I wasn't really expecting Malaysia, I mean, I really wasn't really expecting the reality of Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur as such, I thought it was one thing and the impressions I keep having are totally different. I might make this ideas that might be glossy-paper-magazine about a place and what I find always surprises me.  The three cultures and how they mix and how they don't is really interesting to see. And, it might be a bit soon to say so, but I think I might be a bit in love with it. I suppose it also helps that I met this crazy bunch of travelers that, more or less, really *get* what I'm doing, because they are also doing the same thing. 

The city is more "user friendly" than Bangkok in the sense that there's more public transportation, and there's also less people trying to make you take a cab or sell you something. And the indian food is *amazing*. 

I had time to visit like a proper tourist, climb to the Batu Caves, see the Petronas (which thanks to the girl I was with I now keep calling the "expecto patronum"), go to the Butterfly Park, visit the Museum of Islam Arts, and all either walking or just taking public transport, and, more often than not, we were the only foreigners. Well, I don't believe we were the only ones, and we could have never blended in, but it was awesome to be part of a daily life thing. 

The hostel I was at was absolutely fantastic by the way. Not the cheapest one, but friendly and so so beautiful, that it really felt like the name, Back Home. It also gave the opportunity to taste peanut butter and to realize why americans love it so much: tea, toast with peanut butter and fruit first thing in the morning became one of my guilty pleasures. 


When I was in Bangkok I met this guy who said that I was dressing as a tomboy, he said he wasn't judging me, but it actually felt like he was. It felt like it was important to him the fact that I wasn't in a dress at that moment, like the other girls around me. I have dresses, I love dresses actually but at that moment I felt I want to be even more of a tomboy, I'm starting to realize that what people want to pin me as is something I don't care much at all. 

But thinking is inevitable, even when I have friends in the hostel or the guesthouse I'm in. My mind is kind of inventing itself again, re-writting a new narrative about the things I learn about myself. 

I want to create, invade, re-estructure, this kind of bubble universe that my mind is actually constructing, but I also want to get out, to collaborate with someone, to design something, a magazine, a book, a blog, to construct something based on communication. 

What is communication to you? What kind of creative ways of communication can you find? 



Here's when I tell you how I said goodbye to Thailand. 

Sooner than I wanted to or than I planned, and it felt really harsh to do it, but as the bad weather kept following me, and I'm not talking about the moonson season down south, but of deep fog and constant rain, I just didn't want to keep waiting in Krabi for days without end, were even a lot of the boats to go down to the sea were moored due the storms. 

I've been traveling at quite a rate, I feel, as if I had to get back home really soon, I imagine due a bit of  inertia as what you usually do on a holiday, I think I kept forgetting about the fact that I have a few more months ahead. Moreover, I took this really disgusting night ferry from Koh Tao to the mainland in Surat Thani, where I really didn't sleep at all, mostly because I was squeezed between a friend... and a girl I've never met before, the promised beds were actually mats on the floor and underneath them cockroaches lived quite happily. 

That's why when I arrived at Krabi and I saw this deep fog settled over the whole province I kind of broke down a bit. I thought about having to spend a week copped in hostels or guesthouses and... just couldn't. I've also had a few paperwork problems back home that for a while scared me a bit. So, after thinking about it, and thinking about it, and thinking a bit more... I decided to move on. 

Start anew in a new place, flee from the easy tourist traps. And that's why I'm in Malaysia, with plans to move more slowly and learn a new way of traveling. A more slow paced way without the rush of getting the first to the finish line. 

There's no finish line, only the road. 



Getting to Koh Tao was kind of nuts. Well, I'm lying, just a part of the trip was nuts. The bus system in Thailand works like a dream, and there's tons of routes and companies to choose from, so no complaints there, but the catamaran for the island? a complete nightmare. I've been in boats before, but never in my life I've felt so sick. My only consolation, which it really is not, is the fact that I wasn't the only one. Almost everyone got sick, which might tell you something about how it was... It's in moments like this when I realize how far I have my head in the clouds, when a friend who's done the same boat trip tells you afterwards about this great sea sick pills that they sell at the 7eleven. Duh. How did I not think about that before?

Well, what's done is done. 

I found this fantastic offer of a bungalow at View Point Resort at Agoda, which later I saw had really bad reviews, but we decided to check out before making a decision. Maybe I was more ok with it than other customers because I hadn't paid the original price, but I actually thought it was a lovely place. With enough mosquitos to eat me alive, but really nice. And I got to use a mosquito net, which a part of me loved just because felt really old-traveler and because it also felt like a kid's fort... I get strange notions about things. 

It rained constantly and I got complettely soaked a few times but, finally, I got to spend a really nice evening perched on a rock by this really small strip of beach, watching the sea, reading a bit, walking barefoot on the rock, taking a few pictures and watching the sun go down. 

I might get strange notions and I might get my head in some kind of cloud, but my pleasures are simple. 



How do you distribute your day? I'm starting to see and feel that I have a better grasp of how to distribute my day and work on what I want to work in and also see what I want to see. I'm learning to be more slow and not tire myself at the end of the day.  Also, now that I feel I'm grasping how this country works, I think I'm relaxing more and enjoying myself more. 

ALSO: I had an idea, I know some of you really enjoy real life letters and such so if you want to receive something from me while I'm this trip I'll try to buy postcards or letters and start some correspondence. Write my your address here tanit.taltavull at gmail.com. And I'll look for ways of sending you something! 



Chiang Mai is a really nice town, even with how touristy it is, even when you decide to take a walk and get lost for more than an hour and your shoulders achive that attractive lobster red so sought after, even if you think you'll kill the next person who tuk-tuks at you, yes, even then. The heat, as always kind of crazy but there's a moment that you start to deal, after all, you drink water, juice, you sit on the temples with a gentle Buda and the monks and the fans, you sweat and that's ok, it's not exactly the end of the world when afterwards you can shower at your nice hostel. 

Oh, and the spicy soups and the currys are to die for. 

Chiang Mai Day 01

My hostel is outside the old city of Chiang Mai and because there's not what you can call public transport, tuk-tuks and sarangawe and the strange red van cabs are the way to move around, except if you like to walk, which I do, but that's how instead of walking to the city, I started to walk to the 'fabric' (which is what the man who helped me called it, I suppose he meant the factory), and that's how I got my shoulders sunburned. But I arrived and it was a temple day, and Chiang Mai is easy to walk through... sometimes, there also tons and tons of little soi and losing your way is very easy.

I learned two things though: there's no drivers like the thai drivers, an opinion no shared my friend because she is italian, which, yes, she's somewhat right except for the second reason and that's the fact that nobody uses the their horns, and that's why I believe they are better. 

Chiang Mai Day 02

One of the things I set myself on doing in this trip was learning to take somewhat serious trekking trips, which I never do back home because I'm so lazy, so the second day in Chiang Mai I decided to do a only nature trail at Ban Mae Tae. We were only 8 people, curiously enough there was someone from Tarragona (my father hometown), which made us laugh like silly girls because, what are the chances? Tarragona is not that big. 

For someone more trained I'm sure it was a middle in difficulty... for me it was really hard, but I enjoyed myself so much that I think I got the bug. There was a silence and this amazing and overwhelming presence of plants that I just felt small and scratched and tired and great.  


Chiang Mai Day 03

That was a pet peeve of mine, and I don't want to appear neither a snob or a stuck up, but I admit that when I see how some mahouts treat elephants my heart completely breaks, that's why I wanted to do something else when it came to learning about elephants; so, that's why a friend I've made and I decided on going to the Nature Elephant Park in Maetang. I know it's essentially a tourist thing, but it made me happy to see that the money I spent went that way, to caring about injured, maltreated and to rescuing other elephants in situations of abuse and need. 

And they are so imposing, so smilie and big, they looked happy in there, even when they had their hips broken, some where blind, others had no feet due the presence of mines or of neglect. 



So, tomorrow it'll be down south for me, taking the train if we can and using one of my favorites modes of transporation ever. 



I realize now that I had a pair of very hard days, I was starting to think that this trip was a waste of time and that I shouldn't be here and I wanted to go back to Barcelona, to spend the winter there with all my family and friends. Going to Mo Chit Station and dealing with all the hassle of the bus, the huge Weekend Market, the heat, the cold that didn't want to go away, all my bags, all the people... I just wanted to cry my heart out. 

But I got on the bus and decided that before taking the decision I had to see other places, so I got to Sukhothai at 5 AM, and I had to take a taxi to the Guesthouse, which I didn't want to use but Sukhothai is small and it was still dark and I didn't even have a proper map, and he left me at this humble and gorgeous garden, Ban Thai Guesthouse. There wasn't anybody but the driver opened the fence and secured me inside. I sat in one of their chairs and waited for the owners while I watched the sunrise, only the roosters singing it... until the sound system of the village started to blast something that seemed a mix of a pop thai song for the elderly and a wake up call. 

I felt better. 

Even with what little sleep I had that night, I met with a friend and at midmorning we went to see the Old City of Sukhothai. We rented two bikes because it's a huge place, there wasn't a lot of tourists and a part of the place was upside down because they were preparing for Loi Krathong, and I loved every minute of the place.

I think I've never sweated that much in my life, the heat was extraordinary, but I also think the temple cured me. Well, and the calm, the gorgeous guesthouse, the humble room with no A/C, which is my personal nightmare, and sleep. 

Now I'm in Chiang Mai, after another 6 hours in a bus, I have a hostel for three days and I would like to stay for three more, except the town is apparently full with the Loi Krathong. If we manage to find it we'll stay here until next week, if not, we'll see, I might try to look for a place more up north or decide to go down looking for some beaches. We'll see, that was one of the points of all this!



When I stop and think about it there's nothing really special about the trip itself, with me there's thousands of other travelers, others that maybe can chose better and more wisely than me, the only special thing that I can offer you here is myself. Cold included, which has accompanied me ever since I got here, to this city of cities, Bangkok.

I've never quite seen a city like this one, the other big asian city I've been to is Tokyo and Bangkok is nothing like Tokyo. Bangkok is noisy but not overly so, despite the constant crowded traffic, where you can stay stuck for hours, not a lot of horns seem to go off. People, though, can be really loud, and the topic of the smile might not be applicable to bus drivers and other assorted official employees, but that's ok. It's also one of the places where I've seen more people living in the streets and while some might've been perfect models for a photograph it feels almost an insult... but that might be my stupid sensibilities at work. There's also lots and lots of people using this city as it should be used, in the streets, and lots of students wearing uniforms which can be an amazing sight.

Bangkok Day 01:

The multiple temples, buildings, nooks and museums at The Grand Palace are amazing, I've never felt more of a foreigner than in here, surrounded by other foreigners all seeing and watching the same thing.

And Wat Pho and the Reclining Buda. You'll see a lot of Budas in here, this one, I assure you, is special. Not  only because it's huge size but because the peace that you feel when you see it.

Thousands of stalls in front of the Buddhist University. Street living has a new meaning for me now, we have this myth were we belive we know how's it's done in Spain, but we are so so wrong.

Bangkok Day 02:

The Jim Thompson House is quite an obvious tourist attraction, but even in that case, I would recommend it just because it's an example of how a traditional Thai house would look, in other places than Bangkok unless you are extraordinarily rich I mean. It's an amazingly gorgeous house with  a fantastic collection of china and paintings and with really beautiful and lush gardens. Is not a mansion, and it's not really that big, but it gives quite a sense of luxury.

Siam Square as a place to spend time and money. Siam has fame of being a big mall, earned for sure because it's difficult to see malls that big in other places, but not if you walk around a bit you'll see unexpected and very welcome more streets, tons of street vendors, shops that spill out, people just sitting there, watching you pass by, not a lot of taxis or tuk-tuks trying to snatch you attention, and barely no english at all. 

That's how I spent the rest of my day before going back to the hostel to sneeze my life away. 

Bangkok Day 3: 

Today I decided to use the famous boats that taxi people around the canals, the khlongs, and while it's smelly it wasn't that terrible but there's a lot of garbage floating around and it make me think about how we live and how the amount of "things" we buy seem to define our existence, we drown in "things", most of them plastic.

And The Grand Palace from afar. It's been cloudy ever since I've arrived, with some sunny spells and some rain at night, which yes, does wonders for the humidity and the amount you can sweat in a single day.
Mother Earth Squeezing her Hair, a gorgeous statue stuck in the middle of a highway, which amazed me because the smell of exhaust and the rumble of cars was constant, and she was mother earth, but it also humbled me because there was a woman praying and even with all the fumes I caught the smell of some of her incense. What the hell do I know about anything? Nothing, that's what.
And here's the street to my hostel, Lub d, which I must admit that I loved because as I've been carrying this terrible cold with me and it's been a place to relax and sleep it off. They also have been amazingly helpful with directions and arrangements to move around and it's kind of thanks to them that tomorrow I'm trying a new thing: a night bus to Sukhothai.

NB: When I decided on this trip and even with all the saving and planning and talking around and about it, and because this was a time to figure what to do with my life and try my hand at what I've always wanted to do, write, my main concerns were to never be idle and take as much of it as I could. My way of learning as much as I can it's going to be to document it and photograph it and write about it. You all know me mostly by my analogue photography and while I take my camera with me everywhere and take care of the pictures I take with it, sometimes I want the instantaneous of the digital.