29.12.2008 32 °C
Cynics among you may wonder why we need a holiday at all - haven't we been lazing about in Southeast Asia long enough?
Here's a few stats that might change your mind: In the past eight weeks we have changed language, currency, customs and diet four times. We've slept in 28 different beds; taken countless planes, trains, buses, boats, taxis, tuk-tuks and cyclos. We've fought off a million touts and survived some of the worst traffic and pollution in the world. All of this just to amuse you with our blog!
So now we're on a break. After a slight delay when we discovered the car arranged by our Kuala Lumpur hotel was from "Rent - a - Write-Off" we hired another and drove through the jungles and rubber and tea plantations to the East Coast of Malaysia, where, we thought, we could escape the capital's teeming hoardes.
No such luck - they came with us, and most of them got here ahead of us. The hotels are packed with devout muslim families enjoying the true spirit of Christmas on the monsoon drenched beaches.
Las Vegas is here - enormous glitzy hotels and resorts that have an air of a Butlins' Holiday Camp. Fun-fairs, sticky food and tacky markets. And money - lots of money. The Malaysians are awash in oil money. The coast is littered with giant oil refineries and petro-chemical plants, and, judging by the size of many of the locals, they're eating the stuff. After living for eight weeks with the wafer thin elves of Thailand and Vietnam, we're the skinny-minnies here. No one is pointing at Jim and calling him a "Happy Buddha." These guys and gals could eat King Kong under the table - and we see them trying ... every morning at breakfast.