This time last year, I was in Malaysia. Actually, as I publish this, it was last week of last year, but the actual dates don’t really matter, do they? It is wild to think that just a year ago, I could hop on a plane with several friends, and we could just go to Malaysia. It was a short trip, and one that I had not planned to be on, but I got lucky…really lucky!
Two summers ago, I bought a one-way ticket to the United States. I left right before Memorial Day weekend, and when I left, I wasn’t 100% when, or if, I would be back. I went there on the guise that I was helping my family with my father’s estate. The reality is: my family is made up of hard-working, generous, and very smart adults; they didn’t me to come, but I think I needed to come. The summer there is a whole other blog, so I will cut it off here, but in short…I went; I helped with the estate; I enjoyed time and space; I flipped a couple of houses with my brother, and I returned to Okinawa just in time for the long Labor Day weekend.
I also arrived back on the island just in time to see that someone had backed out of a Kuala Lumpur Girl’s Trip, and I so I was able to squeeze in. The ladies had been planning it for weeks, but I was in Texas flipping houses. The thought of Okinawa or trips to places like Kuala Lumpur were no where on my radar. The fact that I was even on this trip was straight up LUCK!
We flew out on a Friday and were back on a Tuesday. To say that this trip would be fast and furious is an understatement. I had met a beautiful woman from Malaysia a few years ago in an international spouses group that I was a part of, but the first thing that I needed to do (after paying for my trip) was to learn a little bit about this unique country. I checked out The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng, and after reading it, I knew that I was in for something very special.
We arrived in the evening, and we had no time for shenanigans. We needed to change quickly, and we headed to a Speakeasy. It had a fun performance; some girls did some dancing, and we all had lots of laughs. The evening was entertaining, and it would just be the beginning of an unbelievable trip.
The next morning, our first stop would be in the Kuala Selagor District where we could feed monkeys, let them climb all over us, or we could just hang out and enjoy the lovely views with them. These little guys were little, but they had BIG personalities. None climbed on me, but they were all over my friends.
Next, we would enjoy a bumpy-boat ride to The Sky Mirror. I had no idea what this was about, and it ended up being one of the most interesting photography experiences I have ever had. As much as I love to take pictures, I am not very good at it, and I don’t usually take the time to take great ones, but this experience enabled me to witness how amazing photography could be. We went out to a sandbar in the middle of the Straight of Malacca, and we had a young man prep and take our pictures. How surreal is that? I was literally in the middle of this strategically important body of water, taking pictures, using reflections with my friends. I am still in awe of our experience there.
You can’t have that much fun and take so many pictures without building up an appetite, so we found FOOD, and a lot of it. Family-style meals are fabulous because you get the opportunity to try all the things!!! Fresh seafood next to the water is always a hit with me.
The next morning, we were up early and ready for a special treat. The Batu Caves is a site that is not to be missed! The Hindus consider it to be an important religious landmark, and most people would consider it to be one of the most colorful, vibrant, and beautiful places to see. People of all religious faiths are welcome to observe it, and if you can make it up all of the stairs, you will enjoy being in the cave too.
The next dining experience would be a fantastic one as well. The fusion of cultures, the fresh ingredients, and the beautiful atmosphere made it a special lunch with special friends. Lunch at Mr. Chews was a good one!!!
After an exciting day, we got ready for an even more fun-filled night. Riding around Kuala Lumpur on Vespas at night will be one of the travel highlights of my life. It was so much fun that I asked my husband to do it again with me when we went to Vietnam. Once again, another story for another blog. Back the the Vespas in Kuala Lumpur…
Riding through a big city on a Vespa reminds me of running through the streets of a city. Because you are weaving in and out of traffic, you are riding through alleyways, and you are taken off the beaten path, you truly feel immersed in the city. You feel the energy of the people. You see the poverty and the beauty, and if you are really lucky, you get to go to restaurants, where the locals enjoy their meals too. We visited local markets. We tried durian. We took a million pictures, and we had a ton of laughs. We were able to see their Petronas Twin Towers at night, which is a MUST DO, if you visit Kuala Lumpur.
The more I think about this trip, the more I am reminded of WHY I wanted to come to Okinawa in the first place and WHY I wanted to return here after my summer in Texas. I was excited to see friends. I was excited to travel to new places. I was excited to share my experiences with my husband so I could convince him to take time off of work and to get on a Vespa too. I was excited to see more of the world. I recognize that I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity and to live in this part of the world.