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Published: January 7th 2010
On New Years day I picked up my stuff and headed towards the bus station by my lonesome. Billy would be catching a flight to Bangkok and then Vietnam, so I was effectively a solo traveler. I still have a lot to learn in this regard. I bought a ticket to Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur, then just sat back as the bus drove on for a few hours. I must have fallen asleep on the way cuz when I woke up I could see the Petronas Towers in the distance and realized we had arrived. The bus dumped us all off and I tried to get my bearings and find the hostel address I had written down before leaving. Malaysians speak Bahasa Malaysian whereas in Indonesia they had been speaking Bahasa Indonesian which is more or less the same language but with different slang and certain expressions, so I was able to communicate the basic words again. I found that Malaysians are much more adept at English than Indonesians however, and this alone would make things a lot easier. I spent the next few hours trying to find the damn place and despite my best efforts if was nowhere to
be found. Maybe it closed or something. Anyway at this point it was raining and I said screw it and just hailed a cab to the second address I had.
I arrived at the place and soon after fell asleep. Upon awakening I was presented with what had to be the low point of this trip up until now. I was covered in super itchy bites on my legs and arms and some on my back. I was victim of the scourge known as bed bugs. I was the only one in that part of the dorm too, and worst of all I had stashed all my crap underneath the bed with many of the pouches open! Everything was potentially contaminated. 'Bed Bugs 101' should be a mandatory course to anyone leaving on a backpacking trip. At least I wish I would have known what I know now. In short I spent the whole day, or rather wasted it, emptying out my pack, sending all my clothing to be washed, vacuuming every seam of my backpack and small day bag and even had to vacuum my electronics! And even after all that, as I type this, I still don't
know if I'm carrying any of them or their eggs, cuz they're so fucking small! This is actually a massive backpacker problem, and as I talked to more and more people, I realized that many others have come across this issue. Some even unknowingly bring them back home in their stuff and then start an infestation in their homes, resulting in thousands of dollars in exterminator fees to try to get rid of them. Backpackers move through so many beds and dorms that inevitably some bugs hitch a ride with the unlucky individual to the next place. Hell isn't even the right word for it. I'm still waiting for a really sunny day to dump my crap on a beach and try to make sure nothing makes its way onward with me but even then when I get home I'm isolating my bag and all stuff in it, and throwing them into the dryer on the hottest possible setting to be on the safe side. Now all my items are separated in Ziploc and plastic bags, all parts of my bag are always zipped up, and I never leave anything on or under the bed in the place I'm staying
and I make a thorough inspection of the mattress and surrounding areas to try and spot an infestation before going to sleep. I'm never gonna complain about mosquitoes again in retrospect. Alright I'm done venting.
Kuala Lumpur has an amazing city center and I spent the following days walking the place for hours on end, checking out the Petronas Towers by day and night, going up the KL tower (similar but smaller than the CN tower), saw all sorts of parks, Chinatown and the night markets and hung out with other backpackers from the hostel. Also it was great not to be hassled while just walking around, nice change.
After KL, I left for Georgetown in Penang, at the north of the country by train and stayed there for only one night. It used to be an old British town and had many colonial style buildings in it. I then kept moving north by night train into Thailand...
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