So I’m writing this while sitting (almost lying down now) next to my backpack and camera bag plus a dodgy power outlet at the departure hall of KLIA, short for Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It’s the middle of the night, I’m listening to Pink Floyd’s remastered version of The Wall, watching bunches of people either sneaking or rushing by (mostly the latter, though).
There is this slow moving (and slightly overweight) kung-fu master with a stylish Confucius beard and a comic print shirt looking at me while passing by the second time (that I notice him). There is this blond Western girl running along one way and returning another. A bunch of frantically excited Indians. Some hardcore muslims featuring a pasha male and his (at least to outstanders) subordinate wife almost being completely covered in black veiling. A happily smiling couple, possibly Japanese? Wherever they’re from, their mood is contagious. And Roger Waters sings: Why are you running away…?
24 hours earlier I was still deep asleep and snuggled up inside my hostel bed in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. I already knew I’d need as much sleep as I could possibly get before that day at the airport, doing nothing but write, write, write – all night long. Getting some food in between, a toilet break and a water refill. Noudle soup, cookies and a soup. Still tired. (I wonder how I possibly manage to survive 7-day long electro festivals in summer. Repeatedly. No real sleep for days!) 4 more hours until the bag drop counter opens; I better keep on writing.
So cK and I temporarily parted ways in Kuala Lumpur (KL) City pretty much 16 days ago, on December 20 last year. While he went on an early morning flight to Bali, Indonesia (to meet his girl), I was leaving the same day, but heading to Saigon (a/k/a Ho-Chi-Minh-City instead. I could have also opted for discovering more of Malaya, but I already saw most of what I was looking for in late 2015 (when escaping to KL from loony Indian madness). Back then I went up north on to the enchanting island of Langkawi and all the way south again to charming Melaka, but I couldn’t go to Pulau Tioman, a snorkel/diving island paradise just off Malaya’s east coast. It just wasn’t the season, the seas were too rough on that side of the peninsula. Well, guess what? It’s that time of the year again. So that is on the list still…
I could have also gone down to Singapore and fly over to Java – finally seeing Anak Krakatau with my own eyes (before it would finally blow itself to pieces again just as it did before – the last time, infamously, in 1883).
Just some weeks ago Krakatau’s child (or “Anuk” in Bahasa Indonesia) caused a heavy landslide (and a follow up tsunami) that led to the death of some 300 people who were just doing their thing at some popular beach places right at the Sunda Strait (i.e. between the islands of Sumatra and Java). So probably not a good idea to head there right at this moment which is a shame really since I was always quite interested in seeing that particular volcano of which I heard and read so much when still being a child, devouring comic books that dealt with actual geological (and political) history.
So what about skipping Java alltogether and hitting Bali and Nusa Tanggara (the islands east of Bali that also include Lombok) instead? Well, I’ve been there as well (back in 2007 – at prime season, too!) and kinda didn’t want to overwrite my fading, but still utterly stupendous memories of very youthful and innocent adventures. Some day I will surely return to that (hopefully) still blissful island, trying to figure out how much I will still recall of Ubud and the monkey forest, personal encounters with exciting human beings, celebrations of friendship and bonding.
About the other surrounding regions: Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) is too big, too spread out and simply too intense for traveling alone at this point. Southern Sumatra: ditto. The Philippines I’d like to save up for something (and someone) special. And Sulawesi is up next already: The sole reason for spending all those hours at KLIA is me waiting for the “connection flight” to Makassar, Sulawesi’s capital – reunion with cK is approaching! About the real chance of there being earthquakes, a volcano eruption and even a tsunami: I was happy to hear that the first aid kit is still being unused, even untouched.
Having considered all of that, going to Viet Nam really seemed to be the best option to spend my 16 solo trip days at. Now, after having returned to where I headed off from I can thoroughly agree (to myself in some funny ego-perspectice twist): Time well spent. Read about the Viet Nam Journey in my next blog!