Thursday, February 11, 2016



I should have booked the train ticket earlier.  My fault came about in not keeping a close eye on Chinese New Year.

They go nuts for it in Asia - for some reason.  I suspect it's because their companies give them time off work.  Why this is celebrated outside of China is something I really don't understand.  Why it still exists in these modern times, also something I don't understand.

There are lots of things I really don't get.  But as David Lopan says...

So I booked the sleeper train for a twelve hour fun ride south.  The problem was there were only four spaces in the next several days available.  And they were all top bunks.

Asking me to get climb the narrow ladder into something roughly the size of a coffin and squirm my way in there is almost cruel.  But, it was that or nothing.  Since my visa only had a couple days left on it, I opted for attempting to fill the space allotted to a small Asian person.

It was nightmarish.

At my age and with my various problems, the thing I love to do more than anything else is get up several times a night to go pee.

So it became a painful obstacle course.  Bashed my back, nearly tore my shorts, spent a lot of time wishing I had a pee bottle.

It felt like this.

Best of all - zero sleep.

Eventually, got off the train in Penang Malaysia.  Really close to Georgetown.  The place where I nearly died from Dengue Fever before.  Didn't want to go there.

Decided to go with my traveler mentor's advice and did some walking around.  For some odd reason there seemed to be only two hotels close to the train station - one was 'closed' and the other was some dilapidated crap that wanted the equivalent of twenty USD for a night.

What the fuck.

As I wandered around with my stuff, I took care to stop and rest occasionally as well as drink water.  I don't think it helped.  I was only out for an hour or two but that sun is merciless - especially when you are carrying all your stuff.

I eventually decided I'd just have to go sleep in disease central.

As I'm waiting for the ferry, I felt my blood pressure begin to plummet.  My hands and arms started shaking.  I managed to sit down and remove my kit.  There were a couple super friendly Spanish folks and a French guy there to keep an eye on me.  Tourists look out for each other - which is awesome.  My vision began to narrow.  There was a rushing in my ears.  I wanted to shit myself.

I concentrated on just breathing.

Eventually, I came out of it.  I'm thinking it was probably sun stroke, heat exhaustion or something like that.  I've no idea.

Passing out and shitting myself in the medically wildly overpriced Malaysia - not high on my 'to do' list.

The Spanish guy grabbed my computer bag and carried it for me.  I was hella grateful.

Eventually, we got to the ferry.  I started drinking water.  Whether it is Dengue or heat stroke, water and rest are the cure.  Water I could do but there was a bunch of walking that needed to be done yet.

For Logan's Voyage readers not from Earth, here is an example of water.  Note, if an Earth-man is dehydrated, complete submergence for an extended period of time will cure him completely of dehydration.

Since I knew the place pretty well after living (and nearly dying) there, I took them over to the row of cheap places to stay on "Love Street".  The locals don't seem to know that name but all of the tourists do.  Ask them if you need it.

Full.  Chinese New Year.  Amazing.

They weren't digging the accommodations, so they moved on.  I found a shameful nightmarish place that the room was nearly the same size as the bed for fifty ringgits.

By comparison, the place I'm staying now is sixty and still has an outdoor bathroom (that only parts work - plumbing is hard) and it is sixty.  It also reeks of cigarette smoke because they'd rather have people smoke in their rooms that in a hallway or something.  I've been told that for eighty I can get a 'reasonable' place.  Although spending close to twenty a night is annoying (and double what I want to spend) I might have to do it for a couple days till I find the cheaper places.

After checking into the room, I ended up falling asleep on the porch in an uncomfortable chair for a few hours.  Not sure how many - more than one, less than four.

Probably not me.

It surprised me how many people I saw there who recognized me.  Even the super old guy who runs the gangster bar said "Oh - you're back".  When he recognizes you... Well, you're probably an alcoholic.

One of my contacts there told me Dengue continues to plague the region.  Not so bad recently but a lot of tourists have fallen to it.  Pity there are no international laws to get people to fess up to this so they'd actually fix it.

Came across the Spaniards and insisted on buying them a drink there.  Carrying my bag was quite a lifesaver.

The next day was escape time.

But with less guns.

Booked a bus ticket at the place where I'd contracted Dengue from.   Oh, nostalgia!

Got picked up by a mini van which transferred us to a bus to get to the bus station where we caught the actual bus.   Seems like a lot of steps to me.

Once we got aboard the bus for Ipoh (heard it was around a four hour journey) I fell asleep.  Big time.  Out like a light.

Of course, it didn't drop me off at the bus station in town.  No, it was some 'new' bus station north of the city.  Great.  Paid thirty five ringgits (heard it was suppose to be thirty but the five foreigner tax I could live with) to get dropped off in the 'hotel area'.

One of the things I like about the USA is that if you have something on a sign, you must actually have that thing or you can get sued over 'false advertising'.  This is not the case in other places.  The hotel advertising a thirty ringgit room - no, their cheapest was a pretty horrible looking eighty.  I was given vague directions to a different place supposedly owned by the same company which might have such a room - no, I just left.

"Arguing with the dishonest will not make them honest." - Logan Horsford

Went to a different hotel which wanted fifty five.  "Do you have wifi?"  Oh no - we are just a hotel, they told me.  Indicating they felt such things as wifi would be way too fancy for them.  The one next door cost five ringgits more and has good wifi.   But smells as though smokers were having a 'fuck it, lets get cancer' party in here.

Got directed to a 'famous' noodle house.  The 'chicken rice' places (they have no other designation) are the most disorganized worst run establishments I've come across in SE Asia.  I asked if restaurants of this type have some sort of special name (restaurant doesn't seem appropriate) but was told they don't.

Here's how they work.  You go find a place to sit, usually sharing a table on simple plastic stools with other people.  If crowds freak you out, you'll run.  You must then somehow attract the attention of only specific people who are suppose to take your order.  If you get the wrong person's attention (though they are still wearing the restaurant's uniform) they will tell you 'not my job'.  The waiters are trained to not see you.  If you wear them down, they will come find out what you want.  You then wait for a different guy who brings around drinks of various types.  They may or may not charge you separately.   After a couple drinks, I gave up on the first place.  Went to the second - same sort of place.  Hated the food.  Paid, left.

Later, I discovered the restaurant literally across the street had better and cheaper food.  Wondered why I'd been sent a few blocks away.

And that's my first two days back in Malaysia.

Looking forward, I'm thinking that I'd like to stay in this town for at least a couple days.  I may have to upgrade to the more expensive hotel a lawyer I was chatting to recommended.  Not only would I like to see this town but I need to monitor my physical condition for a couple days.  Right now, I'm experiencing twitching, muscle pain and a bit of weakness.  Need to relax for a couple days I'm thinking.

Yeah.  The glamour of travel.


Whether you like or hate the Goodreads site, I'm using it to keep track of what books I listen to.

My profile. Hopefully that will link it.

Fair warning: Most books get a 1/5 (they don't do /10 ratings) simply because if I don't like a book after listening to it for 1-60 minutes, I will move on trying to find a book that rates on my scale at least a 6/10 or higher. Life is too short for mediocre shit. Hence, if someone says "Oh, it gets better", I've found this to be (for me) usually not true. Every author knows the beginning of the book (and the 'hook') are vital. I have no time for authors that can't make the beginning grab me just a little bit.
Or readers whose voices I find annoying.

But, I know that some people like keeping an eye on which books I actually like and know that I am pretty frigging selective on what I actually finish.

So I'm putting up this link to my profile for those people.

Just to recap - I'm not interesting in giving all books a 'fair chance' - rather I am trying to quickly sort to find the best and give them my time.

PRICES (Malaysia, in ringgits)

Under 20:  Meal.
50:  Horrifying place to stay.
60:  Larger, though yet horrifying.
80:  Supposedly reasonable place to stay.
100:  This is too fancy for Logan to contemplate.

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{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

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{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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