May 14, 2012.

Still in Georgetown. I spent the previous day shopping for a pair of long pants that don’t scream “hippy”, a challenge. That evening I met 3 guys who are going to prove to be some of my favorite traveling companions in quite some time. Julian from Germany, Paulo from Italy and Darraugh from England. We made plans to head out to see Kek Lok Si Temple, and also the snake temple, both on different parts of the island. We also meet up with another lovely soul, Leo, also from Germany and he joins our happy little family. We take local buses which are super new, clean and very air-conditioned (ie: freezing cold). Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and took 20 years to build. it`s a massive complex which we all happily explore, sometimes together sometimes apart, always managing to merge back together quite seamlessly.

 

The Snake temple is on another part of the island and turns out to be much smaller than we anticipated, however we do get to see some poisonous guys (no touching) and a couple boas that we could touch but if we wanted to hold them (and I did) we had to pay (so I didn’t).

Back to our guesthouses we get cleaned up and head out for some Indian food, eaten straight off a banana leaf with our hands (right hand only of course). It is so tasty and we are all fat after and super happy about it. After eating we walk down the street and I see a guy who is selling Paan, I have always been curious about it and the guys were keen to try it as well so we did. The man built the leaf tight in front of us, adding about 15 different ingredients, spices like cinnamon and clove and a nicotine paste amongst many other things, all wrapped up in a leaf. You are meant to hold it in your cheek taking the odd chew and spitting out the juice. I thought it was tasty though the texture was a bit difficult. Julian bailed first, he thought it was disgusting; mine broke apart too much while I was trying to transfer it from one side of my mouth to the other so I had to spit it out. I can’t remember whether Paulo or Darraugh was next to get rid of it but it made Darraugh throw up (such a shame, all that good food). Leo was the master, holding it for about half an hour. Our tongues were some pretty astonishing shades of orange after.

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