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On leaving a continent

Things take on a new significance when they are about to end.

sunny 24 °C
View Liberty Goes East & Re-Europe on Zaspirucho's travel map.

Last days of Asia

Last days of Asia


Six months it was. Six months ago I arrived in Kuala Lumpur for the first time. On that day I knew nothing. Coming out of the subway station I was dazzled by the light and movement, and surprised by the great structures looming over me. The Twin Towers! In my frenzy, I had forgotten to read up on where I was going, so I had no idea the iconic buildings where actually located in Kuala Lumpur. Like going to New York and being surprised to find the Empire State Building there. But lo and behold, the famous Petronas!

It takes on a new form, that which is known. It gets blurry and fades away some. I walked that same path several times that first week in Malaysia, and some more in the following visits to KL. The towers became familiar, my friends. When I got lost in the city I could look for them in the distance, be reassured by their far-off presence. When walking under their shadow I needed not heed them, rather I would look at the people, at the cars and advertisements. The great giants a part of the scenery, part of the world.

Then there is a mysterious link between the first and last. The senses get sharpened by the feelings of conclusion, by the coming end. When you’re aware it is the last time (that you know of) that you’ll do this or eat that, and it your senses will sharpen, trying to capture every detail possible. Every sound, every smell and colour. When the world that is known is about to disappear, we strive to experience; to remember. That way it may live on, in our memories at least.

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In this spirit I spent the last days in Malaysia; visiting the places I had come to enjoy, and saying goodbye. I saw people I had met six months before, turned some old smiles into new kisses. By now I had my favourite sites too; places where they didn’t need to ask: upon seeing me they’d know whether I required an ice coffee or a double espresso. The kind of places that become a home, where the people treat you as a friend. And to top it all off, I was able to meet with Tihomir, my Bulgarian Liberty crewmate, and with my cousin and her beautiful kids and husband. Thus the trip ended in the same loving manner as it began. The circle is closed now, time to move on.

Countries, food, experiences, thoughts, this has been a trip of many firsts. I’ll surely revisit the region. But for now, it’s time to go back to the west. There’s no need to go all the way there though, so first I’ll stop at the border, there where the two worlds meet. We shall fly through the night and tomorrow I’ll see the Sun rise over Istanbul.

All things come to an end, such is the nature of the world. And then they start again.

Posted by Zaspirucho 06:43 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala_lumpur travel end malaysia friends istanbul family trip asia kl liberty thoughts learning Comments (0)

Asia, first stop

Kuala Lumpur

semi-overcast 26 °C
View Liberty Goes East on Zaspirucho's travel map.

The flight over the Pacific was a mere 15 hours. Sleep, movie, dinner, sleep, breakfast, reading, and you're there. As we left rounding midnight, and got to Kuala Lumpur rounding midday, I didn't even get much jet lag. It was the heat that struck me though. The thick, humid heat. I should have expected it, and should be somewhat used to it, seeing it's not so different from the Veracruz heat. But I've never carried a heavy backpack around there, nor used the subway... This marks the farthest I've ever been from home. Just a bit further and I'd be halfway around the globe!

I didn't really research much about my destination. Good thing there's plenty of wifis to hang on to! Most people speak english here though, but you have to get used to their accent. And so, I made it to my cousin's address mostly on my own. I stepped out of the subway to the sight of this:
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It's easy to find your bearings when your reference is more than 400 meters high and glows at night. I walked up and down, wound up in Chinatown. One day I'll see the real stuff, for now, I keep crossing Chinatown gates here and there; this one's the sixth already.

It's a lively place, Kuala Lumpur. With lots of movement and building of skyscrapers and avenues and malls. Luckily, there are a few nice parks as well. In one of them we had a little Couchsurfing event, where people brought local food, and visitors helped with some crackers, drinks, or their food, like the spanish tortilla contrasting with the... local currysome chickenly food. It was delicious. And it happened to fall on Eid al-Adha, so several of them were dressed in their traditional attire! I woke that morning to the chants of the nearby mosque, and finished it with chinatown drinks in company of fellow couchsurfers. Not a bad welcome to Malaysia.

So, on my fourth day, my cousin and her family came back from their trip. They'd gone to Penang, to eat and rest and have a good time. And now I got to see them finally! We had just met once before, but we kept contact since. She does live quite faraway, after all! So it was great to see her daughters and husband. Last time, little Andrea had been a toddler, now she's almost 10! And Carolina is a toddler now. Will I see her again in 10 years? I hope sooner than that!!
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I would like to say that everything is different, being in Asia and all. It is not. Everything is similar, if only with some eastern tint. The food of course, and the language. But you can pretty much live here having no clue of bahasa. And the middle class, we're the same everywhere around. At least in the city; maybe outside of it, things would be different. People keep telling me I should go to the jungle; I'll be there soon enough. As for the people, the Malaysians have to potential to be really beautiful, what with the mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian heritage. Sadly, they don't mix, and so, well, they're not really beautiful (statistically speaking). And it's getting more radical it seems, with racial issues gaining strength. There's even talking of it being outlawed for non Muslims to say the word Allah. Well Allah.

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I say that three days is enough to get the essence of a place, as Kino taught me, and I find it to be true. The pure essence. Then, if you stay longer, you begin building bonds, developing affection. Run away at the third day, dear traveller, if you want to see the whole world. I didn't, so now have friends in this place. People I'd enjoy meeting again some other time. I met family and friends; I went walking on water with them, and took (a very little) part in the organization of a bikini competition. Too bad I won't be in town for that one!!

For the 23rd I fly to India. Meet up with my Captain, with the ocean, and see the Liberty with my own eyes. A very fitting name for a sailboat.

Posted by Zaspirucho 21:02 Archived in Malaysia Tagged malaysia city asia kl heat Comments (0)

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