Tag Archives: malaysia

banged.up.abroad. lol

*absolutely not the banging that i was hoping for

how did this image brought me joy and peace and, almost, tears?lol

it was officially my last night in Bangkok. Malaysia(Penang)-bound the morning after.

its past midnight and i was still chugging beers in the coolest bar in the city with newfound friends whose names are as long as traffic in EDSA on a rainy friday payday. seriously, whats with the undeniable romance of thais and the alphabet. long names.

pre-schoolers must have hate their culture for this. lol

it was my last day in Thailand- whether i like it or not. unless, i pay the fine for overstaying. which i am not considering, i mean, i can no longer afford it.

Bangkok did live up to its name as the City of Angels. on my last night, that night i met the most beautiful Thai girl-itago natin sa pangalan Angel. i guess i just had my “Before  Sunrise” experience (lakas makiuso showing na before midnight.) i got home at 4am in high spirits. what a way to end my stay in this urban jungle. *separate post.

The day…

i woke up after two fateful alarm snoozes. it was almost 6am. all my blood and adrenaline shoot up in shock. my bus leaves at 7am and its still far from my place. i packed briskly my more than 30-days worth of belongings( all scattered in room) in 3mins (that’s talent my friend since i have taken the word “disorganize” to a different level).

my friend’s girlfriend was awakened and pulled out mom’s why-are-you-only-packing-now-you-have-no-more-time-you-will-be-late card. off i continued to hustle and pretended i heard nothing. not a good way to start my day =)

so i tossed all my stuff in the bag. pulled out my magic and in less than 5mins i was done with my bag, brush, and bath. with time not on my favor and the cloud in my head caused by lack of sleep and hangover, i skipped the mushy-goodbyes and stormed out. i flagged down the first taxi on the street.

apparently the driver was in a bigger hurry than me. lol. after some skids and swerves i was in the bus station 30mins ahead of time. i picked up some crackers, chips and water from the grocery.

The ride…

i was tired, sleepy and buzzed. people poured in. it seemed like i was the lone backpacker taking the ride.

the bus conductor approached and i asked him where in Hat Yai can i catch vans for Malaysia later that day. “no more trips at night” he said. i repeated my question, pronouncing the words slowly this time assuming he didnt get it the first time.

then a flat out resounding “no” again from the man. i settled onto my seat for some shut eye. my body was calling for it but my mind was thinking of something else.

its only 7am, its a 12-hour ride, at 7pm there has to be people crossing the border considering it is open until 10pm, after all, it is the main highway that links Thailand and Malaysia.

i composed myself. contemplated.

all the sleepiness, hangover, fatigue had flown out the bus window. all thats left was anxiety. I CAN NOT AFFORD not to cross the border that very day. what i have left is just enough money( no fines/extra expenses) to cross to Penang where  i have friends waiting for me.

i  frisked my bag, purse, pockets to check my money. one 500 and three 100 notes and some loose change.

if what the bus staff said was true that there will be no more public transpo plying that route at night(8pm onwards). then, these will be the expenses:

    • 200 baht fan room accomodation

 

  • 350 baht fare from Hat Yai- Penang

 

 

  • 500 baht one day fine for overstaying to be paid in Immigration Office

 

 

food allowance was not even included and im already short. even if i spend the night in the bus terminal, still, there is no way my 800plus baht can get me through the day/next day and the border.

reality kicking in…

clammy hands. sweaty palms. sharp headache.

this is, actually, my most feared travel nightmare. be broke in a foreign land and deal with corrupt immigration officials. Banged Up Abroad anyone!@?

panic started to get the better of me around midday. i still have some idle time, whole afternoon, to come up with a resolution. at the back of my head, scenes of Banged Up abroad played incessantly.

the bus tore off  the north Thailand highway.

it was 5pm. sun was going down, and so were my hopes. i was wishing the driver would pull over and say “we’ve arrived” but he kept dead mum.

the bus continued to race. and so did my, then, flustered heart.

at 7:30pm it was completely dark. night has come but not Hat Yai. if theres one time i wished i have powers to freeze time, then that was it. it was getting late, chance of getting in Hatyai in time for the last buses/vans was dwindling down.

the bus parked in a nondescript lot. 9pm. we’ve arrived. i hurried to get my bag in the trunk and dashed to the ticket counters with hushed hopes. everything tumbled down when the woman said “only tomorrow for Penang.”

i stood infront of the counters dumbfounded. theres only 800bahts in my pocket. i needed atleast 1100 to get through Thailand. i knew no one in the city. my card still refused to shell out money. the nearest person i knew i can borrow money from was thousand kilometers away.

The breakdown…

my fear had come and it stared coldy straight to my eyes. i was fukced. big time. alone. nightmare.

i knew im going to get fukced up in the immigration next day for overstaying, and with not enough money to pay the fine im doomed.

“its going to be  a long night, im short on money but i better find a room ” i said. my mind was in utter chaos and the bus terminal was just too muddled for some serious strategizing.

with no appetite i skipped dinner. i swung by the internet shop and related the whole story to my friend/host in Bangkok, Eric. he said he will moneygram 1,500 the next day.

sadly it was hard for me to count on moneygram in Thailand. i dealt with them the past week and it took me 2 days just to get the money(my friend from Phuket sent me money to buy her diet pills.) they had trouble locating the branch where i needed to withdraw money from. apparently, you can not withdraw from any branch and unfortunately it took them hours to figure it out. language barrier has something to do with this. and its 500baht per day for overstaying. it had to be fixed, i needed to exit Thailand the soonest possible time.

still in dazed, utter confusion, and a looming mental breakdown i rested in my 200baht fan room.

i would’ve loved to go back to Bangkok as i have lots of friends there but there were no more trips that night. and my then-600baht was not enough to buy a ticket.

having watched a number of NatGeo Channel’s Banged Up Abroad episodes made it worst. i started to worry about the immigration officers i need to deal with and so on.

plus a gazillion of other thoughts. all scary, negative. because, apparently, there are no positive things that could happen to you in this type of situation. =)

it was past midnight and my anxiety heightened. i did everything in my book to calm my nerves down but to no avail- i smoked all the remaining cigarettes, showered twice, mastubated twice… nothing worked. as if the no-sleep night before, whole day locked up in a bus, and all the day stresses, plus masturbating twice werent enough to tire me down to sleep.

i wished i had someone to talk to. the thought of someone talking to me would be most comforting. but i had no means, i dont bring phone when i travel. and i had no laptop.

the romance of being in a foreign land. should i say horror.

if only there is a switch of my brain i would’ve turned it off. it continued to race relentlessly. my body was dead tired but my mind was like a rollercoaster that kept on furling.

i knew if my brain continued to be stressed out like that for a few more minutes, i would’ve snapped out. i would’ve gone insane. first time in my life i had clear understanding of how people fall for mental breakdown/insanity/lunacy and how close i was from that.

i remember the last thing that ran through my head before i slipped to a deep sleep was i talked to God and made a deal with him that if he let me get through the situation, i’d happily go back home and never do backpacking ever again.

5am. passed out.

The big day…

i woke up at 7am on a lighter note, resigned from all the things that troubled me the day and night before. “i will take whatever comes” i said. i had no choice anyway. so there’s no use of worrying or fighting it out. i am all ready to get fukced up.

since Eric has work he asked her girlfriend to go to the bank and do the moneygram. 9am. she got there at 10am but they wouldnt allow her to make any transactions without her passport. ID wasnt enough. she went back to the apartment.

i waited not worried. it felt like i was on a trance.

it was so difficult locating the bank. i asked 3 people for directions and got lost 3 times. its hard to walked around Hat Yai since its a big city.

and then things started to turn around on my favor.

The big change…

i got the money from the bank at 12 noon. i tried buying ticket online using my card and it worked. the trip was scheduled at 2pm. i had 2,200 in my pocket.

van picked me up at 4pm( the only setback that day.) i met some 2 other backpackers in the van whom i eventually became friends with. we got to the thai immigration office at 5pm. as expected, i was ushered away from their line, in lieu of my overstaying, to an office. everything went well though, i just paid the exact amount of 500baht. they stamped my passport. i joined the other backpackers and headed to the Malaysian immigration office. got stamped. rode the van again all the way to Penang. relieved.

back on the good old happy road. it was a familiar feeling, like home. comforting.

79days after i left home.

it was an exhilirating experience to be finally on the Malaysian side. i was sitted in the van with a plastered smile looking at the horizon and thanking god big time. the other travellers in the van kept talking to me but i was only half-listening. i just smiled. i was speaking to god in my head.

from the most pressured experience, tables turned, as i got pompously pampered in Penang. =)

*my Alisan Golden Couch experience was bad. thats the first and the last time i will deal with them.

**my before sunrise experience. infront of Post Bar with my Celine.
if i travelled that night. all these drama shouldve been skipped.
but…
still…
i would’nt
have it
any other way
=)

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Food. Paradise. Penang


after a few bottles of Tiger, i bade goodbye to M.Y. girls jm and bel.. and bob marley who had been plastered smiling at us through out our drinking session in Reggae bar in chinatown that night.

it was still an hour before my trip when i arrived in the terminal. i must say its really neat for a bus terminal complete with mirrored walls and comfy couches. Plus liner; 30 RM( Malaysian Ringgit; 13Rm=1US$),Penang bound, 11:59pm. a quick 3-hour-plus ride since freeway is pretty much free during this dead hours of the night.

hopped into the bus. intently eager to leave Kuala Lumpur and all that unfortune done deal with the hindu.

now, a couple of bucks less on my budget;
holds no more ids aside from my passport;
and no more safety net as all my cards were now lost and  left in kuala lumpur( somewhere there) together with my sanity and security. just some of the things that bugged my mind during transit.

onward i braved my backpacking trip carrying a lighter pocket and a heavy heart( damn i did really lost that fukcin wallet.) phew.

i arrived in Sungai Nibong bus terminal past 3am. taxis fixed rate at 20fukcinRM. haggled with the driverSS. i told my story me-then-walletless but damn they just coudnt be shaken. i gave up and let go of the ringgits. the cab dropped me off in Bukit Jambul, the couch i was crashing for that leg of my trip is sree’s- my fukced up indian boy.
my broken hearted indian boy do keep a decent stash of liqours and cigs. a couple of shots of vodka before i hit the sack.

first on my itinerary was to hit the beach. Batu Ferringghi is one of the better beaches on this side of Malaysia; Georgetown. from B.Jambul i took a bus to Komtar( georgetown central terminal) then hopped on a bus 102, 2rms, to B.Ferringghi. bus charges normally range from 1rm to 3m. its cheap to move around.

its a nice beach but not spectacular. fine sands but not pristine. the beach caters more for water sports than lounging around. i suspected watersports cost cheaper here( just a hunch since there are lots of people doing it… and its not that those people didnt appeal to me as affluent or something, just saying =)

since its a muslim country, its very conservative as evident on the beach sans babes in bikinis. what?.  yes, its missing the best accessories/ornaments to beaches.

a beach without babes in bikinis, i mean, is no beach at all. lol

George Town is beautiful with its well-preserved colonial buildings turned to shophouses and cafes. the town is very laid-back and charming. no one will suspect it as the second largest Malaysian city. theres no city vibe at all( i mean it in a good way.)

i would spend afternoon walks along old streets adorned with century-old trees. no smog, just fresh provincial air.

and the best part of George Town or Pulau Pinang in general is, unmistakably, the food. i think there are more number of restaurants than people here. i wonder. lol

restaurants and hawker stalls abound every street corners. choose your poison: malaysia’s nasi campurs, chinese dimsum houses, indian curry houses… thais, what-have-you’s. name it, its here. all available and convenient.

eating your way around Penang is cheap in general. a lauriat can cost less than 5rms for 4 dishes.

i spent more days in Penang more than what i planned for and i didnt even notice not until after a couple of days after i checked on my calendar which showed i was way behind my itinerary( i had no itinerary really, haha… it just sounded nice since i was  travelling. and travellers usually have itineraries, right?)

i left Penang one early morning. sree arranged a cab that picked me up in Bukit Jambul Complex at 4am which trasported me to  Sungay Nibong(20rm) where i took the van(35rm) to cross the border to Hatyai in Thailand. Krabi-bound. i intended to reach Krabi before night time, thus the early travel.

my fukced up indian boy did hosted me very graciously. ballerina graceful. lol. sree is an ex of my oh-so-sexy-ex-officemate JM( siya na ang maganda; tirador ng mga malay na walang kamalay malay.. lol… i mean it in a good way. lol) who also hosted me in KL. lucky to have these peeps. a saving grace for all the misfortunes this muslim country had thrown at me.

All in all, Penang is like your typical Filipina barrio lass. Charming. Laidback. Affordable( abot kaya este abot kamay pala haha.)
and above all she is SIMPLE. but if handled well, she could be fun and exciting and definitely will leave you begging for a second round.

I want a second round. NOW =)

dont mess with the Hindu

after my fucked-up indian friend’s girlfriend told me about Batu Caves, it being a wish granter( if and only, one has climbed the 270plus stairs with out stops) i knew i had to pay a visit.

i woke up to a beautiful morning tucked under fresh cotton sheets of our beautiful oh-so comfortable bed in our beautiful  hotel. it was a very sound sleep indeed(for me, as for my host michele/jm/watever.. i doubt, haha… i was told i snore when im pulling one of those hibernations).

the irish beers i had the night before, in upscale Changkat Bukit Bintang, surely delivered the goods.

we headed down to the hotel resto to get our filling of nasi lemak, pancakes and the gang for breakfast. then, she took off to work while i headed to Kl sentral and took the direct train to Batu caves. some 13km away from the city center.

we agreed to meet-up at night after her work, and after i closed the deal with the fairy godmother of Batu Caves.

whenever i oversleep, i tend to be sleepy the whole day. and that morning, i was not only sleepy in the train… i actually slept. good thing Batu is the last train stop, and another good thing were the two european girls, spanish if im not mistaken, who were nice enough to woke me up. they were smiling maybe because i looked cute sleeping or saliva was dripping( probably the latter). i tried  to engage a conversation with them but they speak no english( tsk tsk tsk).

the batu caves complex is right beside the train station. one of the temples is perched inside the cave some 270-steps above ground. and there sits the wish granter( aha!). a couple of interesting Hindu statues and shrines scattered around. lord Murugan being the focal point.

but the rain that morning made taking pictures an ass. bad lighting etc. and the rain of course.

it was cold and gloomy. i walked around the smaller temples, and wandered around some more. i waited for the drizzle to stop or atleast die down a little before i climbed the stairs but it didnt.

the gameplan was to ascend slowly so not to tire myself too much so i can avoid stops thus getting my wish granted(sounded like a plan.)

i looked up and scaled the whole set of stairs. “this is in the bag” i said. you see, i tend to esteem myself a little at most times. i always think of myself as very healthy and athletic ( even if the image in the mirror seems to not agree almost always, swear, there are mirrors that tend to make you thinner and taller just like the ones in SM department stores, those mirrors are damn accurate).

i wished for the rest of my backpacking trip to be a smooth-sail and perfect; then i took a deep breath then proceeded with the stairs. one step at a time. no looking-up or looking down( heck i didnt look at anything else aside from the stairs in front of me). i did not stair-count. i was focused; i reminded myself that the fate of my backpacking trip on the following days layed on my hands( ok, feet). as i made it, the WISH.

maybe i was over the hundred stairs when i felt my calf muscles to tire and ache a bit. i was not breathing anymore, i was panting. i surged forward.

and when i was on the last 3 or 4 remaining steps it dawned on me how stupid my wish was. what was i thinking right? a perfectly smooth-sailing trip? BORING! a LITTLE mishap here and there would spice up the trip(i was very particular with my words specially the part l-i-t-t-l-e). so i changed wishes at the last minute, at the last 3 steps. from a perfect-smooth-sailing-trip wish to getting laid(now, thats what i call a w-i-s-h).

i stepped on the last step and… ohboy what a relief. at that time, i was sure that i will not have a perfect-smooth-sailing trip and that i will get l-a-i-d. sweet. victory(haha).

at the top i saw the fairy godmother  hindu god/goddess sweetly smiling at me… so i sweetly smiled back…
and so she owed me one.. haha. gotcha.

happily, i commuted back to explore the rest of KL. good vibes. an old guy in his 50s i met on the train was even so kind to tell me more about the city. show me around the train station and even accompanied me to the ticket office in kl sentral( i was headed to Penang the next day.) after small talks, he finally led me to the ticket counter and then he graciously went his way out of the terminal and went wherever his home is.

filled out the ticket form and then i searched my bag for my wallet. and then i searched some more. and more…
and more. but found none.

damn it. demmit. tang.na. fukc.

my money was there, cards( the fukcin mastercard was my safety net for this trip, incase i ran out of cash i can always withdraw… and the money on my card is actually included in my backfukcin budget), ID’s, hotel keycard and other valuables were there too. i just got fukced. bigtime.

…and i was not even half-way on my trip. my plane ticket to the Philippines was due not until after 12 fukcin days. Thailand and Laos still awaits me.

i made the deal with the fairy godmother that noon for “a l-i-t-t-l-e mishap”. i was clear on l-i-t-t-l-e. i made sure on that. i repeated it( you know, incase he/she didnt hear it clearly the first time). but this is no way close to l-i-t-t-l-e. cards and money? cmon.

and there i was in the counter with my bag inside out, all stupefied infront of the now puppy-eyed malaysian ticket seller.

***i headed to Penang the next day walletless. broke. and damn, i havent even gotten laid. tsk tsk tsk

***********
-no entrance fee for the main cave; however there is a fee for some caves since they will require you to get a guide
-2rm, train fare, kl sentral-batu caves