There is something about South East Asia. The exotic nature (both literally, and figuratively) of these places have long enchanted the western mind. The flights are brutal, parts of ones ass go numb that you didn’t realize existed. There is, however, an inherent sense of accomplishment after the grand return. When I returned from Sarawak, and Bako national park, burned and salt blasted, I felt like an exhausted, yet intensely proud “million bucks”. Climbing a mountain, located within a rain forest in one of the more remote places on the planet, meeting with a group of good people from various countries, and taking the view from the top…surreal magic.
Getting back to Singapore the next day was a drastic shift on every level. Still exotic, but in a vastly different way. I wanted to hit a few hawker markets and make the most of my remaining time in one of my new favorite cities. I have a friend who lived in Singapore for a few years, and insisted that I make my way to what I will call “satay” street, and also to the Lau pa sat festival market, to stall number 7, and to seek out the mighty prawn debauchery that would ensue. Let me just say here and now; I survived (mostly) my pepper crab battle… Now the prawns came at me in force, in multiple numbers and their later reinforcements brought garlic, butter, and their heavier brethren, the king prawn. My imminent seafood drunk lasted near 24 hours.
They come by the plate, and on sticks! A mighty combination.
His close ally, the octopus came to join, also on sticks.
This is always the pain of traveling solo. You have no reinforcements of your own. The table was soon littered with the vanquished exoskeletons of my enemies, and I lived to fight another food stall, another day.
Stumbling back to the wee hotel, in haze of proper food drunk satisfaction, I counted my brief return visit to the merlion city to be great success.
My next day venture came complete with a day trip via ferry to Batam, Indonesia… which made for country # 66! Although there isnt much to Batam, and Indonesia will require quite a bit more exploration.
As I was boarding the long series of flights home, I was bummed for a bit. For a brief moment all of the things I had waiting for me on my return suddenly loomed large. I was tired. The geriatric vacationer next to me was all kinds of twitchy, and didnt fit into his seat, despite his seat-belt extender. After telling me the same details about his cruise from Hongkong 4 times I was less than thrilled about the next 11 hours. My mind turned to the mountain of grading, the office work, the various en devours and projects I have undertaken this year…I felt overwhelmed and a touch defeated.
And then, all of a sudden it was quiet. I realized that I was answering student emails from 40,000 ft up, sitting in a dream liner, sipping a ginger ale, returning from climbing a mountain and running down my dreams almost harder than I know how.
…and it felt fuckin great.
I was excited to get back, see friends and family, and keep working on the projects, making needed progress. Knock out these exams, get grades submitted and look forward to what lies ahead.
Now I acknowledge privilege. I truly do. But for so many people, if you want to make it happen, there is one key factor that decides that.
Dreams don’t work, unless you do.
Find a reason to go, or be okay with your excuses not to.
Hope you enjoyed this savage run.
Drop me a line with any questions/feedback.