Plan

I have a plan of what I want to do out of college. I have a project that I think once I develop it fully it will be very marketable. I just have to find out how to market it perfectly. And I have to find the time to work on the project.

Only 12 hours next semester. Maybe an internship with a photographer in Lafayette if I can find one.

I have pretty much decided I will be living in New Orleans in 8 months. My Europe trip will be on hold probably because I won’t have money. I will need money to move.

Let’s have some fun during winter break. Who’s with me?


For one of my last days in Singapore, Nikki, Andy, and I went to Sentosa. It is the fakest beach you will ever encounter. But it is the Southernmost point of continental Asia. What you do at Sentosa is basically spend a butt load of money to luge, ride a glider, and buy food. So what we did was take a nap under some trees. Cool off in the water, then go to a bar for happy hour and swim in their pool followed by another nap on some beds. There is not much to do in Sentosa that doesn’t require spending a lot of money.

But that is mostly how Singapore is anyway. You pay a lot of money to experience fake things. And that is why on the following day, I just spent the day with Nikki while she was working at her hostel. Hung out there, met some of the people staying there and made friends. Other than that, my days spent in Singapore before leaving for Thailand were uneventful. I was just to impatient to get to Bangkok.


So when you go to Melacca, they will tell you there is not much to do there besides walk around and see everything. Which, as we came to find out, is completely true.

So we walked around Melacca for the weekend, visited with some of the people we couchsurfed with and left. There is not much to do but eat, drink, and walk. It is a very pretty town though with good local food. And of course you have to try the mango lasse. Which is like a mango milk shake but thicker and not made the same way. Delicious!


After the Batu Caves, I took the 2 hour bus ride back to the hostel. Considering it was still pretty early, I decided to get off my butt and at least go see the Patronus Towers which used to be the world’s tallest buildings before Dubai exceeded them. It was only two stops from the subway station and there is not much to see besides for the view from the ground.

After having such a frustrating day, I had completely given up on the idea of having fun while traveling completely alone and was just going to head back to the hostel and go to sleep in order to catch an early bus back to Singapore. After getting off at my stop, I notice I’m stalking two guys who seem to be heading back in the same direction towards the hostel. They look back at me and smile, jokingly asking me if I am stalking them.

Once we reach the hostel, Jonathan goes to the hostel manager and complains that there are no cheap bars around the area that aren’t full of prostitutes. David then goes into an explanation about how they found what they assumed to be a family place the night before that served cheap beer. The assumed this because there were families eating dinner inside the restaurant but while they were at the bar, they were approached by several prostitutes. They were looking for a bar to watch the soccer game. The manager just laughed and said the best thing for them to do was go buy bottles of beer at the local 7-11 and just go to the town square to watch. Now because of the time difference the games were playing at 3am.

Having made new friends, we decide to pre-game and talk and play music in the hostel lobby until it is time for the game. I discover that David (the red-head) and Jonathan are from Dublin, Ireland and they have never heard of Louisiana. I make them royally jealous by explaining Cajun food because David has a weakness for spices. We are later joined by Zeki and Rupert from Manchester, England. Zeki and Rupert soon prove to be why I need to move to England. They are crude mouthed, fun loving, and I am drooling over their accents even though there are points where I can’t understand any of the 4 guys.

We are all fairly drunk by the time we head to the game and are joined by Jonathan and David’s American friends (who never mentioned their names) but proceeded to tell me their best drunk-while-backpacking stories. One involving how they were drunk and while the girlfriend woke up in bed the next morning freaking out because she couldn’t find her boyfriend when he had passed out on the hostel front step because he forgot the combination to get in. These stories go on all night during the game while some of the guys start either falling asleep on the grass in the town square or passing out because they’ve had too much to drink. The night ends in a success with me agreeing to stay another night in order to go with Jonathan and David to the elephant sanctuary at 8 the next morning. We get back to the hostel around 5:30am.

SO! wake-up at 7 the next morning in order to shower, find clean clothes, and go beg the front desk for a bed for another night. Since the hostel is booked up that night, I am either forced to go back to Singapore or try my luck at finding a hostel nearby once we return from the elephant excursion. I try the latter. After leaving my stuff in David’s locker we are off.

The trip itself takes us about 1.5 hours outside of KL giving us enough time to catch a nap in a beat-up old tour van with no AC. The good thing about this van is that the back seat is broken making it recline at the perfect angle for sleeping. As long as the windows are open, you don’t suffocate.

We first visit a deer park. Feeding the deer with what looks like uncooked potato french fries leads to our tour guide putting one in his mouth and letting the deer take it that way. He in turn instructs us to do the same. Since his experience went smoothly, I tried as well. My deer, being less steady on his feet, reaches up and missing the potato, just kisses me instead. My grossed-out look then leads the tour guide to only laugh and take a nearby deer to kiss him.

We then head off to see the elephants. There we are allowed to feed them, ride them, wash them, and even the opportunity to bath with them in the water. Since I did not bring a bathing suit, I just fed and rode them. Something to remember, elephants like plantains but hate bananas. The ride back was spent sleeping some more considering we had agreed we were going to stay up again to watch the other game after hopefully finding a hostel for me.

Second hostel: cheap, simple room. Thought it was nice enough but woke up to ants crawling in my bag all over my clothes. Was itching all the way back to Johor Bahur.

I have promised to visit Dublin and Manchester within the next year though.


During my stay in Singapore, I decided it was finally time for me to explore part of Malaysia. I picked Kuala Lumpur because it was an easy place to get to and there were lots to see there to give you a pretty broad impression of Malaysia. Initially, I was worried because it would be my first hostel experience and my first place where I would not know a sole. I was truly traveling alone now.

Getting there was difficult enough. I had reserved a hostel and taken down their number and address to call and ask for directions once I reached KL on the bus. The bus was fine, lots of stares but nothing to worry about. When I arrived at KL, I called the hostel from a payphone to figure out how to get there from the subway (MRT). The number on their website was incomplete so I had to resign myself to spending $20 to take a cab there. I was thankful I wrote down the address. I arrived there, dropped off my stuff, then took a bus 30 min away to go see Batu Caves.

I was having a pretty stressful day. I was nervous, traveling alone in a foreign area where everyone stares at you and accosts you because they want you to buy something. I arrive at Batu, ready to feel at ease in the caves and am led to an area to purchase a ticket I believed is for the caves. I ended up spending $15 dollars in order to go into a cave and see snakes in cages and well as disgusting bugs. Least to say this was not the main attraction. Come to find out, the main attraction, the caves themselves, are free.

Ready to give up and just head back to pass out at the hostel, I decide to just go up the stairs and see the caves. To reach the caves, one must walk up a huge flight of very steep stairs. Many locals do this everyday in order to reach the small temple inside the caves. There are many benches half way up the stairs where people rest, or as in my case, pretend to take pictures in order to hide their exhaustion.

Once you reach the top, you are greeted by the sounds of bells and chanting as the worshippers begin praying. It is indeed a very small shrine guarded by one monk who oversees the prayers. Other than that, you are looking upward into a hole in the sky as water rains down on you from the sky even though outside the caves, it is not raining.

On the way back down the death stairs, I was greeted by the sound of screeching monkeys as they begin grabbing food bags from tourists trying to escape with their snacks. A monk rushed down with a huge bag of bread, handing it to people in order to distract the monkeys.

These monkeys are not afraid of tourists and tourists should no be afraid of the monkeys unless they are hell bent on keeping their snack chips. A monkey will fight you if you get in the way of their stealing your food. Other than that, they don’t care about you and go about their business of humping each other, 3 feet away from your head.

The true horror of this is that tourists are able to guy bags of fruit or bread to feed the monkeys but the majority of the time, the monkeys just take the entire bag and after having devoured its contents, throw the bag into the grass and trees on the side of the stairs. It leaves the place covered with trash in which small babies monkeys will attempt to eat the bags, mistaking it for food. The baby will choke and there is nothing for the mother monkey to do but scoop up the dying child and jump into far away trees because she thinks he has been harmed by one of the tourists. The screaming stops after about 3 minutes.

After that, it is only a 2 hour bus ride back into town because rush hour in KL lasts from 4:30-7:30.


Today…

Today I am going to try to spend the day updating on my last couple of weeks. I realize, blogging is not for me. I don’t have the patience to sit in front of a computer to write down everything that has happened and I find that boring anyway. But I have discovered the true way in order for me to travel and that, I found, makes me require a bigger purse.

Things I need on me at all times:

A bag of M&Ms: they never melt, sold in every country, fix my chocolate cravings, and are enough of a home comfort but without being something extremely Western, like McDonalds.

Side note: I have found myself eating McDonalds here more than I would at home and when I questioned this, I found that is a comfort mechanism. McDonalds is something familiar. It’s convenient. I don’t have to question what I’m going to eat or if it’s going to be good because it’s just going to be a chicken nugget Happy Meal with apple dippers (sometimes fries when I’m feeling adventurous).

My camera: My camera has had a home in my purse since I’ve bought it. I never carry a purse where I can’t fit my huge camera in and now my purse is sorely suffering for it. I have had this purse for about 2 years, maybe changing it for a month during that entire time. I bought the purse for $7 at a Christmas sale and it is the best one I could ever have asked for. But now, it is slowly falling apart. It has done me well but it will need to retire as soon as I find an acceptable replacement.

Gum: you always want it after you’ve tried that certain dish you don’t like, or that food that leaves a strong taste on your breath. It also comes in handy when you are able to give a piece to the crying Arab woman on the plane with two kids after her ears have popped from the altitude. I have never received such a grateful look before.

Pens: self-explanatory

Your card: I have wanted to give people my information so many times and its easier than having to find a sheet of paper to write down your contact information and plus, it looks more professional.

Money: Always keep an extra spare $200 on you only reserved for emergency purposes!

Band aids and aspirin- you will always get a random headache and band aids come in handy when you have cut yourself or, in my case, need a way to prevent yourself from scratching at mosquito bites.

Sunglasses: The sun is on a mission to blind you or at least disorient you when you are already lost.

Fingernails clippers- You forget to maintain your nails but they bug you when you can’t find a nail clipper in a foreign country. They can also double as a pair of small scissor.

Hand sanitizer. Your hands are disgusting and you use them to eat.

and most importantly:

Journal: you will want to write down exactly how you feel after speeding down a cliff side over looking the beautiful beaches of Patong in Phuket, Thailand as the moon reflects beautifully off the water and the stars are out smiling. You will forget the feeling later and the words in your mind will wander away. Record the moment when you feel it.


I’m in Paradise. I know I haven’t posted anything about Thailand. I loved Bangkok but I’m now in Phuket and this place is where I need to be living in a year. The whole trip is so I could stumble upon this island and decide this for myself after I graduate.


Attica

After exploring all day, Shaun and I decide to explore the nightlife of Singapore with some of his friends who would quickly become some of my closest friends during my stay. We decide to head to the Bridge. It is the meeting place of most Singaporeans to pre-game and decide which bar or club they want to head to.

After pouring some Vodka down Shaun’s throat, they quickly decide they want to head to Attica, a very exclusive club that still manages to have millions of people. It is the perfect opportunity for ladies considering it is Ladies’ Night and us girls can get in free. Lydia, one of Shaun’s closest friends, knows everyone working the door so we are able to squeeze in the guys as well, considering there is a hefty line with a velvet rope and all, I feel like this can only lead to a terrifically wonderful night. And I am not wrong. Not 5 minutes after entering, I am pulled on top of a podium to dance with an Asian Chippendale. As he puts his sailor hat on my head, wraps his shirt around my neck, and I’m handed a drink by Nikki (another of Shaun’s friends), I begin to ponder how well this night is going to go.

There is not much time to wonder because in between dancing with the girls and winning a $180 bottle of champagne from my favored Chippendale, we are pulled into the VIP section and after finish one bottle of champagne, are handed another by some beefed out Aussies. Before I know it, it’s 3 in the morning and we are back at the littered with beer bottles bridge where the slackers are lying out sporadically on the bridge. Some are dancing to the tunes in their heads with bottles in their hands and I just smile at the loving faces around me because I can’t stop saying, “Please let this happen every night.” I have fallen in love with these girls who know how to dance and party in the true spirit of ladies night. They never abandoned the group and stuck with each other as we each all went through the highest level of drunkness, never to be deserted for a guy, and never allowed to be pulled away by a sketch-ball.

I wish Lafayette had a club this good. Maybe all it takes is Asian Chippendales.


If you go to Arab street there is one mandatory thing you must do: sheesha which in American terms is hookah. Of course America gets it wrong because you smoke sheesha out of a hookah.

After watching the sun set on the beautiful mosque and feeling enough like Aladdin, Shaun took me to his favorite hookah place. We ordered guava mint and Shaun and I then proceeded to play around with my camera while smoking the smoothest sheesha. So smooth and rich you can’t help but smile contently after the smoke leaves your lungs. And of course I was a kid in a candy store with my camera; the lighting was amazing and there was so much to be envisioned with quotes and beautiful little artworks on the wall. I was left feeling light-headed for thirty minutes after we left. It’s one of those things I would not mind doing again and again before I leave here; and it will be done again.


After the Botanical Gardens, we gathered up Lydia for lunch because she knew where Little India was and we found a small place with the best curry I’ve ever tasted. Everywhere you go in Little India is the best food you’ve ever tasted and its fantastically cheap. This was before I started taking pictures of all the food I’ve been eating, otherwise you would understand.

After lunch it was time to head over to a temple to thank the gods for such delicious food. Since I am no longer going to India, this was a good chance to see their prayer rituals. The chanting relaxes, old men dressed in loin clothes with body paints creates curiosity, and the incense burning makes you feel like you’ve walked into a god’s world.

I kept testing my boundaries with where I could take pictures. I didn’t want to get to close to the shrines and take pictures while people where praying and appear disrespectful, but I found myself inching closer and closer. The only response I received with crooked-teeth smiles from the scantily clad men. They were only showing kindness towards my curiosity.

After the temple, we went to a Mosque. I had to wear a full-length cover gown because I was wearing a tank top and shorts and Shaun had to wrap a cloth around his waste because his shorts showed his knees. They allowed me into the prayer hall with no problem. Another mosque I would later try to see in Malaysia wouldn’t even let me into the office area. There is nothing to do but be respectful of each mosque’s choice.

After a day of devotion, Shaun led me to another Mosque on Arab street with the best view against the sunset. To be continued…