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Brodie & V in Malaysia!

About a month ago, I received a message from V in Facebook asking me where am I as she will be backpacking with her boyfriend, Brodie, to Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia region soon. I was so excited to see the email from my long lost friend. We knew each other in summer camp (Camp Shawnee in Waldron, Missouri) 3 years ago. V was a CPR certified instructor for the camp counselors. I’ve seen her few times in the camp but I only have a nodding acquaintance. But my impression of V is that she is very caring, friendly, sociable, and always have a great smile on her face.

Based on the email conversations we had, I can roughly tell Malaysia was not in their initial plan as they will travel up to Thailand only in Southeast Asia and move on to New Zealand after that. But after she confirmed that I’m from Malaysia, she and Brodie decided to make a trip down to pay me a visit since Malaysia is not really far away from Thailand. I felt grateful and appreciate their efforts. And of course I’m more than happy to host them and show them around.

Actually I’m not surprise why Malaysia is not in their list. I was travelling in Goldcoast & Brisbane early this year and I stayed in youth hostel throughout my whole trip. I figured that most backpackers that I’ve met see Australia as their 1st stop since they can participate in the work and travel program and eventually make their way to Southeast Asia countries using the money they earned in the program. However, many backpackers that I came across have no idea about Malaysia. They definitely have much ideas of culturally rich Thailand and know where the vibrant Singapore is. Unfortunately not many of them know there is a Truly Asia Malaysia located in between these two countries. I wonder is Malaysia a Muslim country that makes it less attractive for western tourists but Brodie and V commented that the Malaysia Tourism’s advertising did not reach them successfully as they barely see any form of advertisements promoting Malaysia in their country. If you’re reading this blog and wonder what uniquely Malaysia could offer to you, please take a look at the link below:
http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-malaysia/

The day has come! Hooray, Brodie & V are finally in Malaysia.
I picked up the lovely couple in the train station. After giving a big hug to V and a formal handshake to Brodie who I meet for the 1st time, we moved on. When I look at Brodie, I was like: Gosh! He’s going to draw people’s attention when I show them around in my hometown given the fact he is at least 6 feet 3 inches tall and has a well built body! Anyway, this is not the first time I host friends from overseas. The guests before the American couple were friends from the UK and the Netherlands (The Dutch girl was at least 6 feet tall, so I’m prepared for people’s curiosity and attention!). Since Brodie classified himself as a traveler rather than a tourist (as explained by him and V, experiencing a country and its culture from the inside, rather than simply taking pictures of it) so I guess to have a local from countryside to show them the true Malaysia fits their travelling purpose the best. In fact, I can really tell both V and Brodie are the real travelers where for them it is not necessary to make it to all the MUST GO attractions in the travel guide based on the conversations we had.

** Some information of my hometown

There is really nothing special of the place where I’m coming from but it’s definitely a peaceful small town with friendly people and most importantly the surroundings offer the clean & fresh air that makes you feel healthy! Apart from that, my hometown is near to few tourist attractions such as Cameron Highlands, Ipoh, Gua Tempurung, and Teluk Intan.

We always have interesting conversations during the road trip. Even the first one (2 hours journey from Kuala Lumpur to my hometown) we were talking and joking like old friends. I remember answering their question “How should I greet your parents?’ was freaking hilarious seeing their facial expression especially V. I guess she must’ve freaked out after I told them that if they were to greet my dad “hi Mr. Heng” and my dad will most probably not giving any response not even a nod of his head. But I further added on that “Don’t worry, that’s my dad! He is a very shy person yet a generous man! He just doesn’t know how to show his hospitality and a friendly attitude towards guests in a proper way” to re-assure them everything will be fine. In fact, my mum already called me one day before their arrival that my dad is going to treat them a sumptuous meal. That’s my dad practice and that’s how he welcomes friends of any family member. Also, I shared with them in the car that Chinese or Malaysian Chinese do not normally greet people “How are you?” but rather “你吃饱了吗?” (Translation: Have you eaten?) Food is our passion and we care about is your stomach being filled with nice food.

I actually tried before to apply the culture of greeting people “Hi, how are you today?” in Malaysia after few years living in overseas which I think it’s a good culture that Malaysians should adapt, but it just didn’t work somehow. People will normally get stunned by my question: “How are you today?” and it will lead to an awkward situation. I remember I was so amazed by the British culture when using the public transportation –bus! When passengers get in the bus, either the passengers or the bus driver will start greeting each other “Hi” or “How are you today mate?” and when passengers got off the bus they will say “Cheers mate” to the bus driver. For me, it just makes the whole atmosphere so much friendlier.

Here we are in my hometown!
To my surprise, Brodie enjoyed the food that my parents prepared so much! I’m glad that friends from overseas that I’ve hosted before (every single one of them) have a high acceptance level of Asian food and never really feel hesitate to try something they have never had before. It’s a pleasure to see the guests enjoy the food prepared for them. But I’d have to say Brodie is the man! He has the highest acceptance level among all thus far until at times I wonder is it because he wants to make the host feels good, so no matter how freaking weird the food is he will just finish all the food. Anyway, I really hope that wasn’t the case because I always tell my guests “just leave the food if you don’t like the taste, that’s fine with me”. But based on my observation, I draw a conclusion that those that are from Western countries in general do not like ABC (Ais Batu Campur or “shaved ice” for V) and Nasi Lemak. Americans will comment the food “Interesting!” whilst Europeans will say “Not my cup of tea!” See the difference?

Dare to try?
ABC.jpg Nasi_Lemak.jpg

Below are some memorable moments from this trip with Brodie & Vee…
1) I enjoyed drinking BOH Cameronian Gold Blend tea & listening to their thrilling adventures in Asia while admiring the beauty of tea plantation at Cameron Highlands
Hulu_Telom..4-00267.jpg

2) I enjoyed seeing the couple had so much fun in karaoke room in Tesco supermarket which is something they’ve never tried before back in their country. They really can sing!
Brodie: One Two Three Four I know you want me you know I want cha
V: uno dos tres quarto
Wonderful times!

  • *Want to know more of karaoke in Malaysia?

http://www.redbox.com.my/redbox/eng/com_intro.asp

3) It was funny too to see big Brodie in Gua Tempurung because throughout the trekking people kept questioning "Is this “guei lou” (foreigner) going to make it? He is huge!"
I can tell ALL my friends from overseas love the 4 hours caving experience in Gua Tempurung so much! Ironically, part of the reasons why they like it so much because there is no safety precautions such as no helmet is required, no railings etc that makes the adventure more challenging in the cave. But for me, the authority must have provided first-aid-kit at some points in the cave which I did not identify any just in case someone gets hurt.
So if you were here, go for the most extreme package which costs you only RM22 (USD7). http://www.guatempurung.com/main.php
IMG_5451.jpg IMG_5484.jpg

4) I’d say the song “Rain Over Me” depicts the situation of our road trip to Penang on a rainy day the best! When the radio starts playing the song, we will sing it together so as to celebrate the “best day ever” in their trip in Malaysia because the rain never stops on that day!

“Girl my body don't lie
I'm outta my mind
Let it rain over me
I'm rising so high
Out of my mind
So let it rain over me
Ay ay ay
Let it rain over me”

So much laughter in the car! Even until today, if I listen to the radio and hear this particular song, I will automatically think about all the memories with Brodie and V in Penang.

5) Not to forget drinking a small bottle of Carlsberg which costs 10 USD with them at Skybar while looking at the impressive Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur!
images.jpg

Time flies… There goes their 5 days vacation in Malaysia!
A close friendship is built during these few days time and I see them as my buddies. Therefore I feel like there is something missing in my life and I feel bored after they’re gone. I guess perhaps we spent much time together and had so much fun in these few days. Speaking of which, I do feel bad for them too because I think their ears must have suffered a lot listening to my broken English. But sometimes I wonder if I speak a perfect American English or British English, it is not ‘local’ & “Asian” enough. Just an excuse to make me feel better! Haha

45 days to go for my 10 days trip in China, from Guangzhou I’ll move all the way North to Beijing! Can’t wait to see the hidden village of Guoliang, the Great Walls of China, etc. Yahoo!
Stay tuned!

Guo_Liang.jpg chinawallarge.gif

Posted by Hengman 09:45 Archived in Malaysia

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