Live From Malaysia

After walking for a while around the West Lake in Hangzhou (photos), I headed to one of the many Starbucks coffee shops to secure an Internet connection.

I used to be anti-Starbucks, at least when travelling in a country like China, where I refused to pay a small fortune for a fancy drink. Then I started hanging out with the wrong crowds (i.e. my current friends) and became an Internet addict.

This time I needed an Internet connection because I didn’t have a place to sleep in Malaysia yet. After going through my Lonely Planet guide to Malaysia a few times and doing a little browsing on the Internet, I settled on the Backpackers Travellers Inn. Nothing extraordinary, but well situated and cheap. I ended up using my French SIM (don’t want to know how much this month’s bill will be) to call the hotel and convince the guy to hold a room for me, since they only hold reservations until 6 p.m. and I got to Kuala Lumpur at around 9 p.m. I promised I’d call back as soon as I landed.

I headed to a Sofitel nearby to find an ATM and got the concierge to put me in a taxi to the airport. I wanted to play it cheap and get a bus, but I ended up choosing the taxi to make sure I got there on time. Oh, and I almost forgot: you’ll never guess what I saw on my way to the hotel! Chinese Vélib’!

I finally got to the airport and, after quite a long while, boarded my flight to Kuala Lumpur. It was an AirAsia flight, operated by AirAsia X. I don’t really know the difference, but I do know something: this really is the best low-cost airline in the world!

Finally, 6 hours later, I landed in Malaysia. That’s when I realized what I had done: if I had left from Paris, 6 hours later I could’ve been in New York! For some strange reason, doing it in Asia just seems normal in my twisted brain, while never would’ve thought about going to NYC like that (I now have to reconsider all my travelling).

After clearing immigration and yet another sanitary check—do I look sick or something? why do I keep getting checked like this?—I finally got out of the airport and into the city.

On my way here, in the bus, I felt like the happiest person on Earth—feeling I didn’t hesitate to share—and I thought of how grateful I am towards everybody and everything that has happened and that has resulted in me being able to write these lines at 2 a.m. in a Malaysian hostel. I know they probably won’t read this, but I want to publicly thank my parents, because, whatever chain of events landed me here, it all started with them, and I will be forever in their debt.

Check out the first pictures from Kuala Lumpur over at Flickr.