After our short visit to Singapore, Jeff and I boarded a bus heading for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We were dropped off at a crowded bus station in a noisy section of town with just a phone number of a local contact and a sense that we had indeed left Singapore behind. Let the adventure begin.
In Malaysia, we had the opportunity to stay with a group of guys who live outside of KL. We spent about four days hanging out with our new friends, visiting the city, and experiencing the culture. The Malaysian culture is very laidback, a stark contrast to the fast-paced pressured life in Singapore. Meals are enjoyed while relaxing with friends, often in an open-air food court. Malaysia also boasts some of the most incredible fresh fruit drinks, blended on request.
Can you figure this one out?
Our new friends in Malaysia.
Malaysia's population is composed of three main ethnic groups. The majority are Malays, who are predominately Muslim, but there is also a strong Chinese and Indian presence. Being our first visit to an Islamic country, Jeff and I decided to visit a mosque outside of KL. This particular mosque was quite an elaborate structure, built by the prime minister. During our stay, we also had the chance to visit sacred Hindu caves and a rainforest research center. One evening, we participated in a national pastime of Malaysia ... badminton. After much hype and exaggerated stories of shuttle-cock prowess, team USA was soundly defeated by the Malaysian contingent. Later, we were treated (or maybe punished) with a taste of the durian fruit, known for an odor so strong it is banned in most hotels and buses.
Jeff and Dave, visiting a mosque.
No shorts in the mosque, Jeff.
Lunch at an Indian restaurant.
After KL, Jeff and I took a bus to the island of Penang, just off the northwest coast the country. We only stayed for one night, but this was the first time on our trip where we were completely on our own. On recommendation from the Lonely Planet guide book, we found a clean double room at the SD Motel for $8 a night. The next morning, we happened upon a small Christian church and ran into the pastor as he entered. We were encouraged to hear about the church's mission to serve the poor and the outcasts on the island. From Penang, we departed for country number three ... Thailand.
The SD Motel. Score one for the Lonely Planet.
Pastor Paul Tan. Serving the poor of Penang.
DO NOT GO IN THIS AREA!