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January 14th 2015
Published: May 3rd 2015
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Hello my fellow travellers!

Well, this has been a pretty calm day I'd say. After a good breakfast with Dani and Marten and their Labrador we set out for a tour around Batam, we started with the Grand Mosque which Marten jokingly called the UFO and he's right because it kind of looks like one. But I like it, it's a cool and modern take on a mosque and worth checking out.

After that we went to this lovely seafood restaurant I mentioned yesterday, I don't know the name of it but I can see why it's so popular. Everything is completely fresh, brought out from the sea as you order it and boy does that quality show! Everything is cooked with genuine care and we ordered so much food, a real royal feast! I was stuffed yet couldn't stop eating, even the rice was amazing! To it all we drank fresh coconuts and wow, yeah I can't describe how good it was!

The location is also amazing, situated right down by the water, or rather on top of the water, it's a stilted house. The view is to die for, serene and refreshing, this is a good place to relax and spend your day with good friends. I'm really glad that I came here, choosing Batam was a good decision I feel.

Marten has been telling me more about his amazing life, such and extraordinary man and he and Dani go well together, I'm really happy that I met them. Well, after our feast, which I most likely gained 30 pounds from, we headed up to the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple which is the largest in south east Asia. It is huge and very impressive. It is modern of course and not nearly as decorated as most I've seen, but it has this dignity about it which I like. I was allowed to ask Buddha a question, and I did indeed receive an answer. Even Marten, who is a Hindu has very generously been allowed to pray here whenever he wishes and he loves this place a lot, and I can surely see why.

The question I asked was if I'd be able to find true love, Buddha answered that I will, but it will take time and I have to be patient. Oh well, I guess I'll take it. It was nice to sit down here for a while and meditate. Marten told me about another couple he hosted here where the man tried several times to get his question answered but always came up short. The monks then offered to ask for him, praying to Buddha repeatedly, the whole temple together until they received an answer. The man was blown away by this and gave the monks 50.000 IDR as a thank you. I could just see it before me, the whole upper prayer hall filled with row upon row of monks chanting in unison to the benefit of this westerner, a tourist not from their country or their faith, that my friends is a thing of beauty.

After our spiritual visit to the temple we went down to the ferry station and I took the ferry across to Johor Bahru in Malaysia where I would meet up with my next host, Bruce. It was really cool at the passport control in Johor Bahru, as I approached the guy behind the counter really shone up and when I checked my passport he was all like "Swedish, that's so cool! How long will you be here, where will you go?" He had the biggest smile on and showed his co-workers. This was my first experience of Malaysia and it all just got better from there.

Downstairs at the exit where I was waiting for Bruce, once I'd cleared with the taxi drivers in front that I didn't need their service they were all open for a good chat and helped me get to the right place to wait for Bruce. The people here seem really genuinely friendly and I like it already.

Waiting for Bruce however took a while and I was beginning to wonder if he would come or not, because he told me 15 minutes and I waited for almost an hour. But he finally came and it turned out that he'd just driven to the wrong ferry terminal, those things happen. Yet, even though I was sitting in a parking lot without much in terms of lighting all alone close to midnight I didn't feel at all vulnerable here, I never got a bad impression by people passing me by.

Anyway, I finally met up with Bruce and we went to his beautiful house where I met his wife Cindy. They are both really wonderful people and I think I'll enjoy my time with them a lot! My bed is really comfortable and I have my own bathroom yet again, trust me all when I tell you once again that Couchsurfing really is an amazing way to travel, if you haven't tried it yet you should!

Since Bruce works from home with sales over internet he will give me a tour of Johor Bahru tomorrow, I am really lucky on this trip getting yet another personal tour of a city!

Until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!

Additional photos below
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3rd May 2015
Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple

Couchsurfing paradise!
You've had such great luck on this trip, staying with great hosts, eating fab food and seeing amazing spiritual places of all religions. Peace and happy travels to you!
4th May 2015
Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple

Couchsurfing paradise
Yes indeed! Couchsurfing is a great way to travel imho. =)

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