-Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-
After leaving Cameron Highlands I went east to Taman Negara, a national park comprised of untouched primary jungle. Here I did a day trip into the forest and saw a few lizards (big and small), many kinds of birds, giant insects, wild boar, butterflies, a snake, fish, and probably a deer. The third night there I decided to stay in the jungle at an observation hide. I went with another German guy, and we hiked in 12 km to the hide. We were told it would be easy, but it turned out to be one of the hardest hikes I have ever done. Not only were we hiking with moderately heavy packs in the jungle heat and humidity, but the trail was up and down, crossing over streams, and at places required the aid of ropes to maneuver the trail. We were not mentally prepared for such a hike, and after every rumble of thunder and every fallen tree we had to scramble over, we grew more unsure of our decision.

Eventually we made it. The hide overlooks a small clearing with salt licks that attract animals at night. Thunder constantly rumbled as the sky grew dark, occasionally lightning lit up the sky. There was no moonlight and at around midnight it began to pour down on the tin roof, making it deafening at times. We saw no animals. One consolation for us though, was that along the hike we came across a small family of Orang Asli, the native people of Malaysia. The father was making a fire to cook a lizard, and the mother was holding a small baby. They were all shirtless, barefoot, and the women had some leaves on her head. We tried not to stare, but both parties were obviously quite curious of each other. It was a small, short encounter, but intriguing and interesting nonetheless.

After Taman Negara, I came to Kuala Lumpur. KL is a modern city with fast cars, high rises, and McDonalds. Today I bought a Sudoku book at Borders, got some coffee at Starbucks, and ate a combo meal at Burger King. I walked around in two different malls with over eight floors each, and took the light rail train to get to them. Afterwards, I bought a knock off Brazil football jersey and a fake pair of Adidas shoes. Just your average day as a backpacker in a major SE Asian city. The last two days I visited the orchid gardens, butterfly park, and the fourth largest tower in the world for a 360 degree nighttime view of KL; these places held more more merit than the shopping mails.

Tonight -or this morning- I fly out of KL to Paris via Kuwait City and Kuwait Airlines. My plane is at 3:15am, which sucks but it was a cheap flight so I cannot really complain (KL to Paris for less than 550$). Between finishing some long-winded Dostoevsky and starting some tough Sudoku, I should be able to keep myself occupied for a while no matter what terminal I may be holed up in.

I am a little apprehensive about going to Paris; I have become quite accustomed to Asian culture, the food, social norms. Plus I have no proper clothes for Paris. But I know that once I get into my hostel and put my bags down, the apprehension will disappear. I can't wait to sit down with a proper glass of wine, in The City of Light, and just people watch. That is my reward to myself for having survived half a year in foreign lands with nothing but a guidebook, a backpack, an ATM card, and of course my wit.