’s been cloned… but this is another story…). It’s been difficult to make up my mind and buy the ticket because I was good here in KL, I had a home again and it was nice to settle down in the everyday routine. But luckily for me KL is not the place I wanna settle down again. It’s a big city but still very human in a way. The prices are honest (apart from the rent, like in Barcelona basically) and the food is good. But the dark side of it all is that people here are very busy, for real or not.
It’s really hard to meet anybody, let alone get to know them. Via couchsurfing and other apps I got in touch with hundreds of people (not kidding) but I managed to meet only a few. They’re all super interested in meeting with you but you can never get a date from them. And when you finally get a date they cancel at the last moment. Or you meet, all goes well, “let’s meet again ” but again never comes. You have to organize with at least a couple of weeks in advance. It’s true that distance here can be discouraging and that public transportation is awful but still… There is always something else in the middle. Commitment is a word that is not really taken into consideration in KL. The enthusiasm is killed easily. I feel like they are collecting chats or friends in CS or FB. The virtual word is waaaaaay more important that the real one. Even when people go out together they are checking their phones all the time. There is always someone or something else capturing their attention. They’re there but not really. I’ve wasted so much time and energy try to connect with locals and in the end I was so frustrated that I decided not to open any app anymore.
I have only a few days left in KL. Time to finish my classes (to be discussed in next chapter) and then I’m off to Phnom Penh. I’m really looking forward to visit Cambodia. A change of scenery will do me good.