I'm back in Thailand, for my third go-round, and somehow it's the end of August. How did that happen? I've got two months left in Southeast Asia, and have clocked over three as of now. Time just keeps on moving faster... In any case, here's what I've been up to since Indo:
I hopped a flight to Kuala Lumpur, and found myself once again pleased to be back in lovely Malaysia. It was a little eerie coming from Indonesia to the 6-lane highways of Malaysia, where as we drove down the road in a huge air-conditioned bus I could have sworn I was glancing out at the high-rises and strip malls of Orange County. But, KL itself was not so bad. Fortunately, there was a great place to go climbing right outside of town at a tourist area called the Batu Caves. We skipped the sightseeing and headed for the rock, and spent 2 days climbing some great routes, escaping the heat, and continuing to meet fabulous locals. But a week in KL was more than enough.
Next stop was the Cameron Highlands, a beautiful outpost of jungled hills, vibrant tea plantations, fruit and vegetable farms, flower gardens, and supremely cool weather. I skipped out on the package tours and did one myself, taking local transport to the next town up, and walking all day through tea plantations, strawberry farms, and browsing colorful veggie stands. Though the Highlands are famous for their strawberries, I found they didn't hold a candle to California's... but still I enjoyed my fair share of strawberry ice cream and organic ripe ones. Afterwards, I took a 3-hour hike through beautiful jungle, and made it back just in time for a giant meal of incredible Indian food. I found the Highlands a little too touristy but beautiful nonetheless, and it was easy to overlook the giant tourbuses in favor of the gorgeous rolling hills. In any case, after careful consideration of my options and finances, I decided it was time to get back to Thailand.
Once again, I got into Thailand and headed straight for the rocks in Ton Sai. I was stoked to find I've improved a lot as a climber, and had fun trying things I couldn't dream of doing 3 months ago. Sweet! It was also the very, very LOW season, so we found a bungalow for about $3 a night and plenty of quiet time. I missed some of my old Ton Sai buddies, but found a new crew of great kids to chill and climb with. The weather was insanely rainy, but was strangely a blessing -- no more days of brutal humidity and ruthless mosquitos. I AM still covered in mosquito bites, and bruises on my knees, but things definitely improved for the better.
And now, I'm back to Koh Phangan, one of my favorite islands in the world, to do a little howling at the full moon and lots of yoga.