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sleep and sunshine

MALAYSIA | Friday, 29 December 2006 | Views [693]

ok, first things first, tell me what makes me more of a wanker: the fact that i feel self-conscious not wearing a headscarf here, because it's clearly the done thing and they do it because it's REALLY important to them and by not doing it i am, effectively, blowing a big western feminist-progressive raspberry at everythig they believe in, or the fact that i actually fashioned a headscarf around my head in an attempt to fit in and not flaunt my western ignorance in their faces.

i know it's perfectly acceptable for travellers not to conform to this custom, but somehow it just feels wrong. this tradition, whether i agree with it's principles or not, is a symbol of an age-old religion that underpins their society, their way of life and everything they know. i know that they don't care that i'm not wearing a scarf, but i can't help feeling like every western woman that walks past with her skin and hair exposed must be a small reinforcement of a message of "we don't agree with you and we think you're wrong and we don't think it's important to respect your way of life". now, arguably, one can respect a way of life without making any effort to conform to it, but... i still felt uncomfortable with my hair showing. and not just because it was oily and in need of a wash :-) (a problem soon to be rectified by SPECIAL BLACK SHAMPOO, which i bought in the hotel shop from a nice man who said my hair will actually look more black after i wash it! yeah asia!!).

i'm probably an ignorant twat, but that's alright, because:

my big travelling fear has realised itself: i'm hooked. i really like it and i want to do it again and again and again. i want to come back and see more of malaysia, i want to see egypt, i want to see more and more and more of things that aren't australia, and meet more and more and more people who have a completely different world. i know this was predictable, and my parents are probably having quiet palpitations as they read this ("she is NEVER going to finish that degree..."), i just can't wait to see and do more. so the natural result of that, i imagine, is that i'll experience more and learn more and become a wisened traveller instead of silly young thing standing in front of a headscarf-wearing immigration official and having apologetic thoughts about my ignorance.

for now though i'm just a sleepy person in a very garden-variety, could-be-anywhere resort in malaysia. flying was EXCITING (and a wee bit scary) but it seems there are now two things in the world that can keep me awake, and flying is one of them. you don't want to know the other. ;-) 6 hours until i leave for Frankfurt. it's going to be a LOOOOONG flight (14 hours. it's long to me, ok? and dean - big props for surviving the canada-australia flight which i hear is much longer. you're my hero) so i'm dreading the condition i may be in when i get to germany. 'haggard' is a word that springs to mind... apart from sleep, water and sunshine (good old melatonin), does anyone have any pearls of travel fatigue wisdom?  

so that's it for malaysia. major observation, the people are FRIENDLY, but i knew that anyway thanks to a couple of wonderful malaysians i've known in australia (hi kim!!), and the only people i've met are airline staff and hotel staff so i guess they have to be.

also, i have a pretty elephant tusk bangle.

that is all.



there's a gallery for this post, just pictures of the resort - thankyou malaysia airlines. and you'll see my little friend there too, you'll recognise him no doubt, i was veeeeery happy to see him after my uh, cultural experience at the airport this morning. (thanks for the heads-up bek!)

Tags: On the Road

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