-Tanah Rata, Malaysia-

So I have been neglecting my journals, both my personal and online journals. I have so busy laying on the beach getting a tan that I couldn't bother myself to sit down in front of the computer or take time to lift a pen.

I was on Ko Tao for about a week getting my scuba open water certification. This basically means that I can go diving to up to 18m. I did some extra dives after my training, because I got a great deal on it, it was convenient, and it meant I got to dive in one of the best spots in the world. I saw a moray eel, scorpion fish, blue spotted stingray, a box fish, porcupine fish, and all sorts of bright, neon, multi-colored fish. It was a blast. I made a lot of new friends while doing it, and had a whole new set of future opportunities presented to me. I had no problem spending an extra time on Ko Tao, because it is absolute paradise; blue waters, sandy beaches, and good food. I will definately be going back to Ko Tao in the future. I also stayed a few days in Ko Pangnan with a friend that I had met up in Nepal. We went to a monthly beach party and I got to see some of my friends from diving there. It was a lot of fun and hard to leave.

After spending two weeks on the islands, I went back to the mainland and headed south. Crossing the border from Thailand to Malaysia was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. I had to take a bus, then a taxi, then another taxi (first one broke down), then walked over the border to find no buses. So I had to get an expensive normal car-taxi to a bus stop where I was told to wait for a bus that would arrive sometime that day. While sitting there a man came up to me and, well I don't quite understand how it came to this, because I think he wasn't quite clear with me, but he ended up driving me to the next town 's bus station for free, no gimmicks or games or robbery. And then he bought my ticket for me and wouldn't let me pay him back. I was completely taken aback. He leaves and I proceeded to wait for 4 hours until the bus came, and when it finally did, the ride took longer than expected, and I missed the connecting bus I needed to make it up here to Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata). I stayed the night in Ipoh and had some of the spiciest Tom Yom soup ever made. The next day I got a bus up to here and have been pleasantly surprised. It is at a higher elevation so it is cooler, and the people are very friendly with no real hassle. I did a jungle hike today and walked to a tea plantation. In a couple of days I will head to Taman Nagara which is a primary forest that has never been logged and is thousands of years old.

I only have about 10 days left in Asia before making a stop in Paris for a week. It is strange to be winding down my trip, and having a definitive end date. But I am looking forward to Paris and being home finally and preparing for my next set of adventures. I also updated my map so you can see where I was when I wasn't writing in my journal.