I lost track of time somewhere... I slipped on the stairs of my bunk bed in Kuala Lumpur the morning I had to take a bus to Melaka, and I might as well be a kind of Alice, but that's mostly when I realized I don't even know which day of the week is it, I'm in a la-la-land looking for strange orangutans (mental I know).

I didn't land on my feet though (oh, the irony), what I thought was a silly slip turned my little toe completely blue. A nice capsulitis to make me slow down with a big backpack in my shoulders. I decided to stay one more night and head the next day. It was an easy trip even if my foot hurt, but I took it easy (and somewhat boring if it wasn't that I can entertain myself quite well) in Melaka and if you look past the tourist easy thing when thousands of singaporeans (what?) flood the streets of the town, there's so many hidden things to see and do.

Only, they might not be the ones you expect.

Also, Nyonya Changs are the cure to a lot of things.



And this where I start to make less sense than ever: 

I am as cliché as the rest of the tourists of the world, even when I end up being the only white girl (it's what I've been called here a few times) in an all chinese court food eating laksa or ask for an amazing roti in an all indian restaurant (for lack of a better name), I'm that white tourist that hides from the obviously touristy places and tries to transform it in Travel, with a capital T. I'm the one that still has all those romantic notions of traveling, so I'm still as cliché as the next person. 

I've been fascinated with Georgetown ever since some friends mentioned that the actual house where Indochine was filmed in a house there; one of those fascinations that owe much to a dreamy adolescence, when I thought everything I saw or read was special somehow (despite my slightly actual anarchic tendencies, I actually loved discovering and being able to access culture at that age, I'm quite fortunate about that). 

Indochine was one of those love stories that I actually liked, and it might actually tell you a lot about my taste on those and how happy endings aren't usually my thing. Mind, I've never been much of a fan of love stories to begin with (Jane Austen not included) but we all learn from somewhere. 

The house in question, the one that overlooked the fields of rubber that Deneuve's character took care of was actually the house of a very rich chinese merchant named Cheong Fatt Tze. It was one of a lot of houses that he constructed around his world, his favorite for sure if it was were his 8 wives lived. It's been nicknamed The Blue Mansion, because after the family descendants left it and decided to rent the rooms, nobody took care of its maintenance and the paint faded with the sea air or who knows why but it started to turn blue (someone might, not me that's for sure). People from Penang recognized it for his blue outside tint, that's why it's still blue now. 

Of course I went. 

While visiting it, the guide mentioned that the traditional chinese courtyard should include the 5 elements (air, wood, fire, metal, water) to bring good fortune, and she suddenly made the ci qong form of water with her hands when she started to explain the engineering of it: how after the collection of rain water in the courtyard, it enters and moves easily within the house, but it drains slowly. Water is fortune, money, prosperity so it makes sense that it enters quickly but leaves the house  slowly. 

My hands slowly made the form too, almost by reflex. 

I've been thinking a lot about water ever since I went to the Cameron Highlands, at last more consciously. About how it can permeate everything and be so dangerous, but at the same time if you can reach some balance it's good. In the end what I've also realized is that the three things I think about more often include water in some way or another: bottles of drinking water, a shower and having my clothes clean (and dry). Things that I used to get really easily, but that now I appreciate so much more. 

Water is change and danger, the abysm against too much ambition, but if it reaches an understanding with your own heart through sincerity and truthfulness is the way of learning and winning (says the I Ching). 

But water are also feelings, and I have to say that I feel open and excited and quiet in ways I've never felt. Hopeful might be the best word. 







Sometimes, the same fact can change shades really easily and then not mean the same thing at all. In the batch of pictures I wanted to keep as a record there should have been a few of the famous rafflesia flower that I went to see yesterday... except that it was, by far, one of the wettest days of my life and I didn't take any picture with my iphone and I just hope my film camera is alright.  

From the top. I'm in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, and a friend and I decided that when in Rome, we might as well book a hike tour to see a few of the rafflesia flowers, famous for being the biggest flowers of the world. It's been raining on the Cameron Highlands on and off for the last few days,  nothing serious... until that day, of course. The hike became a 3-4 hour trek at a fast pace because we had to cross 3 different rivers and the water level was going up. The rain became stronger and stronger and the current of the last river was up to my hips... which, once you are there, you cross. Between that and the rain, I ended completely wet for a few hours, my trekking shoes making noises, my jeans weighting three times more, the t-shirts I was wearing were wet under my jacket, even my panties by the time we were having lunch... 

Obviously, It made me think how heavy rain had actually sent me to unhappy land back in Thailand; but not this time, I'm actually really proud of myself for completing the trek and I was quite happy about having done it, not because of the flowers, which I got to see, but of a sense of accomplishment.  It's the silliest thing but I feel like a bit stronger about it, as if I was an adventurer not the silly city woman I feel that I am. 

The pictures I have (in a usb pen somewhere) of this day are actually from a friend who was more clever than me and had a poncho (a poncho that I now own, by the way, *grin* I love travelers in Malaysia) and had more protection for the electronics of the camera. Instead I have pictures of another excursion about what I'm becoming quite addicted to: tea. Well, tea and the Cloud forest at Mount Brinchang, where I think hobbits, or their Orang Asli counterparts, live. Also, if he ever reads this he knows it's completely and totally his fault, but I've never had so many cups of tea in a day in my life... do *not* trust the british when it comes to tea, is my only advice, and trust them even less after an educational morning at a tea plantation. 

Malaysia is being quite good with me, tomorrow bus ride to Pulau Penang.