The spirit of Southeast Asia Part 1.

Before I start the storytelling I have to admit that Thailand has really touched me. Spiritually and aesthetically as well. I was cycling across the country feeling like the whole population belonged to my family and my journey was an exotic kind of visiting relatives thanks to the kindness and humility of the Thai people. And there was one more thing that completely fascinated me: beside nearly all the houses, stores, parks and rivers little houses could be seen. My curiosity burned with the desire to find out what these weird, fairytalelike, doll’s house looking buildings were, that reminded me of bird tables. So I plunged myself into the Thai tradition a little bit.

Tiny grain of sand from the Thai magic

Tiny grain of sand from the Thai magic

The belief system of the Thai tradition and culture consists of Brahmanism, Animism and the branch of Buddhism, Theravada Nikaya. The Theravada tradition, the oldest branch of Buddhism, the so called “school of the elder monks” is the prevalent form of religion in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and in Thailand, where this means the faith for 95 percent of the population. The aim of the Theravada is to support life, create a peaceful state of mind and to maintain happiness through the original teachings of Buddha. Naturally they believe in reincarnation, to be specific in continuous rebirth, in the law of karma and in development through the principle of causation. If we successfully get over our desires and suffering we arrive to Nirvana, into the state of constant, unconditional love namely to enlightened, eternal life free from any further rebirth.Religion doesn’t deal with the question if God exist, Buddha is considered an enlightened person who has set example for the human kind towards awakening. Without being enlightened, life is anguish but if you help your fellow-beings you can reduce the negative force of your karma so your life’s tasks become nicer and more positive. In addition, if you can work on recognising your desires, your arrogance and rage, your willingness and envy and convert them into understanding and love, then you are on your way. Just as Buddha put it: It’s better to travel well then to arrive.

Anyway there is total religious freedom, the king and the government also supports all kind of religions, which can get along in peace together.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. According to the constitution the king possesses only a little direct authority, his most important role is the protection of the Thai Buddhism and embody the national identity and unity. The Thai people love and respect their king, criticism and the mocking of him is crime.

The reigning family

The reigning family

As you come and go on the streets you surely will meet the highly respected Buddhist monks dressed in orange who add a boost to the exoticism of Thailand. When I set eyes on them it always hits me how we people make this world unique though it’s originally interesting.Yes, we destroy forests, we scatter rubbish, fight our wars but the coin has two sides and we also have wonderful buildings, colourful cultures and a giant heart by which we can create love around us. As I am writing these lines, an old fellow is walking up to me, greets me, pat me on the shoulder and we ended up smiling at each other. I feel honoured and blessed to live here on the Earth. Now let’s turn back to the monks:

In the morning, as a daily routine they rise and set off from the monastery to get food and meet “the normal life”. This is essential for the people and the monks as well because people learn what it feels to donate selflessly and they can ask blessings from the kind, open-hearted monks, while the monks practice goodness and compassion.

But what about the strange little houses coming up at every turn?

Little Red Riding-Hood

Little Red Riding-Hood

Thai people have the belief that ghosts and invisible creatures live among us. They can be good or mean depending on their mood. Here comes into picture this structure called spirithouse.

When a Thai man decides to move into a new house or opens a new store, they meet with a spirithouse expert, namely a Brahmin priest before the opening/moving. The priest using his astrological knowledge determines the place of the house made of teak (one of the most important rule is being outside of the shadow of the house they live in), the colour, the size and shape after which getting in contact with the spirit world, invites the residential spirit to move into the building. Therefore it becomes a sacred place. According to their belief, if you don’t have a spirithouse on your property, then it might happen that the ghost of your property moves directly into your house, making your everyday life more exciting.

The assistants of the spirit: Elephant, Tiger, Bambi and Marty

The assistants of the spirit: Elephant, Tiger, Bambi and Marty

After the „startup” of the establishment the tenants start using it right away. Early in the morning the appointed family members favour the spirit with gifts like fruit and other food, flowers or open soda with straw and last but not least with kind words. I read somewhere that the colour of the gift soda is mostly red because the favourite colour of the spirits is also red. In the houses you can often see different figures: dancing ladies, gold angels carrying sword, all kind of animals, grandma and grandpa. To the outside they place incenses in order to send the best wishes of the family to the spirit world through the smoke.

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When they happen to enlarge their houses, the spirithouse will be extended too. And in case of moving out, the spirithouse cannot be just thrown out. First the spirit should be moved to a new place with prayers and religious ceremonies. Then the old house can be transported to a special place that we could call as spirithouse cemetery as well.

Animism respects nature and natural disasters like lightning, earthquakes or floods. They believe that we are part of nature and everything we do has its effect on its function. Nature is a living thing which appears in different shapes: trees, soil, stones, hills, rivers or rice. These souls/ essences of soul are coming to life with various purposes and have different level of intelligence.

The Thai people believe in cooperation with the spirits, and also in a way to use each other power. That’s why they create spirit houses. In return to the above mentioned donations they ask for well-being, prosperity, protection or creative energies.

The factory

The factory

The Thai people take this spiritism very seriously.

The combined belief system of the country extends to the respect for the spirits of the rivers (LoyKrathong) and for the old people, the Brahmin gods and the angels (Songkran) as well.

Due to this peculiar, mixture religion the people of this country have created and preserved a magical culture. Respect and humility are typical attributes here. For instance they bend forward when they greet each other or when they pay, and indeed the intonation of the words sounds appreciation.

Benzinkútnak is van
Egyetemnek is van, mi az?
A piros üdítők
A gyár

That’s why I was travelling in a bubbly mood in Thailand. And of course the beautiful sea sides, enormous trees and the view of the villages surrounded by the lush vegetation were fascinating too.

Then during the last search for accommodation in Thailand a very serious surprise has struck us pink. We drove in to the yard of a Buddhist monastery, where we were welcomed by a least ordinary statue park. Accidentally a real horror park. I asked a local person what this all was about because I wasn’t able to square this with the stories I have heard, experienced and seen about Buddhism so far.

Bleeeeeeeee

Bleeeeeeeee

Turned out that hell exist in Buddhism as well, which is called Naraka. This isn’t a stuff that last forever just till someone doesn’t get over his negative karma. The sins define the measure of the torture, so to say the thornier thing you have done the more hellish torment you will get by your karma.

The good deeds of yours will be written to a golden board and the bad ones will be carved into dog skin. When you pass away Phya Yom, the King of Death will compare the two writings.

Those who violate the third rule of the Five Law, “the inappropriate sexual behavior”, so to speak establish sexual relations with someone else’s wife or husband, might have to climb up naked to a huge, spiky cactus while their buttock is being adjusted by a sharp spear. Abortion, birth control and infidelity as well draws punishment. Some tortures are carried out individually, others in groups. The maker of the statue park was working on a new composition just nearby so I could snap a picture.

The sculptor master

The sculptor master

I have to confess that I don’t believe in hell, I don’t care about either karma or the philosophy of the triumvirate hell/heaven/purgatory. I strive for having my actions in harmony with life, with the vibrancy of my heart. When I notice mistakes I revise the flaw throughout measures.

Attention, the following content might make you sick:

 

Behind the statue park Buddhist monks lived in small bungalows. To our luck one was empty at that time so we could spend the night in the apartment after a short discussion.

Next morning it was raining so until we departed around 10 a.m. I got some rice and vegetables from the monks, plus we were given bananas. By the evening we wanted to be in Malaysia, which meant a not too exhausting, 75 km ride. After departure we were cycling 2 hours, then we stopped for lunch at km 42, while it started raining again. So we were waiting for the release of the sunrays from the grasp of the rain clouds in a relaxing way of passing time under the terrace of the restaurant.

Meantime I checked the Thai-Malaysian exchange rate to avoid scamming, then I came up with the idea to fasten plastic bags onto my shoes so in case of rain they won’t get wet (I was lazy to dig out the waterproof one from the bottom of my bags). We were back on the road right away. We wanted to accomplish the last stage at a stretch. On the way toward the border we bumped into a fair, parked the bikes and went round the venue. Ádám managed to purchase some cool, greyish Ambato Bassini trousers while I got an adult portion coconut mush with chocolate. Leaving the fuss we only had a few kilometers left until the border town. The Thai border guards have forgotten to provide us with exit stamps first, so the Malaysians sent us back. We were cycling back to the Thai border again, finally we got stamps and around 9 p.m. we arrived to Malaysia.

We were cycling on desolated streets for some minutes, where only a spreading, illuminated building complex could be seen on the right side of the road. We pedalled there and crossing the entrance we saw that it was a fire-station. We asked the Capitan to let us sleep there. He willingly allowed us to use the bathroom and we could set up our tents under the terrace. We happened to spend the first Malaysian night there, on a fire-station.

Next day we packed up and continued the expedition after a nutritious breakfast in a close restaurant. We figured out the plan to cycle 500 km and get directly to the capitol, Kuala Lumpur. Around 11 a.m. we arrived to a town, named Alot Setar and rolling toward a money changer I drew in the novelty of the Malaysian architecture, culture, people and cars.

The first Malaysian town: Alot Setar

The first Malaysian town: Alot Setar

Seemingly there was welfare. Anyway the country which became independent in 1957 is governed by a multiparty coalition. Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy with a population of 30 million people. According to Wikipedia, in 2010 approximately the 61% of the population practice Islam, 20% Buddhist, 9% Christian, 6% Hinduism, 1,3% practice  Taoism, Confucianism and other traditional Chinese religions. 0.7% declared no religion and the remaining is other religion or not religious.

On the streets the torrid sun tried to melt our skin, therefore we entered an air-conditioned office, where smiling, young ladies helped us to orientate about the main sights of the country. We learnt that south of the town, on an island named Penang can be found one of the world heritage sites of the country, Georgetown which we definitely have to see.

During negotiations

During negotiations

Flipping through the pages of the leaflets Ádám became aware of the attractive seashore of the east coast, told me with eyes widened that it would be cool to visit that part as well. The scenery of the shores covered with white sand and bungalows caught my vivid fantasy and I felt immediately like cycling on the picturesque places. The fresh scent of the sea and the stroking sunshine kept us company as fellow travellers and they welcomed waving the company of the thousand-watt smile and the cloudless happiness as well in this fleeting story. “Let’s go, I am in” – I agreed with the idea of Ádám.

Amidst the hyper speed flow of information the clock struck noon and we answered the call of our rumbling stomach. The fizzy atmosphere with the girls form the office cried sequel so the next moment we found ourselves in the back seat of a car.

Seems like the girls like us

Seems like the girls like us

After a short ride we got to a veg restaurant. With big excitement I reached the food counter in leaps and directly plundered what was on offer. Exchanging glances, smiling with Ádám we were wolfing down the low-cost, abundant and delicious lunch. After we filled up the tanks with nutrients, we went back to the office, said goodbye to the girls and hit the road with the modified itinerary in our pocket toward the island of Penang.

The journey scheduled for 2 days became 3, because some chill time was to slip into our programme. As we left Alot Setar the torrid sunshine was replaced by gloomy clouds, and later drizzling. Against the rain we escaped into two cottages next to each other. Luckily it stopped quickly so I went searching for Ádám. By that time he was having fun with the owners of the property in a nice, little cottage. He waved me to join, because the locals were great guys. I sat down among them and made friends quite soon. One common ground of the conversation became music, since the Malaysian pals knew the ace rock and pop bands, like AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode and Sepultura. We spent the whole afternoon hanging out together, while more and more new interesting faces showed up. Turning our heads we could hardly follow the happenings. We enjoyed being there so much that we decided to stay one more day.

Studio!

Studio!

Next morning the host surprised us with some coconut from the garden, then we took some pictures in the idyllic garden. Later they took us for lunch into Alot Setar by car, in the afternoon we got back to the party cottage, the chilling went on.

Attack!

Attack!

The next morning we had breakfast together, after which we hit the road toward Penang. Once or twice it started raining again, luckily only for a little while, so by the afternoon we managed to reach the ferry heading to the island.

Come quick, Georgetown on screen! :)

Come quick, Georgetown on screen! 🙂

After an hour-long cruising we ended up on the island which is pretty rich in history. Around the 14th century, a handful of Portuguese merchants set foot on Penang, followed by Chinese merchants a century later. In 1786 the Sultan of Kedah ceded the island to the British East India Company in exchange for military protection.

Georgetown, the first British colony in Southeast Asia was founded by Francis Light. Their intention was to control all the sea routes and everything they can from this strategically important shore and also to smoke out the Dutch. Soon the island became very popular among the merchants mainly from China and India, the adventurers and the entrepreneurs. During the world war II Penang was bombed by the Japanese invaders, the British withdrew its forces and in 1957 the island with the rest of the federation Malaya gained independence.

We embarked at dusk, first went to a street food place and then after dinner started looking for an accommodation. According to our map the closest fire station was less than an hour to pedal, we got there and the captain let us freshen up in the bathroom while we were favoured with ice tea and fruits. We couldn’t sleep there so we left and checked into a police station 10 km away. Neither there could we lay our heads down but a broken handed kid invited us for a juice. I find it stunning how friendly and open are people here. The policeman suggested us to camp out on the beach. We cycled there, but we didn’t like the place because it was full of trash and people. We were roaming around until Ádám-harnessing his sixth sense- spotted an excellent place for our tents. Beside a skyscraper we found a shed to fall asleep. The soothing murmur of the sea provided us with pleasant relaxation.

This place was meant for us

This place was meant for us

Next day we realised that there were cyclists everywhere in long lines. We found out that the day was meant to be a Malaysian Critical Mass. After visiting the nearby Hard Rock Café we went to one of the service areas of the event, collected a bunch of bananas, got acquainted with some cyclists and finally continued the trip around the island.

The cyclist blokes

The cyclist blokes

Where else could we go as the night came than to the next fire station. I interviewed the chief if we could stay over, who withdrew, made some calls, negotiated and eventually said yes to our request. Indeed, we were given the air-conditioned room of the chief of police.

Almost every day of ours is unique and special, but the morning which caught us on the fire station of the town Balik Pula happened to be even more significant. 3 days were left until the celebration of Malaysia’s Independence Day by which the firemen prepared themselves with singing the song of the national day (Merdeka) during briefing to express their respect. After the training the chief of police came over to us and totally got excited by the round the world by bike story we represented. We mentioned him the tree planting project and he proposed the idea to plant the Malaysian tree into the garden of the station. Infected with the enthusiasm of the chief we started thinking about the implementation too. I got a fireman to be on my side and together we were to procure a seedling, while Ádám convinced the chief to hold another briefing so the singing-marching scene can be part of our upcoming movie.

Ready, set, shot!

Ready, set, shot!

So it happened, and by the time I returned with a sweet-sour fruit tree in my hand, my fellow traveller stage-managed and filmed the event which wasn’t ordinary for us at all. Ádám planted the tree then, which was named Independence, i.e. Merdeka, meanwhile together with the chief we were preparing a seal with a shield on it. After we provided it with the label “Hungary-Malaysia Friendship Tree”, we hung it on the tree ceremoniously. Throughout the process I had a feeling that we created something really meaningful as writing history.

Merdeka

Merdeka

Little bit moved I said goodbye to these people and with a smiling face moved on.

Before I would describe how amazing the place was what we found, I would like to underline one of the main features of Malaysia for us: the cuisine. Although we dined well in Thailand, it was getting boring by the end that as a vegetarian we could only had veg pasta or vegetable rice besides, we always had to complain about the served baby portion which wasn’t a likeable service at all after 2 or 3-hour cycling. Whereas in Malaysia the situation has changed and we found ourselves in the middle of a gastronomic parade. The number 1 on our hit list was the economic rice, a big pile of rice on which we could choose optionally form 8-10 different main dishes as much as we wished. All this very cheap. Pottages, cooked and roasted vegetables, tofu and salads prepared in different ways were waiting for us to make them disappear. We have visited 18 countries so far and currently Malaysia is the top one in terms of meals.

Managing accommodation happened in a brilliant way when almost fully bypassed the island we got back to the outskirts of Georgetown. In the evening we have decided to visit first the catholic then the Buddhist churches one after another, but the dwelling place did not show up. It was already dark when we arrived in Chinatown after many rejection. All of a sudden Ádám’s radar started beeping; masterpiece nearby! The extraordinary masterpiece was carved out of a single piece of wood by an unknown master utilizing his exceptional imagination.

Masterpiece!

Masterpiece!

Winding along small streets we bumped into a Chinese Methodist church, welcomed by two ladies in the gateway. Told them what we were up to, they called the priest who came down to see us and after a short conversation we got greenlight to occupy the guest room of the church. Part of the building served as a school, but for me the most exciting thing was to see musical instruments everywhere. I found two pianos and a drum set on the first floor, two upstairs and two other synthesizer with a couple of guitars in the prayer room. Since I love to play the piano, the 3 evening we spent here went on eventfully. In addition, the classrooms downstairs were full of curious children so I interacted and mingled with them in no time.

Malaysian-Chinese students

Malaysian-Chinese students

We spent three days with just walking around the neighborhood and gained insight into the life of the Chinese.

penang_kinai_emberek

Too much of a good thing can be enough, after 3 nights the time has come to turn the wheel toward the east coast; the states of Kelantan and Tirangganu.

Before departure the father invited us for breakfast, and later we left the island via Georgetown by a ferry. We resumed cycling under torrid sun in the mornings, normally alternated with rain by the afternoon. Soon we said goodbye to the lowlands, smaller and bigger hills were coming next.

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However we had no reason for any complaint, because we like cycling uphill as well especially when it is associated with the dignified gift of Mother Earth, the sight of the lush jungle stretching all over.  Cycling/being among giant trees is a blessing.

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It makes you still and urges to get connected. Listening to music is no longer an option, because it suppresses the wholeness that is hiding in silence. Instead I focus on being present with deep breaths. Being in nature is one of the best thing for me. I stopped frequently in the realm of the Ents (as I called it), in the realm of the giant trees, started talking to these many hundreds of years old living beings in a loving way. They embody wisdom for me. But I prefer to express myself with hugs, not by words. I believe that the trees, the bushes, the vegetation, the creeks, the rain, the stones, the crystals and the wind are all part of the spirit called Earth. We have responsibility to respect the chalice of our life, the space where our destiny takes place, besides thanks to the creative qualities within us we have the talent to create loving harmony with nature.To tune in, to get into union, to return to the beginnings, when we were still able to live together with the spirit world. All my cells know this song and it comes from so deep that it goes beyond the information society of modern times, and rather peeks into the universe of eternal life with curiosity.

The Ents

The Ents

Anyway sometimes I contemplate on spending a lot of time in the middle of a jungle. In the morning I get up in my great, little shack made of bamboo, designed directly to open my eyelids by the first sunrays. Then I would go down to the nearby waterfall in my cosy, created on the altar of practicality, quick drying, hard-wearing and satisfactorily fashionable also to my feminine side clothes. Let’s get wet and then dry on top of a rock beside the river! Afterwards I would go to see my tribal friends, eat a bunch of fruit together and go get some berries that are perfect for making fragrant shampoo or soap by the girls. In the afternoon we would build or develop houses or some functional buildings, for example a public building, while in the evening we would hit the drums and dance near the warmth of a campfire. Obviously we would have a highly respected shaman as the sage of the tribe simultaneously who from time to time would move into the jungle in order to prepare magical concoction.

We haven’t really seen any waterfalls, but we have met with a hot spring on the crooked way toward Kuala Lumpur. Around 8 p.m. we have arrived to the natural phenomenon on the edge of the village called Labok. Although the sun went already down, the local Muslim people were still gossiping in the 40 degree pool. Outside the village we got plenty of roticanai, our new favourite, which is a pancake-like bread and vegetable curry. Eating with good appetite we dined, set up each tent on a pavilion and splashed into the pool next to the others. After some minutes I felt like boiling in the water therefore I climbed out of it and went to bed. Next morning my first thing was to jump into the pool. During soaking I got acquainted with some nice Muslim guys, then packed up the tents and left.

The soaker

The soaker

Hey! What's up?

Hey! What’s up?

The best moment of the morning cycling certainly was the stop at a grocery where we bought pineapple, borrowed a blender from the neighbouring restaurant and moved on with a litre of fruit juice in our stomach. By the afternoon we reached the seaside, parked the bikes and with childish excitement plunged into the cooling waves. Physically and emotionally refreshed we climbed up to the nearby gazebo where Ádám brought his hammock with him so we enjoyed the wind blowing, the murmur of the sea, just simply being.

Sight over the sea

Sight over the sea

It made me wonder how exciting camping up here would be, but luckily we dropped the idea because there was cloudburst later that night. Probably we should have escaped if we stay. We rather pitched our tents into a prayer room where our old friends, the mosquitos became our roommates.

Next morning we left each other and cycled separately for two days in the state of Terangganu. By the evening I got to a seaside of a romantic fishing village. I found a bath room surrounded by damaged concrete walls, washed myself and my cap then I hung it on a nearby pavilion. By that time all the young and old villagers were standing around me, everyone wanted to know who this oddball was.

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By people who are obsessed with the internet and the news I was bombed with the advice that I should avoid Iran, Pakistan all the Muslim countries because everyone was a terrorist there, they kept fighting and practically one could only get into life-threatening situations there. Well, I have been to Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia and my experience was that Muslim people are more than kind and they turned toward me with such friendship as we were friends since kindergarten. Their hospitality is exemplary. They treat each other as brothers and sisters so I feel obliged to share it with you.

In the evening they invited us for dinner, in the morning for breakfast and thanks to their advanced English we could have valuable, meaningful conversations about the big questions of life.

One of Ádám’s friends, Tibi Baráth told us to pop in to him if we are heading toward Terengganu Kijal, he would happily host us for some days. I was 150 kilometres away so I planned to cycle 100 on the first day and on the second day I was going to have plenty of time to relax and wander. I managed to get over the aimed distance, together with Zümi we were roaming among fishing villages. In the evening I had a shower on a petrol station, then turned to the left and soon I found myself directly on the beach. A lonely roof on the side of the road seemed to be a perfect place for my tent. I had to fix the shale roof a little bit in order to be stable for the night in case of rain, plus I covered my tent with a waterproof layer. At 9 p.m. I was sleeping like a marmot. The well-being didn’t take long, before midnight such a heavy wind woke me up that I was afraid of landing in the sea. The windstorm came out of nowhere; hit my sleeping place with elemental force and also the gates of the sky burst open, it started pouring. And I was just sitting in my tent thinking about the next step. If I get out, I can immediately say goodbye to my tent, if I stay in then it simply gets torn. Despite the natural disaster I managed to keep my composure and started to repeat the mantra “Thank you for the calming of the storm until I pack up my stuff”. Meanwhile I pictured a light rain and that I pack up in no time and also get into a safe place. Lo and behold from the short prayer became a success story: the wind died down, I jumped out of my tent, threw all my stuff into bags and headed toward the promising lights of a nearby restaurant.

The hovel of terror, next morning

The hovel of terror, next morning

The local pub was still open, I asked the owner if I could sleep under the roof, he said or rather made signs due to his lack of English that it was no problem, I just have to wait until closing time. It took exactly 2 hours. Meantime the storm-tossed, poor traveller was invited for tea, and also some entertainment unfolded: The Lord of the Rings was on TV so I sat down watched it and by the end I got dry. Then I set up my tent under the roof and continued sleeping, anything could happen, I was already protected. I find it interesting how the past memories change with time: though that evening seems just an adventure eventually and indeed I am glad that I had the chance to experience it, still in the middle of the storm cowered in a tiny tent I felt the situation quite wild even if calmness was spreading inside me.

Anyhow there were only 50 kilometres left to reach Kijal the following day. A couple of times I stopped to take pictures, rest a little, chill some and by the evening I arrived to the accommodation which turned out to be a beautiful luxury hotel complex with sight over the sea.

Kijal World Resort, sight from the apartment

Kijal World Resort, sight from the apartment

We spent here a week, most of it in the gift apartment. Travelling around the world has a side effect – after some time I feel like I don’t want to see anything new, rather hide myself in between 4 walls, alone. The experience tank gets full and overflows. On these occasions sleeping is the best medicine to bring back the physical, emotional and sensory stress level to the state of equilibrium and peace.

The afternoons meant the peak of our days when Tibi showed up and we entered into long storytelling. Sometimes about Hungary, other times about different parts of the world, adventures, past, present and future. One day we went for sightseeing, next day we did some shopping and once we also got to a cocktail bar with an interesting bunch of people.

The Hungarian trio

The Hungarian trio

Tibor Baráth thank you for being so kind and taking care of us. May your journey be blessed.

I felt like staying in the apartment, but riding my bike is no comparison, so on the 8th day we packed up and left for Kuala Lumpur. Before departure we made a last splash in the sea in Terangganu, got some drinking water in a mosque and spent the night on a fire station.

Ádám, the flame knight

Ádám, the flame knight

In the next two days we were cycling along villages, small towns and palm plantations.

By the second evening we managed to reach the edge of Kuala Lumpur, aimed the nearest fire station and as usual, after a short discussion we got accommodations. In the morning we were allowed to shoot a movie scene and indeed to sit in a fire engine.

Had the chance to slide down the fire pole

Had the chance to slide down the fire pole

The exploring of the capital was next. We cycled up to the Petronas Twin Towers that are 452 metre high, until today they wear the rank of the highest twin tower in the world, in short it’s fucking big. On multiple lane roads we were riding the bikes among the flowing tide of cars, beside the roads skyscrapers were stretching toward the sky. “Well, this isn’t something like a bleak”, I thought while we reached the main attraction, the twin towers. The construction of the 88-storey monumental towers took 4,5 years, cost 1,6 billion dollars and on the 41st and the 42nd floors the towers are connected with the bridge, called Skybridge. he We tried to compensate the impersonal character of the concrete jungle with the nearby KLCC Park, where we could stay only for 10 minutes, then we were driven out, because it was forbidden to be in the park with bikes.

The twin towers in the evening

The twin towers in the evening

We carried on exploring the city among the huge buildings that were growing like mushrooms. We were cycling until we set eyes on a church, namely a cross on top of a hill over a downtown junction. After having a big portion of economy rice we came near the target object.

We had to cross a rail barrier first, then we found a security guard and told him that we wished to speak with a priest, the boss or a manager. After a friendly smile he sent us into the office.

After sharing our story with the office manager and asking for free accommodation for 2 days we were told that although there were rooms we had to pay at least one day room charge even if we are pilgrims. All of a sudden then, as a lamp was lit in her head she asked if we like carrying furniture. Well, they were organizing a big event in the other building in some days so we could compensate the price of the lodging with 2X2 hour packing. We accepted the deal offhand and started working. With the help of Mandy and the guru, the technical man we finished in two hours then occupied our rooms which were pretty luxury again. In addition we were given a bunch of biscuits, cakes and oat flakes as a gift.

The next morning we were relaxing, in the afternoon we finished packing followed by an early Christmas: we were talking with the Methodist office girls about visiting the Oceanarium in the city centre but dropped the idea because the tickets were very expensive. Later we got two envelopes with exactly the same amount as the tickets cost. This was a kind and generous gesture indeed! By then it was too late to visit the exotic sight so the next morning Ádám has put the question if we could stay 2 or 3 more days. The upcoming negotiation had 4 participants; the office manager lady, us and a dingy, abandoned shoe cabinet. We were given a new mission: we could stay if we neatly painted the cabinet in exchange. Again it was an irrecusable offer, creating and renovating is a good time-passing. Together with Mandy we got into the car, bought some paint, had lunch and on the way back our helpful driver took us to the botanical garden. With Ádám we ambled up to the gate and visited the garden, its surroundings and then got back to the church late in the afternoon. After having a shower I picked up the sandpaper and started polishing. All evening I was on it, music blasted out at me. I was creating and renovating. Only after midnight did I go to bed and Ádám replaced me in the morning, painting the cabinet. At noon someone was knocking on the door, as I opened it I faced with the guru. He wanted to invite us for lunch. The piquancy of the situation was that he lived on a small budget. Repenting from his childhood gangstering he stepped onto the path of goodness and faith, and he was living for charity.He said he happily spent on others, God was going to give it back anyway. Peacefully he was just smiling, radiating love. What people live among us!

As it was getting dark Mandy took me for a sightseeing tour, we checked the colourful, musical fountain, and then we were hanging in a vegan restaurant. We shared the same interest like science and technology therefore we replanned the visiting of the Oceanarium for the good of the Planetarium.

Planetarium: into the infinite and even further!

Planetarium: into the infinite and even further!

So it happened, we visited the Planetarium near the botanical garden, which meant the most exciting programme for me in KL. First we watched a short movie about the extreme weather on the planets of the solar system. I learnt that diamond rain may fall on Jupiter (which is twice as big as all the other planets) and Saturn.

“DIAMONDS ARE FORMED ON JUPITER AND SATURN WHEN IN THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE LIGHTNING CAUSES THE METHANE TO DECOMPOSE, PRODUCING HYDROGEN AND ELEMENTAL CARBON. AS THE CARBON FALLS 1600 KM TOWARD THE PLANET IT MAY BOND TOGETHER FORMING GRAPHITE AND AS THE PRESSURE BUILDS UP CLOSER TO THE PLANET’S CORE AFTER 6000 KM FALL, THE GRAPHITE MAY BE COMPRESSED INTO SOLID DIAMOND. HOWEVER AFTER FALLING 30000 KM THE DIAMOND CANNOT RETAIN ITS SOLIDITY BECAUSE OF THE INFERNAL HEAT AND PRESSURE SO ENDS UP AS A LIQUID CARBON SEA ON THE SURFACE OF THE PLANETS.”

Leaving the astonishing movie we found ourselves in a huge hall where a model of a space station was on display. Anyone could try the vacuum toilet for the feeling but only in clothes. Experimenting was also allowed and through pictures, videos and descriptions we could experience the everyday life of a space station. Beside the grandiose mock-up we could examine the history of astronautics, read about the space program, or play with chemical knowledge development games on computer simulation.

The history of astronautics

The history of astronautics

On the way out we saw a Periodic Table improved with objects that are made of the given element. Brilliant. I stopped perceiving time and before my very eyes I saw myself experimenting with scientists dressed in white coat, playing with interactive games and breathing science in.

Mendeleev would like it how his table got developed

Mendeleev would like it how his table got developed

Fully energized we left the complex, after the big excitement we went dining into an artisan centre, so got back to the church only by the evening.

By then the thought has been working in me strongly: I have to change! My heart invites me for independence and solitude. Last morning here I told Ádám with a huge lump in my throat that it was time for me to go on my own way for a while, for the next three months. It was really hard to express my feelings, as I recall it I was just mumbling. My fellow traveller was struck by surprise, but I have already made up my mind. Hereby I would like to apologize from Ádám for my unexpected revelation.I think my decision was appropriate, though my heart ached for long and I got quite puzzled spiritually during the next few days. What came next was the peak of coolness, Singapore and the wonder of Indonesia! You can keep track of me in the next blog entry. Peace.

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