Bali Bound!

Since I first found out that I was going to be able to work over here in Southeast Asia, I had always wanted to go to Bali. With that said, I figured it was unrealistic as I would be working and thought I would not have enough time to make it over there.

Upon arriving in Indonesia, one of the first questions I was asked by the operating partner was whether I would be taking a trip to Bali. Following that initial question, seemingly every person I’ve encountered in Indonesia has asked me if I was going there, and it is quite apparent that Bali is the crown jewel of the country that all the Indonesians proudly hang their collective hats on.

It turns out that trips to Bali, via Air Asia are actually rather affordable (it’s the RyanAir of Asia) and with all the chatter about the beautiful island I couldn’t get it off my mind. I called my boss in Singapore, and he happily agreed to let me take an extra day off so that I could go to Bali! This only furthered my belief that we can get most of the things we want just by asking. The problem is that most people just never ask, and assume their requests will never be granted; Ask and you shall receive!

Anyhow, after a somewhat hellish booking process with Airasia.com (Assholes rejected my credit card for no reason) I had to go to one of their local sales office to purchase my reserved ticket. It was in a place called M Blok, and so I hopped on a local transit bus that said M Blok (probly should have taken a cab) and was on my way.

There was a strange guy with terrets standing next to me, and after some awkward conversations with Indonesian girls in broken English I got off the bus at the M blok stop. Turns out I was actually pretty far away from the airasia store (sweet!) so started walking in that direction. Walked through a market, and passed by a bunch more. I still can’t get over how incredibly cheap stuff is over here. Anyhow, finally got my ticket and am super excited to get over there.

I’m going to the island by myself, so should make for another very interesting experience. I’m not taking my laptop, so I’ll be out of touch for a few days but send me an e-mail if it’s important.

I’m currently making a playlist for the Indonesian outback steakhouse, as the Jason mraz on repeat is making me want to jump off a cliff. Today marks 2 weeks til I’m back home in the US. The past month has flown by, and the next two weeks are sure to go even faster.

I’ll be in Bali the next three days. Then, I get back to Jakarta for another 3 days, but moving to less of a shithole room hopefully so will feel like I’m gonna be somewhere new. After that I’m off to Singapore for another 3 days or so, then finishing up in Tokyo for 3 days before heading back home. Only 5 more flights to go…really wish I had started some sort of frequent flier program, as i’m sure I would have amassed a ridiculous amount of points by this point.

We’re getting our house in College Park on August 1st, so really looking forward to moving in there when i get to the US. Super excited to get back and see everyone at home, and hope you’re all doing well!

Cheers,

Sahil

What an unexpectedly awesome night

What an unexpectedly awesome night

I randomly had an awesome night this evening. And now, I can’t figure out how to turn my AC on again and so I feel like I’m experiencing the DC heatwave in my bedroom, but it’s more of a humidwave. Should make for an interesting evening.

I spent most of the day hanging out at the Outback with my computer again, although the things I was doing on it today were much more exciting (No I wasn’t watching porn). I had finally gotten the go ahead to go to Bali for the weekend! So as a result, I was attempting to book my flight there and back on Air Asia, which is basically the Ryan Air of Asia and is a super cheap discount airline.

Sidenote: typing while falling asleep is rather difficult, and I keep misspelling words and having to retype them as if I’m drunk. I guess what they say about driving tired being worse than drivin drunk is true.

Anyhow, after an hour of frustration at Air Asia not accepting my card for some reason, I skeptically decided to just give them a call fully expecting a hellish phone wait time with awful background music jingles. To my surprise, I was connected to a rep right away who was very helpful. He got all my flight info, and for some reason my card also came up as declined with them (which doesn’t make sense as I bought a book with it ten minutes after the phone call) but they still managed to reserve my flight, so I’m going to Bali on this Thursday!

I told my main boss who is based in Singapore that I would appreciate a move to a real hotel or something like that and he said he would take care of it. I felt bad asking, and even worse that I had to go around my boss in Jakarta to do so. As a result, had what felt like a bit of an awkward conversation with my Indonesian manager, but as bad as I was feeling earlier, this non-fuctioning (I probably just don’t know how to work it but no one speaks English so I can’t ask for help) air conditioner is making me think I probably made the right choice haha.

After a rather uneventful evening, I began talking to a really nice guy named Adhi, who is one of the servers. He told me that him and the very friendly bartender, named Wayhlu were going to play pool after work and asked me if I would like to join. Eager to meet some locals, and break my monotonous days, I jumped at the opportunity, and it turned out to be a GREAT decision!

Earlier that morning, on my commute I had been marveling at the way in which the thousands of scooters flooding jakarta’s streets managed to weave in and out of traffic without killing themselves and maintaining relative order compared to India. In the short span of 10 hours, I went from observer to participant as I hopped on the back of wayhlu’s motorcycle, and we were off onto the fast, crazy roads on Jakarta! It was fitting that the gentleman giving me a lift was named Wayhlu, as that happens to be the name of the road I’m staying on (Hopefully for not too much longer) and also recently learned that Wayhlu is a spiritual term referring ti the light of wisdom or something along those lines. I had never really ridden a motorcycle before, and I can say for certainty I have never experienced driving or riding around on roads like those before. What a rush! There were cars coming at you from what seemed like every direction, and I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t anxious. I had a helmet they let me borrow, that was far too big, and had a broken strap so ended with me looking extremely goofy as I had an oversized helmet that kept falling off my head everytime we accelerated haha. Was quite an unforgettable ride, and quickly learned the importance of goggles while riding a bike as the dusty roads kept irritating my eyes making it hard to see, but I squinted on as I didn’t want to miss a second of it.

In the recent past, i’ve maintained a very negative approach to motorcycles as death traps following some unfortunate incidents involving friends and many stories I’ve heard. With that said, I had never actually ridden on one. Although I do still find them to be rather unsafe and unprotected vehicles, I definitely do see the appeal to them and the rush you get from riding through traffic is pretty sweet.

After what must have been a 20-30 minute ride, we arrived at the pool house. It was much bigger than I had expected, and felt like a giant carpeted warehouse filled with pool tables, in a good way Probably had 32 tables total, with about 4 rows of 8 tables each. We paid the equivalent of 2 USD for an hour on the table (amazing) and started playing. I’m a bit rusty after not playing regularly in a while, but still had a blast and want to continue playing when I get back home.

I really enjoyed talking to Adhi for a while, and turns out he is a law student studying while working currently. He’s a great guy, and during our conversations it really hit me that we are really from quite different worlds and lead separate realities. Although for the most part I have always appreciated what i’ve had, I have never thought of myself as a rich man. Actually, at this point I find myself to be dead broke in American (And my bank accounts) terms. With that said, to these two I was a super rich man, and it definitely was just another reminder of how blessed I am.

Was pleased to hear that the mosquitos here generally don’t carry Malaria in Jakarta, and they are more likely to be found in the forests. The past couple night’s I’ve been channeling my inner Krazi treasure (One of our awesome roommates from Sevilla, Kari Treasure, had a crazy phobia thing of mosquitos. She got bit one night and went a bit crazy, and literally bought a mosquito net, 35 euros worth of bug repellent/mosquito killer, and even had her mom send her this absolutely hilarious mosquite headmask she slept in on the nights she hadn’t mummified herself to prevent from getting bitten… Love ya Kari!) and have been going on mosquito killing sprees. I’ve actually become rather good at it, and have eliminated most of them, although these little fuckers keep popping up all over the place!

Anyhow, after playing pool, we hopped back on the bikes to go grab some Nori Gaseng, which is one of the main traditional dishes in Indonesia. In America, we call it fried rice. I put my sunglasses on at night (pun intended) so I could see, and was far more comfortable my second time on the bike and really enjoyed the ride; almost as much as I enjoyed the spicy meal! It was so great talking to Adhi and Wayhlu at the restaurant more, as It quickly reinforced my belief that we are ALL THE SAME! Even though we grew up literally halfway around the world, in different soio-economic statuses, our generation has all of the same interests, ideas, and loves to have a good time.

After our midnight snack, I hopped back on the bike, this time with Adhi and headed back to my room. Found out that he was planning on proposing to his girlfriends family, to see if they accept their marriage plans which would be super exciting!

All in all, a fantastic night and so glad I got to spend some time with the locals as I was worried it may not happen. Indonesia had been growing stale, and I’m so glad this experience popped up on me just at the right time.

Bali is right around the corner, and after talking incessantly about it with everyone I can, I am soo pumped to get there! Sounds sort of like a wonderland of amazingness, so we’ll see how it goes.

Also, if you ever read this Happy Birthday Sonam, hope you had an awesome day!

Only 15 more days til I’m back home in the US…whattt?! Can’t put into words how excited I am to get back home and see everyone, but still really looking forward to the three incredible trips I have left coming up.

How do these damn posts keep getting so long? Sorry there’s no pictures to go along, didn’t have an adaptor yesterday to charge the camera. Speaking of which, I have an absurd number of power converters, so if you’re ever going abroad and need to borrow one, just let me know haha.

Morning Update

My beard was getting a bit out of control so I finally decided that I had to shave. The only problem was that my bathroom, and room in general doesn’t have any mirrors. This made for a rather interesting shaving experience, but It felt like I had done a pretty solid job sans mirror.

I just got to work and turns out I was wrong. Got an awkward patch of hair just chillin on the left side of my face…sweeet haha

Peace Love and Respect homies!

-Sahil

Day 2 & 3

Sahil Rahman

Day 2

Here’s some pictures of my place that i had forgotten to post in the blog yesterday.

My humble abode. It’s pretty shitty but i’m gettin used to it and it’s growing on me i guess. Decided that i’m just gonna stay here and try to make the best of it, as it would be a whole thing to ask for a relocation. Companies taken great care of me so far, and don’t wanna be rude in any way by asking for different accommodations. Besides, i’ll be getting the TRUE asian experience living in a neighborhood where no one else can really speak english haha.

State of the art facilities

bed

I wasn’t kidding about being a millionaire, guess i can cross that one off the to do list. On to achieving that billionaire status..

Literally get woken up every morning by roosters haha. Completely understand the old saying now, lol.

At work the next day, they were having a press event over here in Indonesia. Was pretty cool, as it was actually my second press conference event in about 3 days so good experience speaking to reporters and public speaking. Unfortunately, the rain and some demonstrations or something resulted in a smaller turnout than anticipated, but good event nonethless.

Also, quickly realizing that this country actually has NO rules whatsoever. From what i hear, you can basically bribe the govt. and police for just about anything, and just about every second here has been quite a culture shock/learning experience.

With the team before the press conference!

Got my first oreo milkshake (sans the chocolate syrup of course)…was delicious

After the press conference, i spent a good amount of time in the kitchen talking to this awesome guy named fajjah or something like that who is training to be the managing partner in the soon to open 3rd outback in Indonesia. He’s the man! Apparently, he used to work on cruise ships, and travelled all around the world and has been to over 60 countries. He told me all about his travels and experiences on the ship and it sounded like such a sweet experience. He was getting paid to travel the world!

Although it sounded like hard work as well, if i could get a temporary job on a cruise line working fora few months as a supervisor or something, and getting paid to travel that would be soo sweet. Spent a good amount of time this afternoon looking it up, and seems to be a pretty simple application process so definitely something that could be cool!

Anyhow, after grabbing dinner my buddy Dilip (marketing manager) and i headed out to explore the jakarta nightlife. Was my first night out, so had no idea what to expect but turned out to be a pretty relaxed, fun evening. We went to a bar called “Elbow Room” that one of the journalists i met mentioned, and met a bunch of really cool, interesting people.

The first guy i met was a guy named Seb, who was teaching English over here for a year. He was from Isle of Man. Yes, the country he is from is called Isle of Man! Apparently it’s a small island in between Ireland and the UK or something like that, and i couldn’t believe it was a real place.

He showed me his license to prove it haha…Isle of man!

Tried the local beer, Bintang!

Me with my new friend Seb from Isle of Man! He was there with a group of nearly 15 friends, who were all young people teaching english abroad in Indonesia for the year. Was really cool meeting all of them, and i don’t think i’ll ever grow tired of meeting new people who are travelling, and learning about their unique lives and stories. Believe i’m meeting up with im and his buddies again tonight and going out around the town so hopefully it’ll be a good time!

I met a girl who had crazy curly hair just like one of my best friends katie drury so naturally had to take a picture iwth her. It was pretty funny we met, in that it was her last night in Jakarta and my first…circle of traveling.

Day 3 update

Got up this morning and took my obnoxiously long/boring drive to work. It’s actually not that far at all, it’s just that traffic in this country is actually unbearable. Worst part is that since the traffic is always at a stand still, you constantly have beggars and salesman approaching your car and knocking on your window. As you can see below, at times these people are adorable children and i feel terrible not giving them anything. Probably a part of why i’m not a huge fan of the commute to work, but definitely provides ample time to think about my life, place in the world, etc.

Young entreprenuer

There is an absolutely ridiculous amount of scooters or O’jaks as they call them everywhere weaving in and out of traffic here. They even go on the sidewalks and everything, so feel like you’re gonna get runover everywhere you go. Drunkenly crossing streets in cp is gonna be a piece of cake when i get back to school!

Bikers errywhere, guy had a sweet peace jacket.

After getting to work, i’ve pretty much spent the last 7 hours online doing “social media research” and reading lots of random articles. I think the shitty mattresses, and far too much time sitting down have taken a toll on my back as it’s been killin me that last couple weeks, so found some new exercises to do online so about to try some of those out.

It’s rather frustrating that i’m being allowed to spend so much time online, but being unable to stay in contact with anyone as the 11 hour time difference is somewhat terrible for communicating back home. Skyping is also a bit awkward as i’m at a restaurant talking to a computer screen with families eating dinner around me haha. Also, got a mosquito bite the other night so somewhat regretting my decision to not finish my malaria medicine course haha.. (don’t worry mom i’ll be fine)

If you want to contact me just shoot me an e-mail, or send me a message on facebook or something.

Going out for the second time tonight in Jakarta, so hopefully it’ll be a good time. Miss you all a bunch

Cheers amigos!

-Sahil

Here’s to hoping I make it out of here alive, this country is insane!

Hola amigos,

This posts about my crazy first day in Indonesia, and my interesting living situation over here. I’ll add pictures to the post soon, but just forgot to upload them to my computer this morning so those should be up by tomorrow.

Malaysia–> Indonesia

I have been to a pretty significant amount of countries in the past year, and I have to say based on my one day here so far this may be the wackiest one

It all started this morning. I took a cab to KL central, and then hopped on the bus to the airport. Randomly met an interesting dude who happens to host shows on CNBC, PBS, and BBC and is an international correspondent/journalist from Canada based in Southeast Asia.

Also met a really cool American from North Carolina. Always refreshing to meet Americans, especially those with good stories. He had graduated a few years back, and was currently teaching abroad in Korea for the year, and had been in South America teaching the year before so sounded like he was living it up!

Hopped on the plane and started to read a good bit of this ridiculous book called “in the time of madness,” which is all about Indonesia and how there was a ridiculous amount of beheadings and cannabalism in the country just a short 10 years ago, been a fascinating read so far.

Anyhow, I finally landed in Jakarta without any major issues for the first time during my Asian travels, which was a pleasant change. I found a money machine so decided to take out some money. Problem was, I had no idea what the exchange rate was for USD. Turns out it is an absolutely unbelieveable, and obnoxiously large conversion. 1 US Dollar is worth 10000 Rupiah…yes, 10,000. So, when I went to the ATM and saw that there was an option to take out a million rupiah, naturally I had to do it. Phew, I can cross being a millionaire at age 20 off my bucket list now!

Anyways, I grabbed my bags, and headed out the door with no idea what to do. I was supposed to be meeting a gentleman who was the operating partner of the Outback’s in Indonesia, but the only problem was we’d never met before, I didn’t have his number, had no idea what he looked like and no real contingency plan. I awkwardly walked up and down the arrivals area really awkwardly looking for a sign with my name on it, and didn’t see one so headed out. After about 10 minutes of doing the awkward lost tourist for a while outside I contemplated just taking a cab to the outback location in the center of the city. I decided to take one more round inside the arrivals waiting area, so after gesturing to explain the situation to a guard with a machine gun, I got back inside.

Fortunately, after aimlessly wandering for a bit I noticed a sign with my name on it and was so happy to see it, and my new temporary boss Mr.Bhudy. Bhudy is the man, and told me a great deal about the country and culture in our hour and half ride to the first restaurant. He also asked me if I was going to be going to Bali, which is a world famous beach party island that I’ve always wanted to go to. I didn’t realize that was even a possibility with work, and so if I get approval from my boss seriously considering making an epic weekend trip out there solo!

Jakarta, Indonesia

The reason that the ride took so long, is because traffic in this city is the worst I have seen of anywhere in the world. The infrastructure in Jakarta is horrendous, and so as result the city is a constant traffic jam literally 24/7. It’s so bad that i’m sure that after my two week stay here, I’m going to be looking forward to 495 and the bumper to bumper traffic we bitch and whine about. Can’t say I’m ecstatic about the 45 minute (Minimum) cab rides to and from work everyday haha. Apparently, you can also hop onto scooters and they take you to wherever you want to go, dangerously weaving throughout traffic the whole way, so may look into that option one day.

Anyways, I met all the staff at the Ratu plaza restaurant, which is where I’ll be working this week, grabbed some appetizers, and then took off for the second restaurant location. After a painfully long ride sitting in traffic once more, we finally arrived to the restaurant. I met up with one of my main bosses, Dilip, who is the SE Asia marketing director and we all had lunch and discussed my tasks for my time here in Jakarta. I also learned that my hotel did not have internet, but thought nothing of it…turned out to be a telling sign.

Anyways, after picking up another local sim card for my phone, we headed off to my “hotel” room. The drive took forever, and I actually passed out from travel induced exhaustion and boredom. When I awoke, I had absolutely no idea where we were, but were apparently outside of my “hotel.” In all 3 of the other cities that the company has hosted me in, I’ve stayed in relatively nice hotels in good locations in the cities.

**I wrote this last night, and the dingy little room may be growing on me a bit**

Well in Indonesia, not quite the case. Upon entering the room my jaw dropped a bit, as the thought of living here for 2 weeks made me cringe. It is a dinky, somewhat smelly, dirty green room. The ceiling has water damage, and the bed spread looked filthy & had small holes in it…not to mention the spiderwebs adding to the pleasant welcoming to my new “Humble” abode. There aren’t any mirrors, and the windows are completely blacked out, so no sunlight comes in. Don’t have a blanket either, but it is a full bed instead of my usual twin with lots of pillows (Questionable pillow covers) which is nice i guess. I actually thought it was some sort of joke when he brought me here, and to add to things no one at the hotel speaks a word of English, like not even one.

I generally tend to think of myself as a relatively low-maintenance person, and usually don’t mind most living situations. With that said, 2 weeks in this dump of a room could be kinda rough, so we’ll see how it goes. The Marketing guy, who is only a couple years older than me, is actually staying at a real hotel in the city so was thinking about asking if I could possibly be relocated there. Just don’t want to seem like a bitchy, unappreciative American as it seems Bhudy must have spent some time arranging this accommodation for me.

Also, they told me not to go out at night so don’t quite know what to do with myself. The lack of Internet connection is such a strange feeling, and I feel a bit disconnected to the world. At the same time, I guess it may be a good thing as I’ll be forced to read more, keep up with the blog, and catch up on television and movies I’ve been meaning to watch for months. Also, the restaurants have solid internet connection, so planning on taking advantage of that.

About an hour after I started settling in a bit, I heard a knocking on the door and as there is no peephole and I am clearly a foreigner, was a bit anxious to open it. It was the lady who worked at the hotel, the one who doesn’t speak any English. She came into my room with a sheet in her hands, and just started speaking to me in Indonesian and I legitimately didn’t have a clue what she was saying. Everytime I gestured that I didn’t understand she would just repeat it faster and louder and we both just ended up with an awkward somewhat frustrated laugh as we realized we had no idea what the other was saying, She was a sweet lady and wouldn’t give up, and kept babbling away but I got more and more confused by the moment as her gestures didn’t make any sense to me at all.

I called mr.bhudy, explained the situation and gave her the phone and they talked for a while. We ended up playing pass the phone for about 5 minutes, and was extremely unproductive as I had no idea what the hell was going on still, but bhudy said it was all good and she just left and smiled. Confused would be an understatement.

I settled back into bed, and started editing some pics from Taman Negara which I’ll put up soon. An hour or so later, another knock came on my door and when I asked who it was it was a males voice this time. I skeptically opened the door, wondering what the hell it could be this time. Turns out, it was one of the managers from outback who had dropped me off a few hours earlier to the hotel. He had a towel, and laundry detergent in his hand and I was beyond confused. He explained that this was what the lady and mr.bhudy were talking about and he came to drop it off.

I was planning on walking to the grocery store down the road, but they had warned me about walking around in the dark at night. I told him I was planning on going and he told me to hop on the back of his bike. I did, and we took a short ride to the main rode. After thinking I was nearly going to get wrecked by a huge blue truck as we turned on to the road, I hopped off the bike and we both went our respective ways.

The grocery store was located right across the street. As difficult as getting through the Jakarta traffic may be, I think crossing the road may be even more terrifying. I legitimately waited for 5 minutes before I ran across the 2 lane road, as hundreds of cars and scooters were flying recklessly by. Honestly, can’t say I’ve ever been so happy to have safely crossed a road before.

I got into the store, and quickly realized that this city, and my area in particular is not a touristy one whatsoever. In fact, I believe I was the only non-indonesian in the large store. I wandered around aimlessly for a while with no clue what to get to eat, and settled on a healthy and familiar diet of Pringles, cheetos, and a large bottle of water.

I feel terrible buying so many bottles of water, as I know it’s terrible for the environment, is stupid to pay for water, etc. Unfortunately, the regular water’s not safe to drink so am left with little option. As if angry water gods were getting back at me, upon opening my water bottle a significant amount spilled all over my bed.

As a result, I’m sitting on my new towel in my room (Which may be cleaner than the sheet) and writing this blog. Talk about an interesting few hours/first day so far.

Also, just realized that there’s no toilet paper here soo looks like I’m gonna be exploring the washing method haha. I get the concept, but have no clue what your supposed to do after you wash!

Definitely not in College Park, MD anymore…

Talk about a welcome to Indonesia!

Can’t believe i’ll be back home in 3 short weeks, strange and exciting to think about.

Cheers mates!

-Sahil

Morning Update

I was actually woken up this morning by a rooster. There seems to be about a million living in all directions of me, and i finally understand the old saying.

Got up this morning and continued to bang out some blog posts, and as soon as i post these online i think i’ll be all caught up!

Went on a quick run to see the area a bit, and shit it is hot outside! The humidity, combined with me being so out of shape made for a rather short run. I did see 5 or 6 roosters haha. Hoping if i keep running everyday, by the time i get back to the US maybe running will be much easier back home due to the decreased humidity. Still haven’t figured out how to let any light in to my room as the windows are all covered up. I could leave my front door open but would be exposing my belongings to other people and more importantly mosquitos. Anyhow, there are about a million and one things to see here around every corner, and think i’m gonna be taking an unnecesary amount of pictures of just about everything i see…apologies in advance!

The lady who works here ran into me again, and spent another 5 minutes speaking at me in Indonesian with me helplessly looking on. After gesturing wildly back and forth, and her making some interesting grunts i came to interpret it as she wanted me to pay for the towel or something? Haven’t even really gotten out of my “hotel”/neighborhood and this country is already an adventure haha

Should be a VERY interesting two weeks!

-Sahil

My Jungle adventure

On my off day, i decided that i wanted to go visit Taman Negara National Park in Malaysia. Taman Negara is the oldest rainforest in the world, and also has the longest canopy walk in the world. There was a private tour you could go with that included transportation there and back, jungle trekking, the canopy tour, lunch at a floating restaurant, rapids ride, and a visit to an aborigine village. The tour was a bit on the pricey side, but figured i wasn’t sure when the next time i would have a chance to go to the jungle would be so went for it, and it was worth every penny. I tried to register for the the program by myself, but it is a limit of 2 people, so managed to convince my aussie bud ben to come with me, and was so glad he came!

Our driver, Hari, picked us up from the Federal hotel bright and early at 6am. After talking for a while Ben and i just passed out as it was so early in the morning.

We stopped to grab an absolutely delicious breakfast at a small local restaurant. The roti was unbelievable!

We both proceeded to pass out for the next 2 hours on the ride to the rainforest but the moments i was awake for the ride was beautiful. Apparently, our driver said he had tried to wake us up as there was a giant snake and a panther that had crossed the road in front of us which would have been cool to see

After our 3 hour+ drive, we finally arrived at Taman Negara national park!

We met up with our cool tourguide, Zali, and hopped onto a boat and crossed the river to register for the park.

After registration, we hopped back into the boat and went down the river for a few minutes. We got off the boat, and hiked up about a million steep steps to get to the canopy tour!

Canopy tour map – there were 12 different platforms!

Epic

On the first walkway! The walkway was surprisingly narrow, and far more difficult to walk across than i imagined. It was basically one really thin board that you walked on, that kept turning back and forth causing you to fall left and right into the protective netting. Somewhat nerveracking at first, but only added to the excitement of the walk.

Following our canopy tour, we met up with Zali once more and began our jungle trek!

Found the oldest tree in the rainforest, (making it the oldest tree in any rainforest in the world?) and so naturally had to climb it!

Zali tore off some lemony smelling leaves for us that i believe the orang asli (Aborigine people) use to cook

Good view spot #1…that’s actually what they called this place haha

With ben at Good view spot #2…it was such a hike getting there. Literally a quarter mile straight up, and even though we were looking forward to the way down, that proved to be even more difficult due to the steep decline. I need to get back in shape haha

Met some belgian kids

After the jungle trek, we took the boat back to the main area and grabbed lunch at a floating restaurant. I was starving so got a chili chicken dish, tom yam, and a mango smoothie joant.

Not what i was expecting when i ordered a mango smoothie!

We walked up this sweet path to go change into our board shorts as we prepared for the rapids ride.

Hopped back in the boat, and ventured off through the rapids! Covered up our bags so that our stuff wouldn’t get wet, but the waterproof camera came in handy once again as i have some great vids form the rapids! There were about 4 total, and we all ended up getting soaked as the boat rocked back and forth and zali sprayed us with water

Off to the rapids!

We drove past a smaller orang asli village and saw all the children walking around.

They were all playing in the water. When we drove past them on the way back, one of them was actually brushing their teeth in the water. Was amusing to see at the time, but now that i think about the color and cleanliness of the water makes me think..

After the rapids adventure, we finally made it to the Orang Asli village! These people had lived in the jungle for hundreds of years, and recently embraced allowing people to come visit them as it was a source of income. More importantly, they finally began to understand what they could do with that money, which was buy things. As silly as it may sounds, beforehand they had received money but just had no idea what to do with it.

Momma with that tight fro and her kids

Convinced this cool dude named Zizam, who surprisingly spoke english, to let me check out his fresh pad

Man make fire. Was cool to see. Was even cooler when i actually made fire myself!

Although it’s hard to say, this was possibly the coolest thing i did all day. The villagers showed us how they made their poisonous blow darts that they used to hunt wild animals. They would put the darts into a blowgun, and blow really hard and shoot it at their prey.
They amusingly set up a teddy bear as a target, and we were all allowed to try out shooting the blow darts! I was surprisingly decent at it, knew my trombone playing days form 3rd – 8th grade would come in handy at some point haha.

Shooting blow darts!

Just had to take a picture of this guy because he was such a clown. His name was Fabio, and was the most stereotypical, fat, singing, slightly dumb italian that you could think of. Can’t quite put him into words, but he was almost like a ridiculous cartoon character haha

Fat Fabio

Before we left, i was still enamored by the blow darts so half-jokingly i asked if we were allowed to buy them. Turns out that we were! They had made smaller versions of the blowdarts, and so ben and i picked a pair of them up, and a bunch of others followed our lead.
We attempted to shoot them when we got back to the hotel, and they worked like a charm. Gonna be such a great party accessory, and can’t wait to shoot darts at freshman trying to come into our house haha

Was only 7 bucks!

The gang! There is only one thing wrong with this picture..

All in all, it was an adventure packed, fun filled day and felt like i really made the most of my day off. Malaysia was awesome, and when you go visit, definitely add this to your list of places to go!

Cheers mates!

Malaysian Madness – Pt.2

I’m finding that i’ve been able to be super productive without internet so far. Although i was rather frustrated at first, i’m just using the time to catch up on the blog at this point. Oh yea, i landed in Indonesia and am in Jakarta right now. Have a blog post on my first day in this colorful country coming soon!

So much happened in my lat week in malaysia that i just decided the best way to catch up on the blog would be to post a bunch of random pictures, and then fill in the details and hopefully they’ll follow some chronological order or something like that.

Here it goes!

For lunch one day, bossman Rajiv, me, grace, and panto the kitchen manager went to a famous vegetarian restaurant in a part of town that i’d never been to before, masjid india. I was fascinated by many of the things i saw on my way to the entrance of the restaurant, so decided to walk around and take some pictures. Right after i left the restaurant, i saw some youngish looking people, and we started talking and turns out that they were AMERICANS! First Americans that i’d met my whole trip in Malaysia, and was ecsttic to have met them. They were from Cali and traveling around, so refreshing to speak with a fellow american, and got me rather excited to get back!

Food.

Food on plate, but not for long as it was in my belly shortly after this picture was taken.

After lunch, i went walking around masjid india and found a pretty sweet marketplace!

Saw this poster, and found it rather amusing but really liked the message at the same time. There are three major races that KL is composed of, Indians, Malays, and Chinese, and although they co-exist relations can be strained at times so really liked that the city was making an effort to unite the country!

On my walk home, i ran into some really friendly, adorable kids!

That night, after work i decided to get some hawker stall food for dinner. Met a great couple from Belgium, and ended up grabbing dinner with them. We had a couple beers, and after having to deal with a terribly obnoxious street guitarist, spent the evening talking about the European union and our respective lives.

After dinner, they told me that i had to try some Mangosteen, and so we went to the vendor down the road and thomas picked some up! I was skeptical at first due to the ants crawling around the skin and the off putting color, but once you peeled back the outer shell it turned out it was delicious!

That night, i was planning on meeting up with my aussie friends. They were at karaoke, so i hopped in a cab to head over and meet them. Asian karaoke is the best! They give you and your friends a private room that you pay for, and then you can just embarrasingly belt out some hilarious tunes without worrying about what anyone thinks. Best part is they deliver drinks to your private rooms!

Things got kinda wild after a few long islands..

After karaoke, we hopped in a cab and headed down to bukit bintang!

Managed to talk my way into reggae bar for free by saying that i wanted to take a picture of this. Ironically, since no one else could get in for free i actually did end up just walking in and taking a picture of this mural, and then leaving haha

The next day, my boss decided that he wanted to take me around the city and show me some of the cool places that i hadn’t had a chance to check out just yet in Kuala Lumpur.

The following are pictures of me doing the “awkward tourist pose” around Kuala Lumpur..

I want your outfit.

Played a sweet game of mancala on a huge set with Rajiv!

I got stuck in this giant joant joant for a while..

Played the thabla for a bit

Got some dankity dank mango juice

Pictures are far more fun with friends

Ran into some funny talking parrots

So coool

Independence flag was soo epic!

Headed off to the amazing national mosque for a few minutes

Even though it was closed for tourists, i managed to get inside and check out the mosque!

Breathtaking

Afterwards, we headed to bangsar village where the old outback restaurant that just closed was located. I spent the evening wandering around the malls, and ended up at the bookstore where i’ve spent far too many hours in the last few days reading about all sorts of random, unrelated topics.

The next day, i had one of the most incredible days of my life, as i went to the oldest rainforest in the world Taman Negara! Will have a full blog post coming up next in line. Anyhow, i got back really tired and realized that the US womens world cup title game was on. Literally went running around outside for a bit at 3am trying to find a place to watch the match, as i couldn’t get it streaming.

Finally found a place cleverly named the “foodball junction” right down the road and started watching the depressing match. Was the only American there, and was defiintely annoying at the end of the game with everyone cheering.

I helped with the closing of one of the two outback locations in Malaysia at Bangsar. Learned a lot about what goes into closing a business, and was a learning experience. Even though i’d only been there for a few days, was still sad to see the place all closed down. Peacee bangsar!

That night, i went shopping and picked up some sweet traditional malaysian clothing! 2 pants, and 1 shirt for 15 bucks…gotta love asia!

Wednesday was my last day in Malaysia, as my flight to Jakarta was thursday morning at 9:50. I spent the day at Bangsar, and actually just hung out at the bookstore for hours reading as there wasn’t much for me to do left during the restaurant closing. At lunchtime, we decided to go to the amazing bananaleaf place that we went to my first week over here.

Just as the first time, it was absolutely delicious! I loved the concept soo much, and am thinking about incorporating it if i end up starting a restaurant chain in the near future.

Nothing like eating with your hands!

Wrapped up one of the waitresses in bubble wrap…she had a weird crush on me and i think she was trying to convince me to take her to NY for some reason haha

Me with the bossman

The night before, we had a press night at the BB park restaurant location. The event was organized to promote the restaurants recently launched new dinner menu, as well as the brand new lunch menu that was just rolled out, and I actually ended up presenting in front of the media for a bit to talk about the awards that the restaurant had received last year. As a result, i decided i might as well just sit down at the media table, meet some interesting people, and promote outback to writers. This cute british girl, who happened to be the writer, sat next to me and she turned out to be super interesting and we ended up talking for most of the evening, and decided to meet up the next night for dinner.

After the event, i finally met up with old family friend Neil Dave. Neil is related to Saroj auntie, and i hadn’t seen him in 11 years and actually didn’t remember meeting him in the first place so felt like i was sort of going on a blind date with a guy to some extent; but we had been fbook messaging one another and mom wanted to meet up so i said why not. Turned out to be a GREAT decision, as neil and i hit it off immediately. Crazy that even though we live on opposite sides of the world, we were able to connect instantly and had so many similar interests and ideas. Spent the evening talking about our lives, passions, and goals and downed 5 or 6 beers at various locations. All in all, super glad we met up and hope to keep in touch with him in the future!

Anyways, the next day i met up with the british girl and we went to a nice indian restaurant in Bangsar, even though i was still stuffed from the banana leaf meal haha. She was a super interesting, intelligent person who was aspiring to be a novelist some day! Was great talking about our travels, and seemed that we shared similar ideology on most things. Definitely going to use her story to convince people that they can travel the world and do what you want to do, as she just decided one day that she wanted to move to Kuala Lumpur, and she did it. She ended up finding a job she loved as a journalist, and spent a year here and is about to move to Thailand and do it all over again. Make your own luck!

Dinner with Sarah!

All in all, Malaysia was an absolutely amazing trip, and think i continued to learn soo so much about the world and myself. Would highly recommend traveling alone at least once in your lifetime, as you are forced to get to know yourself so much better than you did before, and meet so many interesting people. Although i was in Malaysia, i feel like i gained so much knowledge about the british, Australians, and New Zealanders all because i was forced to go out of my comfort zone and approach random people.

If you have the chance, you should definitely visit malaysia as it is an amazing, often overlooked country that has some incredible things to see, do and experience!

Cheers mates!

-Sahil

Elephant Sanctuary!

Kuala Kandhar Elephant Sanctuary!

One evening while at work at Outback, i met a wonderful mother/daughter table from New Zealand. They were from christ church, the city that was rocked by the earthquakes in New Zealand, and we started talking and i ended up hanging out with them for nearly 2 hours that night…probably not the best decision being that it was one of my first days at work but they were super interesting so i went along with it. Turns out, Christ church has had 7500, yes 7,500 Aftershocks in the year following the earthquake which took place on boxing day (Day after xmas).

They mentioned that they were planning a trip to an elephant sanctuary, and being that elefantes are my favorite animal my ears instantly perked up. They told me their hotel concierge gave them the info, so went to check it out after work. I pretended i was staying at the federal hotel, and had the concierge give me all the details.

The tour was leaving the next morning at 9am, so even though it was only my second day of work i had to call my bos and ask if i could move my day off work up so i could go play with some elephants! Fortunately he agreed, and i couldn’t wait for promised to be an epic experience.

Elephant day

The next morning, i got all my shit together and headed off to the federal hotel to catch the bus to the sanctuary at 9am. Felt that it was only fitting that i be wearing my elephant boxers to the sanctuary.

Grabbed a 66 cent breakfast from the shop across the street from my old hotel, was delicious! Also, steadily improving at using chopsticks…figure that being in Asia i should come back having at least basic proficiency in that skill haha

Hopped on the bus, and we were off! I was riding solo, like usual, so was intrigued to see who i would meet on this adventure.

We stopped at a couple places on our way to the sanctuary. The first was an awesome spot where a lady was hand painting these incredible designs on a cloth.

She did this in less than 10 minutes!

The next stop was a bathroom break, and i went around through the markets just checking some stuff out.

Found some toy guns i had to play with

Met an awesome lady and her daughter, and she even offered to give me a free drink because she liked me. I was so taken aback by this gesture that i paid her 5x the actual price of the drink (a miniscule total of$1.66) and she couldn’t have been more ecstatic and gracious. It was so crazy to think that such a little amount of money literally made that womans day, and was such a huge deal in her life. Really makes you appreciate all that we are blessed with, and i would have paid 10x that amount just to see such a genuine expression of happiness from such a wonderful person 🙂

We drove a few feet down the road to grab a local meal at some chinese style restaurant.

After lunch, we finally made it to the elephant sanctuary!

Our goofy, and super interesting tourguide was laying all sorts of interesting elephant facts on us all day. Apparently he lived in the jungle for 6 months to study elephants…wtf haha. After a quick video in regards to how they actually bring the elephants to the sanctuary from the jungle that left me with mixed feelings, we went to the elephants stomping ground.

Tourguide with a fresh Malaysian shirt

The first baby elephant came out, and then the flood gates were opened! Everyone started feeding this guy peanuts which was cool to see

All the trainers came out riding different elephants, and took them into the water to bathe them. Was soo cool watching the elephants play in the water, and even cooler watching the guys working there just hanging out with them and giving them baths…potentially the best job ever haha

They brought them back to the main feeding area, and started hosing them down a bit more to wash off some of the muddy water.

This guy was loving it!

That super tight elefante crew all lined up

They brought out a bunch of buckets of fruit, and so we all grabbed some and started feeding the elphants!

…Naturally, i had to bring the toes with me ^

Was so craazy having the elephant eat out of your hands, as they just sucked the fruit right up and it almost felt like they were gonna take your hand up with it!

During the feeding session, i met some awesome australian kids who were traveling around. We started talking and ended up hanging out for the rest of the afternoon. Sadly, the only reason that they had heard of the staet of maryland was because the punk rock band good charlotte was from there haha. Turned out those kids ended up being my best friends over in kuala lumpur, and was so happy to have met them!

With my new aussie buds a few days later!

Anyways, Hanging with one of the elephants..

After feeding the elephants, we all climbed on to the elephant riding platform and took our respective turns riding the elephants. Was an awesome experience, and only reinforced my belief that elephants are just the tightest animal. Definitely trying to ride one if i end up doing the whole indian wedding thing. Also, i’m thinking riding through the jungle on an elephant would be the coolest thing ever..

Afterwards, they brought a few elephants into the water, and everyone hopped in and started playing with them! So glad i brought and bought my waterproof video camera, as it allowed me to take a bunch of footage in the water! It was pretty funny when you got in the water, as the trainers told you to hop on the elephant while it was sitting down. All of a sudden, he would shout “1,2,…3!” and then out of nowhere he started splashing you with water and joyfully yelling, and then the other 30 people joined in making for one rather amusing, strange experience.

All in all, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Was the second time i’ve ridden an elephant, and being able to go in the water with and feed them was pretty unforgettable. Would highly recommend riding one at some point, as iit’s wayy cooler than riding a horse haha

Cheeers,

-Sahil