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The three day thing

As this Chapter nears its end.

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It’s been six months since I left Mexico City. Two of those I've been in South East Asia.
As I approached Kuala Lumpur a fourth time, I felt as unready and lost as that first time, six months before. I still don’t know what lies ahead of me. My map is still covered in fog. I cannot see clearly anything past a few weeks, and anything beyond three months is so blurry as to be a waste of time even trying to fathom it.
If all had gone according to plan, I would still be sailing, marveling at the ocean’s vastness and the beauty of islands and sea. It would have been a great time, I know, just a completely different experience to what I've had.
During this two months in Asia I have journeyed here and there, catching barely a glimpse of what the region has to offer. Someday I’ll come back. And in the rainy season too! There is just too much that stayed beyond the horizon this time. Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the North of Thailand. And that’s without looking South. But I am now to enter the silence, to digest all that’s taken place in the last weeks and months. To let sink all the smiles, all the kisses, the hellos and goodbyes.

I've been doing the three day thing this past weeks. Days merged into one, and it felt like I spent more time in vehicles and walking to the next place than actually there. After leaving Angkor and Siem Reap, I passed through Kampot, Kep, Phnom Phen, Sihanoukville and Koh Rong. I kept going deeper into Cambodia, but didn't find the kind of effortless belonging of those early days in Siem Reap…

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I spent a grand total of two days in Koh Rong. It’s a nice yet difficult place to explain… The only reason I went to there in the first place was because I read online that the island was beautiful, yet cheap, and that I could find 1$ dorms. This is not so. The cheapest dorm, at least this season, is 7$, escalating all the way to 60$ thatch bungalows and treehouses. It is not a cheap island. Having said that, it is a gorgeous place, and the people are great. Hippies, locals and expats, most understood my situation as a confused and broke traveler and were very sympathetic. ‘If you want anything cheaper than 7$, you´re gonna have to work for it’ they said. It took less than an hour after setting foot on that pier to get a place to stay. I spent the next two nights on the furthermost point of 4K Beach, a 40 min walk away from town. All they needed was someone to be there, so the place would never be completely alone. So I had a tent, noodles, beer, soft drinks, and red bull in exchange for just being there and keeping an eye over everything; for hanging out on the beach and selling the occasional beer. Basically for doing nothing. Heck I cleaned the place up, even raked the sand and burnt some leaves just to feel productive. It was great. I could have stayed there for days, weeks even... So then I left in the morning. After having camped, danced, walked at night in the jungle and swum in the dreamlike, shiny, phosphorescent blue sea… It just could not get any better than that. Not there. So Bangkok, Padang Besar, Langkawi and Penang soon passed under my feet. And then I was back in KL, back at the beginning.

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Here are some things I've experienced in the last days/weeks:

Stay away from rocky outcroppings, or be ready to limp for a couple of days.

Even small coral can be very sharp, and cuts on the sole of the feet are very, very uncomfortable. Noted, learned.

Sometimes the $1 dorms are amazing and awesome. Other times they mean bedbugs. Flip a coin.

In Siem Reap I stayed at the Garden Village Guesthouse. It was awesome. I made friends and got great memories from there.
In Sihanoukville I stayed at the Utopia Hostel. Don’t stay there. Don’t go anywhere near that place. Just don’t.

Send messages to strangers. Couchsurf. Say yes.

When last I was in Bangkok I contacted on Facebook a girl who lives there. Turns out they have a spare room they are trying to set as a small B&B, so I stayed with Alexander and Abigail for 3 nights, with Petrina meeting me there. It was awesome![/b][/center]

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Wine is best after not having any for months. Even more if it’s free.

One of the nice things of meeting locals (as in people who live there) is that they tend to know what’s going on. And that might just be the anniversary party of a nice, hip bar. I hadn’t had any wine in six months.

Travel with someone. Separate. Meet them again.

We met in KL that first week, then again after our sailing adventures. Now we coincided in Bangkok a third time. We could exchange stories from the time apart, and had someone for a few days we didn't have to introduce each other to, rather build on the friendship. It’s a great relief!

When crossing borders, double check the local time zone.

When Petrina and I arrived in Padang Besar, Malaysia, neither of us bothered to check the local time. As such, we missed the last bus out and got stranded there. Nothing wrong with the place, it’s just not somewhere you want to stay in for longer than necessary.

Smile.

I smiled at a girl in Siam Reap. Our eyes and smiles met again in Kampot. Fancy to meet again, and sharing a cab with her and her brother, in Padang Besar, all the way to Langkawi. Then going out drinking with them in Penang. Who knows, maybe I’ll see her again in KL. Or in Germany someday!

Help someone.

I met a somewhat lost Australian waiting for the bus. I guided her to where she wanted to go, and stuck with her the rest of the day. A nervous little thing, she would have never eaten in the indian restaurant I took her to, nor ridden the bus all the way to the Kek Lok Sie temple. The thing is, I was ready to let the temple pass, but it is one of the best places Penang has to offer. It is beautiful, and its commanding view of the city, gorgeous. I would have missed out greatly and wouldn't even know it. I still don't know who helped out the other more.

This is not Kek Lok Sie Temple. I very smartly forgot the camera battery.

This is not Kek Lok Sie Temple. I very smartly forgot the camera battery.


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And now I ready to enter the silence. It’s the last adventure in SE Asia for now, and one that’s been long overdue. I've wanted to take part on a Vipassana meditation course for months now, but somehow it didn't work out before now. Most of the centers open for applications several months prior to the course, and it’s been a while since I've known where I’ll be so long in advance… But this time all is set, and I’ll be there for ten days, away from everything, in a new experience. I've never done extended sitting meditation, so I’m not quite sure what to expect. But I feel it will be great.
So, world, see you after the retreat!

Posted by Zaspirucho 22:38 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala_lumpur food ocean nature beach travel cambodia meditation malaysia city island beautiful paradise camping asia koh nomad learning Comments (0)

Slowly but surely

We're leaving!!


View Liberty Goes East on Zaspirucho's travel map.

It seemed like it would never happen, yet now we are gone. The pier was clutter-free, things got stowed. Tanks are full of water, engine running smoothly. We just need to get our papers back, adjust this and that, clear out and be off. But we have a nicer view now, have left that bloody pontoon. It hasn’t really sunk in. We have left the port.

We destroyed this pier

We destroyed this pier

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We had our good share of problems. After a year in India, the boat was covered in a solid coat of gunk. Most metal surfaces were rusty, and some important ones had even rusted away. So we remade them in wood, stronger than before. We cleaned and replaced and threw stuff away. Then we threw some more stuff away. But it is done now, and a new leg of this journey is beginning. Building is done, time for sailing has come!

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It’s not that I don’t like India, but I’ll be glad to see it shrink in the distance. This time here has not been easy. I've never had this many communication problems. Anywhere. It’s not even a language barrier, since most people even understand some English. It’s something else, deeper. A barrier exists that I cannot properly describe… And it doesn't help that this whole experience has been very tiring and tense.
It is incredibly demoralizing to miss a deadline. Especially when it happens not only once, but time and time again. First, we wanted to leave by mid-November, but the weather didn't agree, so we had to change course. The new plan was longer, so we had to prepare the ship better, get everything tighter. Then Ali and Majed left, so we lost a couple of days of work, and two able hands. So that was another week. And then Ryan left. A family emergency called him back to Alaska. In a way, it was even good that we had been still in India, it would have sucked big time to get some bad news in arrival to Timor, or worse, in a remote island in Indonesia where he couldn't even get off the boat. He’ll maybe (he better) meet us back in Timor.

See you soon man!!

See you soon man!!

At least, right before Ryan left we managed to take a day off and explore some of the Kerala Backwaters. There we remembered why we are doing this, and where we want to go. Just getting out of the city made our hearts grow stronger, our lungs filled deeper. We got to a place where people asked How are you? not Where you from? They smiled and welcomed us… We didn't sail there, but were testing the dinghy’s new outboarder. It was an eventful day; we got stuck on shallow waters, motored at night and got in a fight with a fisherman. It was dusk, and a fishing line got entangled in our propeller. Although the net wasn't marked, it was still our fault, and we should have compensated him, after all, we did cause some damage to his fishing net. But he got very aggressive, very quickly. Seeing his paddle raised in front of me, where he could have easily broken my arm, did not make me want to reach for my wallet. So we broke his hold on us and sped off (rather dickishly) into the night. Not proud of it, but it is how it is. We must learn from to be extra careful with fishing nets.

We don't want to get into a fight with them!

We don't want to get into a fight with them!

So we are now three men crossing to Indonesia and beyond. It is not easy, things are tense. There were some motor problems, and last minute fixing of this and that. But it is all nearly done. We cannot clear out on Saturday, nor Sunday, for we must go to three offices, and at least one of them is closed at a time. But at least we have now left the Marina! Port Authority gave us permission to anchor in front of them, so here we are. Last minute fruit buying in town, and then off! This shall be my last post in India...

So now. We have read and listened. We have practiced our knots and ropes. We know what to pull and when to do it. We have ached and bumped and hurt. He bled, we healed. I would say we are ready. Let’s hope the sea agrees!! In the end, it was one month later than what I predicted. But it seems on one thing I was right: we sail on the Full Moon.
See you in Timor!

Lets sail!

Lets sail!

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Posted by Zaspirucho 11:47 Archived in India Tagged ocean india sailing done working liberty departure thoughts stowing Comments (0)

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