15th July 2009 - With the wedding and the food feasting over, my time travelling with family was coming to a close. The very last part of this involved me travelling with my parents and some other family back to Kuala Lumpur. What I had learned so far from my trip in Malaysia was that there are two distinct seasons in the peninsula part of the country; that of hot and dry or hot and wet.
The advantage of a country such as Malaysia is that since it is a peninsula, there are two coasts so any time of the year you can happily visit either side while the other side suffers lots of rain and humidity. Because of this, I found out that now was the best time to visit the east coast of peninsula Malaysia, an area that I knew little about, and the best way to reach there was through Taman Negara via Kuala Lumpur.
One of the most difficult things to think about when backpacking is souvenirs. While souvenirs are a usual part of most holidays, it is a different story when you are backpacking. Each additional piece that you decide to carry with you is invariably going to be carried by you.
Over a few months, this additional weight gets more and more bothersome not to mention the difficulties of varying levels of customs and the chances of breakages. This is why travelling back to Kuala Lumpur with family that were heading home afterwards was a very convenient situation. Any souvenirs that I wanted to buy I could just pass back to my family to take home with them and being such a great shopping mecca (even for a guy), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Though I did manage to enjoy myself in the capital both with family and without, I was eager to move on and would have after a couple of days if not for my cousin wanting to meet up. Unfortunately, he seemed a bit tired and after a few days, he was diagnosed with Dengue fever. One of the most dangerous diseases that you can pick up while in the tropics, this potentially fatal disease is caused by mosquito bites and most annoyingly, has no vaccine. Your best bet is mozzie spray and crossing your fingers.
Considering that this was the second case of Dengue that I had witnessed (and both victims being locals), I couldn’t really argue with the dangers. Thankfully he didn’t require hospitalisation but it did mean I waited in KL a week longer than I would have liked and picked up a cold. It is at this point that I came to really despise air conditioners. Though they do keep you cool in an otherwise stiflingly hot environment, they seem to be too effective at times and not enough at other times and someone always seems to turn it down too low. From this point on, I almost always chose a fan room instead. After recovering for a bit, I was finally on my way to more adventure.