It’s hot! This is probably needless to say, but for me, as someone who struggles with even mild Welsh summers (all two weeks of it) it feels like I’m walking through hot soup. I have also been assured that its actually pretty mild right now and will get a lot hotter. Great. But in actual fact I’ve been pretty OK on this first day, South America last year probably helped prepare me for this, and with fingers crossed I think I will survive for the time being. Although getting used to sweating whilst simply sitting and typing will take a while. Aside from getting accustomed to the heat we have actually had a rather productive first day. We took a shuttle bus from the basement of KL Airport to Jalan Ipoh, near Chinatown. The bus was well air-conditioned, and a total bargain at 10 RM each (basically 2 pounds), for a trip that took over an hour. We bought a few ice cold delicious tea beverages in assorted exotic fruit flavours and took in the sights, through our jet-lagged and tired eyes. Everything is kind of fascinating to look at, the vegetation is different the architecture, the smells, though not necessarily in a pleasant way. We got off our bus eventually, despite almost being told to leave a few times, I think the driver kept forgetting where we had asked to go. From here we had instructions to head to a local HSBC, as a meeting point for our hosts to find us. Getting to the HSBC turned out to be a tad tricky, or would have been, if we hadn’t managed to hitch a lift from a petrol station we came upon, and enjoyed a quick and easy ride there. We were very much obliged, trekking with our bags was bad enough, but the middle of the day heat made it worse. At HSBC it was time to call our host and let them know to walk along and find us, unfortunately, and I am still yet to discover how this happened, but we had the wrong number. We tried in vain to find WiFi, I was sure a local Subway would be our best choice but inevitably I was wrong. Instead we resorted to strolling the busy streets, past market stalls and barbers, dodging motorbikes and mopeds, and asking random people. Eventually we found a hotel, not the place we wanted, but I was sure someone would take pity on us and let us use some WiFi. This time I was right on the mark, perhaps by now after trudging around looking steadily more hot and bothered, we looked more in need. The kind hotel receptionist helped us look up the name of our accommodation and we were away.

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Meeting our fellow house guests was a real delight, we were greeted warmly by two travel savy Italians, who have stories from all around Asia, volunteering and working in many different facets. They helped us with the ground rules, and the adjustments. Where to fill up fresh water, the worst time for mosquito bites, what to drink and what not to. We had a tour of the house, and then after a shower and a freshen up, a walk to the local shops and supermarket, where we got some juice and beers for later.

The supermarket was fascinating, I always love seeing the differences between markets in different countries, it can actually tell you a lot. For instance, Malaysia is kind of a melting pot of Asian cultures, Malay, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, and the range of food you can get reflects this. The most interesting part was the non-Halal corner of the shop, a small room set aside from the rest, containing only alcohol and tinned pork. After this me and Kamila took a walk on our own, snapping a few pictures along the way, and visiting a beautiful Hindu temple just down the road from us.

So far my excitement has only grown since arrival, and I can’t wait to get more stuck into the culture, and see as much as we can, and especially to indulge in plentiful food. Tonight our Italian friends will be cooking however, something were very much looking forward to! For the rest of the evening we will simply drink beer and battle the mosquitoes, and continue to settle in to our adventure.

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Published by James Vitaly Harding