The furthest I’ve ever traveled from home is Malaysia. Malaysia is sixteen time zones and over 7700 miles away from Vancouver. A marathon, 20+ hour non-stop flight with up to a 3-hour stopover in Seoul, Korea. One can only read the in-flight magazines for so long, and if you’re a speed reader, you had better bring other means of diversion like an iPhone or tablet PC, or resign yourself to the limited selection of onboard movies and music. Or just go to sleep, if you can do it with all the goings-on in the background.
I’ve visited Malaysia in the cold of Vancouver winter a few times. Never, ever during July or August (or even September). Because when you disembark, you’re emerging from the air-conditioned (if highly recycled) comfort of the plane to a blast furnace that cools down imperceptibly, even if a tropical storm has happened. Sweaters are highly optional, 24/7, 365 days of the year, unless you work in an air-conditioned office. The humidity and heat grow personally more unbearable with every passing year, as do the flies that find my exposed flesh delectable.
Having actually grown up eating a largely Asian cuisine (of which Malaysian made up a significant portion) and experienced an accompanying diversity of cultural tastes that go with it, dishes like kampua mee, Hainanese chicken rice, char kway teow, and desserts like curry puffs, kaya, chendol, satay, and tengee salad were familiar favourites. However, I was also exposed to treats that would not be readily available in Vancouver for years (or were very expensive), including starfruit, mangosteen, lychee, green oranges, and durian (which I like a lot, but is an acquired taste and smell).
Malaysia is an interesting combination of ancient and cosmopolitan with a uniquely exotic appeal. During my last visit, I had never even heard of the Petronas Towers or the Kuala Lumpur Tower, or seen the dramatic changes that would transform Kuching into a vibrant metropolis with five-star resorts, premier golf courses, and sometime in the near future, one with a new (and green) financial hub.
- Daily Prompt: Come Fly with Me (dailypost.wordpress.com)