Southeast Asia, Take One
Hello from Malaysia!
I am writing this while barreling through Malaysia's lush green landscape on a bus toward the country's capitol, Kuala Lumpur, having just crossed the border coming from Singapore. Although it is only the beginning of day two in Asia, the journey has already been full of some incredible surprises...as well as some challenges that have pushed my abilities to be flexible and organize travel on the fly.
After nearly 22 hours of flying - which was a great way to catch up on five movies I have been wanting to see - Brett (who is joining me for the Asia marathon) and I landed in Singapore around 1:30am. My body was completely confused as to whether it wanted to sleep or stay awake due to the 12-hour time change, but after taking a couple sleeping pills I was able to sleep off most of the jet lag in order to make the most of my 24-hour introduction to Singapore.
We decided our best (and most affordable) bet for a day in one of the most modern cities in Southeast Asia was a self-guided walking tour. Armed with a map and some advice from a couple locals, we set off to explore Little India, Chinatown, Marina Bay and the botanical gardens. It was an amazing day: I experienced my first Islam mosque as well as Hindu and Buddhist temples, saw solar-powered "supertrees," ate in a chaotic hawker centre, and ended the day by watching the sunset on a massive boat-like structure atop the most expensive building in the world. Singapore, I'll be back.
Now, we are making our way up through Malaysia toward Phuket, Thailand, for the marathon on Sunday morning. The initial plan was to take a train, but apparently those sell out a lot faster here than I thought. So, it is either going to be another dozen hours on a bus or a budget-airline flight up to Phuket. Most important goal for today, though: enjoy Kuala Lumpur. Depending on the timing, I'll hopefully have reached the top of the Petronas Towers (one of the tallest buildings in the world) and/or seen some caves just outside the city.
The next time I write, I will be done with the first of the seven marathons. Here goes!