Malaysia was an interesting place...I'm glad to have gone, but don't feel the need to go back anytime soon. It's fascinating how 3 different cultures co-exist almost seamlessly...or so it would seem when looking in from the outside.
After going to the tea plantation, we headed for Kuala Lumpur for a couple days. I think I had in my mind that it would be a much more glamourous city than it really is. It's pretty much the same as any other large city. We stayed in Chinatown right were the night markets are held. The market stalls all sold essentially the same things- designer impostor goods, pirated dvds, fake rolexes, etc. I find shopping in that environment (i.e. bartering for everything) very exhausting, so I really didn't do too much shopping.
The next day, one of the girls, Andrea, and I went to the Petronas Towers to get tickets to go to the sky-bridge. We then stopped in Little India, then got epically lost trying to find our way back to the hostel. Eventually we gave up and took the train 1 stop because we simply could not figure out which way to go. The towers were impressive, but there was this cheesy video when you go in, boasting how these towers are Malaysia's symbol of success to the world, and how great the Petronas c ompany is, and blah blah blah. It felt like brainwashing.
We spent the following day heading to Melaka, which was extremely hot. It was the kind of heat that makes you not want to do anything except sit in front of a fan or in a swimming pool. We attempted to sneak into a hotel pool, but lost the courage when threatened with being kicked out and/or fined. So we spent the afternoon at the guest house until it was time to be picked up by the trishaws...which are like bikes with sidecars decorated in an outrageously tacky manner with fake flowers, twinkle lights, and assorted plastic toys (ours had crabs). Our guide, Kamal, was lovely and took us to a couple temples, taught us about Malay history, and gave us plant spices to sample.
Finally, the next day, we headed to Singapore, the final destination. We had a nice dinner and attempted to have a big night out, as it was our last all together, but Singapore is extremely expensive, and when drinks cost as much as they do, we all lost the motivation to be out rather quickly. The following day we went to the Singapore Zoo, which is world renowned, and with good reason. It was probably one of the nicest zoos I've ever been to.
We collected our bags from the hotel and relocated to different hostels, as some people were staying in Singapore for a few extra days. I had to say my goodbyes from there, as I was heading to the airport to spend the night there. I think I'm becoming desensitized to saying goodbye, maybe because I do it so much, or maybe because I get so excited about the next chapter of life that I'm eager to get to whatever will take me there. It was interesting to be around a bunch of people whose journeys are, really, only just beginning. All the girls in the group are heading to Australia within the next couple months and plan to stay there a while. I find myself feeling almost jealous. On one hand, I wish I could just stay in Sydney (it's the best time of the year...summer is coming!), but, on the other hand, I just spent the past 6 months before heading overseas ready to get out.
Now I'm back in Australia and just had the nicest few days I have ever had here. The weather cleared up for some beach time, a few of my really good friends happened to be in town, and a bunch of my family came down to see me off. It was such a lovely weekend, I find myself feeling apprehensive about going home. But, I know myself well enough to recognize that I always feel anxious and apprehensive when my life is about to change. My body shuts down (I have a fever right now), I get very moody and emotional, and I try to make excuses why I shouldn't leave. I never thought I would feel so strange about going home...I've been so excited about it for months...but it's that great unknown (how will I feel, what will I do, where will I live, how will I be different) that makes me nervous, but I know I'll be just fine. I always am.