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Notes from a Wandering Daydreamer Life as it should be...

i still call australia home

SINGAPORE | Friday, 4 September 2009 | Views [682] | Comments [2]

well this is it. the last blog from abroad. i am now waiting in changi airport for my flight back to oz and the end of this big adventure. at the end of my last blog we were on the train from bangkok to krabi in southern thailand, which was i guess the first step in the journey home, as since then i have been moving south and i guess it wont stop until i reach wagga - or melbourne for that matter.
We spent almost a week on the beaches of railay. its a truely beautiful spot, and although it feels like an island (you can only get there by boat and everything is island prices) it is in fact a small peninsula that has been separated from the mainland by huge limestone krasts (i think thats what they are called) and it makes for an absolutley amazing location. think turquoise water, blue skies, white sand, green palm trees surrounded by sheer rock faces that look like melting wax. (its a climber's heaven) google thailand beach for images and no doubt railay will be in the first 3 images.
but as nice as all that sounds - it was monsoon season so it was rather hit and miss with the weather. usually we would have a few good hours of sunshine around lunchtime before the rain would came back for the afternoon and then clear by sunset again.
we had hoped to hire a boat to take us out to some deserted islands for snorkling and perhaps even stay the night, but on the day we planned (paddy and kate's last day) sadly the weather was not on our side. however we did go swimming in the rain and ended up with a beach to ourselves, without having to pay 2000 baht!
soon it was just the two of us again, and before we knew it it was wednesday and time for us to leave railay. and wouldnt you know it - the weather was the best we had seen all week. i was heading to the airport where I was flying down to Kuala Lumpur and Gary was heading back to bangkok on the train to fly to ho chi minh city, vietnam in a few days time.
i felt quite sad to be leaving. leaving thailand, leaving gary and leaving the adventures behind. I now only had 2 more nights before flying home and as keen as i was to get home, part of me didnt want it to end and to be heading to vietnam too. although the wallet had different opinions on the matter......
my first impressions of malaysia was that it was like a more developed thailand. it was a country that i had never really thought about too much as it had never really been on my radar. i had and still do want to get to borneo malaysia, but as for peninsular malaysia I had no ideas and no expectations. first thing i noticed were the flags. i thought thailand had lots of national flags everywhere, but nothing compared to malaysia.(i later found out it was cose to a national holiday) you couldnt look sideways without seeing at least half a dozen at any one time. second thing i notced was that there were far less motorbikes on the streets - many many more cars so it was a lot richer country.
KL did little to impress me to be honest. the whole way in from the airport (a good 55min!) was just concrete freeways and bland lifeless buildings. once i got into the city, little seemed to improve. I struggled to make sense of the public transport - which although worked fine on its own, there was little if no connectivity between different railway lines and the monorail. to change lines you had to exit the station, cross the street (no crossing) and buy a new ticket for the next train. it all seemed a bit silly.
that night i was feeling a bit down and not interested and couldnt be bothered to leave the hostel. eventually i convinced myself to head out for a walk and try some famous malaysian street food (didnt live up to the hype...). but i was walking along, when i turned round a corner, and there before me were the tops of the petronas twin towers, all lit up in the night sky and feeling so close that i could reach out and touch them. it was one of those travel moments where in an instant you forget about whatever may be troubling you or getting you down and you remeber where you are and what you are looking at - like the taj mahal, great wall, angkor wat, berlin wall or eiffel tower. those experiences make you realise that it is all worth it in the end.
the following morning i was up early to get to the towers to get a ticket to visit the skybridge. although free, they are limited numbers each day and are given on a first come first serve basis. i arrived just after they opened at 8:30 and by the time i had my ticket, i was not going up until 11:30. So there was plenty of wandering around, looking at shops that i couldnt afford - including topman which was painful - and by the time that i went up (after a 15minute propaganda video about petronas petrolium company) i was a little bit over it all... but the views were ok if not a little bit smoggy from the skybridge.
afterwards i headed into the old colonial area - mederka square, but it was a bit so-so. so i ventured through chinatown and headed to central market, figuring that buying something would cheer me up, howver try as hard as i might, i couldnt really find anything that i wanted to by other than a keyring. so now my only souviners from malaysia are a keyring (which is a wicker takraw ball -volleyball but played with the feet- which could have been from anywhere in SE asia) and a wee bracelet that a monk gave me. You see i have developed a facination about monks latley (there is one using the free internet opposite me now, in his orange robes , sandals and monks bag!) and having seen them everywhere in thailand, lao and cambodia, to see one in muslim malaysia, in chinatown trying to collect alms with his bowl, i couldnt help but give him 1 ringgit and he gave me a smile and a wee bracelet.
i am still stuggling to work out what it is that makes malaysia unique.i know that i was only in one city for little more than 24 hours, but i was largely unimpressed by it all. it felt like someone had taken thailand, developed it more, made it musilm, added a lot of indian and chinese migrants and taken the fun out of it all. that pretty much sums up my feeling of malaysia. it all felt a little bit lost. everywhere were posters proclaiming "1 malaysia" like they were trying to remind everyone that they were the one people. i guess it's hard to form an opinion of a country in such a short experience though.
that night all that i could think about was the fact that this was it. my last night abroad after over 2 years. the next night would be spent on a plane, and after that i would be sleeping back in australia. i felt that i should have made the most of it, but i was way too tired and had another early start. so thismorning at 7am the final journey home began.
i only just made my train by a few minutes, after a worried dash across KL in peak hour (thankfully they were all going the other way). The train journey to singapore was long, made even longer by the fact that  had slept on my neck in an odd position and was in pain whenever i turned left and that the carriage around me seemed to be filled with young kids who insisted on crying the whole time - or playing loudly with plastic bags. bah humbug! however there was entertainment in the form of speedy gonzales cartoons and a scooby doo movie on the tv. but once they finished they were simply repeated again. you can only watch scooby doo so many times a day!
 singapore - the last country of the big trip. and probably the one i have seen the least of. I spent a total of a about 2 hours in the country before arriving at the airport - and all of that was either on the train, metro or walking between the two. but from what i have seen it's a pretty nice place and i would like to come back some day on my way somewhere else.
upon arriving at the airport i was so relieved to find out that i was able to check in already - despite it still being 6 hours to my flight. that meant that i was able to head through immigration and use all the facilitys of the 3 terminals. this blog has been written from all 3 different terminals, as i made my way round in a big loop, using the free skytrain to that connects them all. i had hoped to spend the evening at the rooftop pool, but after buying something to eat i realised i still needed money to get me home on - so ive stuck with exporing and using the free stuff, which is still good!
i dont really think that ive been fully able to comprehend the fact that im about to head home. after more than 2 years away i know its going to come as something of a shock to the system. even here in changi airport i am surrounded by australians and it feels a bit wierd. i keep thinking "do i really sound like that?".
i guess the big question though - the million dollar baby - is has it been worth it and have i achieved what i set out to achieve. well the answer to that question is a resounding YES and i'm not sure, but i think so... my only hope that i had when i first set out back in june 07 was that by the time i returned home again, whenever that may be, that i would finally know what i wanted to do with my life. despite finishing uni, i felt nowhere ready yet for the real world and still dreamed of a challenge. the past 2 years have tested me in ways that i could never have dreamed of. facing 3rd world poverty by myself for the first time, battling with russian burocracy in china, starting life anew in london and edinburgh, being responsible for 23 nepali orphans in a big city while none of them speak english.... just a few of the situations that life has thrown at me.
what has made this trip truely memorable though are the people i have met and countless new friends that i have made. some are only for a limited time but some are for a lifetime.
i have been inspired by the things that i have seen people achieve and now believe that i too can do something that makes a difference in the lives of others. what i have done and achieved for myself in the past 2 years is nothing compared to others i have met. although i still do not know exactly what i want to do with myself, at least i now have a vauge idea on where i would like it to head. and to be perfectly honest, im more than happy with that.
because really, what control do we really have in this world? everything can change so quickly and in so many different ways. i have learnt to be thankful for whatever it is you may have and never let a day go past when you dont remember that. the world we live in is a vast, ecclectic and ever changing place that is too big to hide from.
a quote that i have seen a few times along my travels has stuck with me.
"The world is a book. Those who dont travel read only but a page."
    - St Germaine
I had been debating what to call this blog. i had a few options in mind, until a few minutes ago. i was standing on the rooftop of terminal 2 in the sunflower garden taking in some last moments of warm tropical air. in the dark i saw a plane thunder past on the runway and all you could properly see was the tail lit up. red and with a kangaroo. then a particular song came into my head and i knew that there was only one option. yes i have been to cities that never close down. not new york, but to paris and old london town. but not matter how far and how wide i have and will roam, i always have, still do, and will always call australia home.
Hope you have enjoyed sharing the journey with me.
It's time to come home.



A great end to a great story and what was obviously a fantastic and life-altering journey. Bravo!

  Joel Markham Sep 5, 2009 11:18 AM


I can't believe you're back!! I still don't believe it until I see you! Wish I was there to end it with you since we started the trip with you! Happy to have had the opportunity to follow you through your wonderful journey!

  Karen Sep 13, 2009 3:45 PM

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