Curries, Leeches, Palm Oil, and Mountains in Malaysia
1. Leech Count: One, inner right ankle. No blood when that slimy, writhing bugger was flicked off.
2. $1 curries in Kuala Lumpur in a Chinatown market. Rice spooned in a banana leaf, choice of 3 curries, eaten with the right hand while squatting on a sidewalk.
3. Coke from a roadside stand: "Take Away" translates to pouring the soda into a plastic bag, sticking a straw in there, and wrapping it with a rubber band. Glass bottles are a valuable commodity.
4. Unsuccessful attempts to rekindle my addiction to durian, but that fruit just looks like a dead blowfish and reeks.
5. Mulu National Park: an arduous climb up to the Pinnacles, limestone cliffs jutting out of Gunung Api (Fire Mountain).
6. Clearwater Cave: exploring Asia's longest cave - 177 km of stalactites, stalagmites, and gushing water carving its way through the cave.
7. Climbing SE Asia's highest peak twice in less than 24 hours. Mount Kinabalu, at 4095 meters: Despite sleeping only two hours at base camp, freezing while waiting for the sunrise, taking a bad spill and screwing up my shoulder, and sharing a dorm room with two Cantonese boys who had a bedtime of 6:30 pm, climbing Mt. Kinabalu was my favorite part of this SE Asia trip.
8. Discovering Kuala Lumpur's Little India district: veg thalis and dosas, listening to conversations in that distinct Indian-accented English, and snacking on burfi and soan papdi.
9. Caving in and succumbing to McDonald's: hard not to, when McFlurries are 33 cents!