Monday, March 21, 2011

The Cute Town With a Catch

Location: Taman Jambu, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
Oh man. Travel has its ups and downs, and that's why people love travel, to be sure, but sometimes the downs are really scary. Like, we've had rough rides on the roads. There was that minibus wending its way through northern Thailand, and the driver's gone from Chiang Mai to Pai before and he knows there's 729 bends in he road (or whatever number the t-shirts boast), so why would he gun the engine and never relent? Why would he insist on whipping angrily around every hairpin turn?

We had a tuk-tuk driver like that in Bangkok, too. He drove us from the mall to our hotel like he was pissed at us, but every time he happened to turn his head his expression was calm and slightly bored: jackrabbit starts and abrupt braking was just his style, as was squeezing between vehicles in active traffic.

But this is a different kind of loathing I want to talk about. We checked into a cheap hotel, Peking Hotel, because it looked pretty nice and it's cheap. We blew into Taiping, Malaysia, this afternoon and no sooner did our boots hit the sidewalk than the skies released a torrent of rain. We hid in a KFC for a couple hours, making small talk and having a little lunch, waiting for the downpour to relent but it never did. It only ranged from "pissing" to "end of world." Eventually I put on a rain jacket and took some advice from a friendly young Muslim man (who refused to acknowledge Rebecca, unfortunately) and sought a cheap hotel in the SW end of town.