Day 124: Durian Gray

• Actually having the choice of a lie in today was a god send. However, like every Saturday morning back home, I woke up early.

• Everyone took a while to get up and going, I was the first to get up and have a shower (out of character I know). Anna was the last.

• My first task of the day was to visit the post office and send gifts home for the family. Anna joined me, the sub total of a box weighing 1.2kg was £9. That was so cheap, I was expecting to pay around £30, like I would have in Thailand.

• With my bag free of the presents I’d been carrying since December, we returned to the room to meet the others. They weren’t quite ready, so it was my turn to accompany Anna.

• We visited a nearby shop so she could grab some postcards, and I bought some breakfast cereal, bowl and spoons (I finished the whole box by the end of the day :D). When Megan and Sarah were ready, the 4 of us went for breakfast.

• My eyes were bigger than my belly (an issue I’ve always struggled with) and I made the mistake of ordering a Chinese clay pot. It was filled to the brim with rice, and chicken, and was so big that I struggled to finish it.

• With a belly full of food, what better activity to do than hiking. We darted back to the room to prepare ourselves, then headed out in an attempt to find a watchtower.

• We walked the same way as yesterday, stopping to do a couple pull ups on the way. When we reached the direction signs we were slightly confused. There were two signs, one read “watchtower 1hour” ahead. The other read “watchtower 45minutes” the way we’d come from.

• We decided to continue on, seeing as we hadn’t passed any tower. However, 5 minutes into the walk we hit a dead end, and reached a camp site. Then the rain came. We took shelter under some tall fern trees, and were befriended by a kind Malaysian woman.

• Her name was Kay, and was from Kuala Lumpur. She introduced us to her family, she had a young daughter named Allysha, and her husband was called Rudolph. He told us of places beyond the campsite, one of which was the mossy forest. He said it was like a scene from Harry Potter, where the moss is overgrown. Before we left them, they offered to show us around KL when we arrived. We gave them our numbers, Facebook names, and whatsapp addresses before walking out into the rain.

• Now, I don’t know why I didn’t walk away and return to the hotel, leaving the girls to go it alone. I would have been well within my rights, seeing as I only had a T-shirt on to keep dry, but not wanting to miss anything, I endured. Their may have been the occasional moan here and there, ok, a lot of moaning on my part, but I was wet and cold.

• We gave up on finding the tower in the end, and decided to visit the market at Binchang instead. Yay, another market! We stopped on the way for coffee and cakes, during which time Sarah told horror stories from her days at work.

• At the market we didn’t buy any clothes, instead we bought edible goods. We tried a honeycomb slice which was really sweet, but the combs themselves wouldn’t dissolve in our mouths. They were really chewy, so when the honey went, we spat out the rest.

Next, we tried a durian. Possibly the most horrendous fruit in existence. They are the most revolting fruit anyone could wish to see. Why they pick them in the first place is anyone’s guess. They are large like coconuts, and spiky like conker shells. They look more like a medieval weapon than something you’d eat. Oh, and they have the foulest scent imaginable. Regardless of all this Anna, Megan and myself bought one – again, out of curiosity. We picked the smallest one for 2 ringgit. When we broke it’s shell off, it’s core was revealed. The texture was like fish, and it’s taste was somewhere between an onion and garlic. In short, it was the worst thing I had ever had in my mouth. I think it’s safe to say we didn’t finish it, and threw the whole thing in the bin.

The last edible items to be purchased at the market were sweet potato balls. They tasted more like dough balls than potatoes, but to get 10 for 3 ringgit was a bargain.

• As we walked back down the street, eating our balls, the girls began hitch hiking again. One young man appeared out of nowhere and offered us a lift. His name was Emmy, and after Sarah discovered the large Sherlock Holmes book, he told us he was a fan of the British detective. Emmy was 24 like us, and had just finished 5 years of studying food management. He said he wanted to be an owner of a restaurant one day. He was really sweet, after saving us from the rain in his tiny car, he stopped to explain to his dad where he was going, then he dropped us as close as he could to our hotel.

• We skipped the Starbucks visit, and decided to return to the room. Not before the girls bought some hot chocolate sachets in a nearby store. We remained there for a long time then, as it took a while to warm ourselves up again. Sarah had the misfortune of a cold shower, and later on, 2 of Anna and Meg’s friends arrived.

• They had met Chelsea and Sachiko at earlier points of their travels. While they were busy chatting, Sarah and I were researching Malaysia’s national park. Taman Negara. The girls decided to go out for food that evening, but because I was still feeling full I gave it a miss. Instead, I remained in the room, Skyped my mum, and researched places to stay in KL, as well as things to do at the national park.

“But Ben, you never do any research! You usually leave it all to Sarah!!!!!”
“Yes well, it’s 2013 people, not the 1920’s, it’s not up to the women to do all the work!”

• Surprisingly, I got a lot done, even after my phone call, which went on for 30 minutes. I found at least 10 places to stay, and learned that it’s probably a waste of money to hire a tour at the park. When the girls got back, they didn’t say it, but I could tell they were well impressed with my discoveries. We eventually decided on a hostel to stay at in KL, and suggested we head there the next day. We turned down the hostel Megan suggested, after reading 3 reviews in a row about bed bugs. With the last 4 beds in a hostel booked, we decided to go to bed (at 1:35am) for a carefree nights sleep.

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