Although we have travelled since 4 months, I still need to stop sometimes and say loudly (or just in my mind, depending on the situation), where I am and what I’m doing. I still don’t really believe it. I’m in Thai jungle, trying bamboo rafting. I’m teaching English in Cambodian village without electricity and running water but with amazing nature and people around about life of which I had no idea. I have a bath in the ocean, admiring sunrise in Vietnam. I’m working in organic silk farm in Laos. And all of this without money, just in exchange for our work and skills. Each of those sentences sounds a little bit ridiculous and one year ago they wouldn’t have had any sense. Now they are our reality.
In Malaysia I have to describe reality this way even more often. I’m celebrating New Year’s Eve in Kuala Lumpur (+30 degrees). I’m in the 10-days meditation course and my way was just crossed by iguana. I’m drinking milk straightly from coconut, after having a bath in the ocean, admiring postcards views of Mantanani island. And meanwhile I’m helping to build a house (I have no idea about building anything!).
Malaysia is a very interesting place. At first sight everything looks perfect – languages, cultures, religions live in peace close to each other, Kuala Lumpur has more in common with European cities than with South-East Asia (well organized, free buses in the center, very useful and modern tourist information point, free guided tours, a lot of huge and impressive buildings), outside of Kuala Lumpur there are amazing views – mountains, beaches, as you like, very nice people who are willing to help but at the same time they don’t jump on you trying to sell anything. And almost everybody speaks English! Hitchhiking without problems, couchsurfing without problems, finding interesting initiatives which want to speak with us or host us for few days – also not so difficult. But if you look a little bit deeper, the pink view of Malaysia starts to have also other colors. There is no proper queuing system, everybody rushes and does as they want; without corruption there is not so much you can do; beaches and ocean is full of rubbish; religions and cultures live close to each other, but it doesn’t really mean together. Between “close to each other” and “together” there is a huge difference and one of its elements is more or less obvious discrimination. There is a lot of politics in everything and it’s not the politic of a good kind. I open a newspaper and read a few sentences from politician who believes that if man marries the girl whom he raped, he shouldn’t be punished.
Of course this is the exception, if I start to quote some of the polish politicians I would be more than ashamed, but all of those together give very interesting picture. With every new information about Malaysia, after every conversation I’m more and more fascinated. How do they manage to match all those things together? Good that our free visa allows us to stay for 90 days, because one month, which we usually get in other countries, would be definitely not enough.
PS. As always this is based only on my opinions and observations and cannot be treated as facts.