Hey, everybody, Cate here. Over the past however many weeks, I’ve learned a lot of things about Malaysia, so I decided, with the suggestion of my parents, to list some general observations about travel here.
- First of all, even after a couple of days, I began to notice how smoking was much more common than in Canada. Of course, there are always places where signs advertise the fact that no smoking is allowed, although Dad says that people don’t always follow the rules.
- Next up, the weather. Malaysia can be pretty darn hot sometimes, and of course I am not really accustomed to this type of heat, coming from rainy Vancouver. Melaka was the hottest, I think, even more so than Kuala Lumpur. But if it starts raining…….. Take cover, people!
- I’m used to eating Western food regularly, at restaurants and at home, although in Vancouver we did eat a variety of foods (Japanese, Thai, Lebanese, Indian). But over the last little while, I’ve tried a lot of different foods, and eat more Asian meals than maybe even Western. But there’s always time for a burger or pasta.
- One thing I have become somewhat accustomed to on the trip is sleeping on the ground. There isn’t always enough beds for everyone (aka the kids) to sleep on, so sometimes the floor it is. For example, the other day I was given the option to either enjoy a night on a thin, inflatable pad or bask on a plump leather chaise chair with a door separating me from the rest of the family. My own room? Gasp! Chair, please! Poor Meskie, she didn’t have a choice.
- Coming from a middle class family, I’m used to having access to wifi when I want, pretty much everywhere. Now that we’re traveling, wifi isn’t always available. Although most hotels have either free or relatively cheap wifi, you may be required to walk a few minutes to reception. And that doesn’t mean it’s always really good wifi.
- People take a lot of interest in us wherever we go, sometimes taking pictures of us without asking. That’s probably because in a lot of places we’ve traveled, spotting a white person would be as common as seeing a Muslim woman wearing a burqa, the Islamic garment that covers the whole body except the hands and eyes, in Vancouver. Plus, transracial families aren’t that common either.
I’ve learned a lot about Malaysia after about a month of vacation: the importance of Islam here, the Orang Asli people in Taman Negara, the fact that when you’re ordering food, you can’t really ask for changes or additions, and how so many people speak English. Almost everyone we’ve met in Malaysia has been able to speak English well. Of course this is very convenient since I only know a few Malay words: “Selamat Datang” (Welcome), “Helo” (Hello), “Kafe” (Cafe), “Restoran” (Restaurant) and “Dilarang Merokok” (No smoking).
And of course, last but not least, I will say that we are having so much fun here! Whether it’s visiting the Petronas Towers in KL or going snorkelling in the Perhentains, there are always exciting things to do! Of course, there are downsides that come with traveling, but there are tons of things we’re able to see and experience because we’re going on this trip!
Well, that’s all my observations for now! Keep checking back for more posts!