Day 142: With “Goddard” As My Witness

• Today saw us getting up at the earliest hour yet, 4am. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for the drug addict sharing the bed with me. To help induce sleep, the previous evening Sarah popped not one, but two Xanex tablets. I didn’t get to sleep until around midnight (giving me only 4 hours slumber in total) but felt surprisingly alert when the alarm rang.

• It didn’t take long to pack the last of our things, and when we were ready we headed downstairs to hand in our key. For some unknown reason, the door was locked. After a couple knocks a bleary eyed man opened it. It was a rather strange situation, after Sarah came back out she informed me there were 10 guys watching a Manchester United game on the telly. We unlocked the front door to the building, handed in the key, then made our way to the bus stop. The guys at Lavender Guesthouse were very nice, helpful people, and they wished us all the best in our travels as we said our goodbyes. I’d highly recommend the guesthouse to anyone who is thinking about visiting Melaka, it’s not only cheap, but it’s very well situated too.

• We had enough time to eat the whole box of cereal before the bus arrived. We chucked the bags in the undercarriage and hopped aboard for a cold 2 hour journey. The a/c was on full blast and because the fan above our head was broken, it meant we couldn’t get away from it. It wouldn’t have been so bad had it been later in the day when the temperature would have been higher. In the end I stuffed the curtain beside me into the broken hole. It suddenly got a lot warmer.

• At 7am we had arrived at the airport and made good time. Initially we thought the journey would last 3 hours, making our arrival and Rachael’s arrival pretty similar. We ended up sitting in the cold airport for 2 and a bit hours, during which time I watched the last of Mad Max 3, and the druggie slept! By the time the curly haired wonder arrived we were shivering.

Rachael is a good friend of Sarah’s, they met during their time at Birmingham university. With such a strong bond being made, they have remained in touch ever since. Rachael stands around 5’6″, has long brown curly hair, and on some level resembles a brunette Taylor Swift. Unlike the musician, Rachel is much more fun and nowhere near as annoying – or slutty. She’s a constant worrier, one time it took her a good half an hour to pick the right costume for the next day. She is obsessed with butterflies, and loves the colour purple. I told her the two together would make a great name for a bar. Purple Butterfly has a certain ring to it. But she wouldn’t be interesting in starting such a venture, as by trade, Rachael is a physiotherapist. By the time she leaves us I am determined to get exercise tips from her, and possibly a workout plan to rebuild Rome (aka my body). Oh and as it later transpired, she is the most generous person I know, it’s no wonder she had the word God in her surname.

• With Rachael now at our side, the three of us located a bus. It took us to the other airport where we’d be flying to Borneo. The bus journey was about 20 minutes, and when we arrived we paid the extortionate fee of 28 ringgit (£5) to put our bags in storage. We needn’t have bothered, we only had 4 hours before we’d be able to check in (or so we thought) and it would take an hour to reach the city centre. Unfortunately for Rachael she wouldn’t get to see the Petronas Towers until her last few days, on accounts of us not having enough time today.

• We visited the Old Town Coffee shop so we could introduce Rachael to the country’s speciality. White coffee. The poor girl had been awake for some time, and we were hoping caffeine would help her out. She’s not too keen on coffee, yet did her best to drink it. In the end she gave the last few sips to Sarah. After much planning (entirely on the girls part) we made our way to McDonald’s. Over the next 10 days it looked like we’d be cramming a lot in, thank goodness we rested for so long in Melaka.

• “Ben, I thought you said you had quit McDonald’s, and would never be going back this whole trip!” “Yes I did, but I relapsed!” And I relapsed hard. I ordered a large double McChicken sandwich meal. “Ah delicious trans fats and calories. You’re just what I need, even if it is at the risk of my heart. If you aren’t good for me you wouldn’t taste so good!!!” Before we entered the building the girls had their picture taken with Ronald McDonald. He was a lot shorter than I’d imagined, and a lot more Asian.

• Seeing as we weren’t going to town, we decided to explore the poor excuse of an airport that was LCCT. Much like McDonald’s and Old Town, because they were in an airport everything was overpriced. There was an array of confectionaries to choose from, such as Hershey’s, Reece’s, M&Ms to name but a few. We continued past all those sorts of stalls, and visited an airport duty free store that mostly stocked aftershave and perfumes.

• There were many fragrances, old and new, that the girls admired. But there was one on particular that Sarah fired at me. I wish she hadn’t, it was a squirt of nostalgia. When the particles from the sailor shaped Jean Paul Gaultier bottle hit my neck and shirt, I was transported back. It was a fragrance I’d worn a lot back home. It instantly reminded me of all the great nights out I had with my buddies. It was the first time I’d felt slightly homesick, but luckily it soon passed. If any of my close friends are reading this post, although I don’t say it much, I miss you all and I will one day return so we can do it all over again. Until then, just know I think about you all everyday and I am having the time of my life here in Asia.

• Still having a few hours before take off, we returned to bag storage so we could check our bags in. It transpired, because we had already checked in online we needn’t have spent the money putting them in storage. We could have put the bags through long ago, ah well. We continued through the lacks security, and spent the remaining time in the departure lounge. There was no a/c to keep everyone cool, so as I typed these very words I was very hot.

• At 5:15pm we were all let aboard our plane. It was interesting to watch the culture clash as passengers climbed aboard. The small Malaysian men seemed happy to push by anyone they liked, much to the disgusted look on a European ladies face. Another situation arose when three Japanese men sat in a row together, and a man of another nationality held the ticket to one of the seats. He refused to swap seats with one of them, stating that the seat belonged to him, and he didn’t care if those were his friends or not. For the most part of the flight I read my “Marching Powder” book, and listened to music. I moved seats before take off so I could sit in the free seat beside Sarah and Rachael. Good job I did, otherwise I wouldn’t have got the photo Sarah took of the beautiful sun set from her window seat. The sky was every shade of red, and the purple pink clouds covered the sky like a blanket. After it went through the prism of Instagram, the photo was damn near magical.

• Seeing as we were on a domestic flight, it took no time at all to get through immigration in Borneo. Even our bags were quick to arrive on the conveyor.

• In order to get a taxi to our hostel we had to buy a coupon inside. It was pretty pricey to say we were only going 6km down the road. But we paid the 30 ringgit (£6) because we had to. As soon as we were about to get in the taxi, a Dutch girl asked if she could join us.

• We had a spare seat in the front, so we kindly let her come along. She too was looking forward to diving, she was hoping to go with her friend she was about to meet. However, she then dropped the bomb. The civil unrest we were aware of had worsened. So much so that the foreign office was recommending tourists not go to certain areas due to the situations escalation.

• This was very annoying to say the least, and after checking a map later that evening, it had ruled out a lot of our activities. After the 4 of us left the taxi, Sarah, Rachael and I went to the hostel Sarah had booked. Or at least that’s what we thought. They were sold out, which was confusing seeing as we had a reservation and all. Upon further inspection of emails and screenshots, we discovered Sarah had booked up the following night by mistake. “Urgh, could this day get any worse!?”

• We walked around the corner and found another hostel called Bunibon. With a stroke of luck they had 3 free beds in a mixed dorm. We snatched it up immediately, and after dropping off our bags, we went out for food.

• We didn’t go too far as Rachael wasn’t feeling too good (I’m not surprised. The girl had been up for a ridiculous amount of time). We went as far as the road lead, but because we had McDonald’s earlier that day, we didn’t fancy KFC or Burger King. In the end we decided on a small local restaurant, stopping in a 7 Eleven on the way. More bad luck, the shop must have had a power cut at some point, as there was no a/c, the fridges were warm, and the worst crime of all… The slurpee machine was down!

• By this stage there had been too many bad omens for it to be a coincidence. Either we had picked up a curse, or Rachael was bad luck. “Surely nothing more can go wrong tonight right?” “I mean, sure I’ve ordered food, but it’s not like they can mess up chicken and noodles!” How wrong I was. When the lady brought over my meal, I ended up with chicken noodle soup. It wouldn’t have been so bad, had I actually got some chicken on the bone, what I received was more like bone broth!

• The 3 of us decided to conclude the evening after that final nail in the coffin. Hoping we could lose this curse during the walk back. Luckily we made it back safely, then the girls formulated a plan for the next few days, as Sarah was determined to make Rachael’s trip worth while.

• We were set to visit a couple islands the next day. We would be doing some snorkelling and relaxing on the beaches. And seeing how I had caught up with the blog, my secret tanning battle with Sarah would be back with a vengeance. For the mean time we had to sleep. With me only having had 4 hours sleep, and Rachael having stayed up for over 30 hours, between us we were exhausted. At 00:30 we called it a night, and it would probably be the last time we’d be white, as after tomorrow’s activities we’d be going to bed as humanised lobsters!!!

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