- Saturday, January 20th – My luminous friend, Cassie, and I met each other at the Seoul Express Bus Terminal. We were off to venture to Busan, where we would board a plane the following day and start our “hoe-cation.” (NOTE: We did not hoe at all. Also, we don’t know how to hoe. Someone, please teach us.) We both wanted to try the premium buses that go from Seoul to Busan and boy, they did not disappoint despite the hefty price. It was approximately $45 USD for this cushy bus ride that offered movies and music to listen to along with massive amounts of space for you to adjust your seat to your liking. I mostly slept on the bus ride. In the evening, we had a pleasant dinner with our friend, KB, before taking rest overnight at a local guesthouse.
- Sunday, January 21st – Off to Gimhae International Airport we went! We arrived at the airport 2 hours before departure, and in due time, we eventually get on our plane headed to Kuala Lumpur. It’s about a 6-hour flight and we landed at around 4PM. We used Grab to get a ride into the capital and arrived at our lovely residency for the next couple of days. Cassie and I had claypot chicken at a local restaurant nearby and then headed to the rooftop pool before calling it a night.
- Monday, January 22nd – Kuala Lumpur has this lovely city tour bus called the “Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus.” It takes you around the major tourist points throughout the city. Our main stops were China Town, Little Italy, and the Petronas Towers. The bus also took a small break over by the palace. Overall, we really liked this mode of transportation. We weren’t too keen on doing any shopping. We mostly wanted to eat and do some site-seeing. Oh yeah, had some bomb roast pork with fried rice for lunch. The fried rice in Malaysia is flavorful–that’s pretty much all I wanted to eat. We then took a dip in the pool in the evening where we met a 21-year-old Australian girl and chatted about her boy problems. Oh, 21. Such a young age, like a baby. I feel so old now.
- Tuesday, January 23rd – Content with our previous days’ travel, our goal for today was to relax. We had some laksa curry and char kway teow (fried noodles) from a restaurant near our hotel. Both were delicious although I was a little disappointed with the fried noodles. They just looked more delicious in picture than in person. We then spent time in the pool (can’t you tell how much we liked chilling in the pool?). We then retreated inside for the afternoon to do our laundry. We were amazed with the laundry machine as it functions both as a washer and a dryer. The downside is that it took FOREVER just to do both. Anyway, we didn’t do much else as it ended up raining really hard. We ordered 2 large pizzas from Dominos for dinner, which cost about $14 USD (WOWWWWZZA), and then we packed for our next destination.
- Wednesday, January 24th – We venture toward the center of the city by foot to find the mysterious bus that would take us to the airport. After much sweating and guidance from a few of the locals, we found the bus. We were late but the bus was also running late so we actually weren’t late at all. Sitting in the bus, my belly starts to rumble but not in the hungry kind of way. Upon arriving to the airport, I rushed to the nearest bathroom, and yup, this was where the food poisoning aspect of this vacation kicked in. Anyway, we flew into Georgetown, which is on the island of Penang. Georgetown reminded me of all sorts of things: colonial town, quaint foreign village, shopping center. It’s a lot to take in as it’s cute and disorderly but functional and navigable all at the same time. We found our Airbnb, which is a small but tall house in a quiet neighborhood, and thankfully, it didn’t look as haunted as the pictures on Airbnb made it out to be. After checking in, we went out to find food. We had bomb-ass fried rice and fried noodles from a street vendor, and then had some adult drinks from a bar down the street. Exhausted, we called it a night and went to bed and had the most peaceful sleep ever. HAHA. Kidding.
- Thursday, January 25th – I woke up at around 1AM because the other guests coming in were terribly loud or rather the walls were so thin that I could hear everything. Little did I know that something terrible was imminent. I lied awake for awhile and then decided that I would to go use the bathroom. I get halfway down the steps and then I start to grow sweaty. My stomach has a sharp cramp and I knew I had to go but my vision went fuzzy and I felt weak. Oh yeah. I was about to faint. I somehow managed to get to the first floor where the bathrooms were located (our room was on the 3rd floor). Also, I threw my phone in the toilet! Yep! Wonderful! Anyway, you can read about this in my obituary piece! I eventually returned to bed. When I woke up, we set off to Penang Hill, which offered a lovely view of the island. We got up there by train and took a walk to find the oldest mailbox on the island. Riveting, right? When we got down, we wanted to find our way to Kek Lok Si, which is this epic-looking Buddhist temple that looms like giant from a distance. We never found the way to it though (because apparently we can’t read signs) but oh well.
- Friday, January 26th – Like Kuala Lumpur, Penang also offers a Hop-On-Hop-Off (HOHO for short) bus ride. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, they do the beach tour which takes you to the northern coast of the island. We took the bus and decided to stop at the Penang National Park where we took a one-hour hike in the jungle to one of the beaches. Generally, I like hiking but not so much in humid weather. I underestimated what this hike would be like so I trudging through the jungle in denim shorts. However, I did manage to survive! The beach was lovely although none of the beaches in Penang seemed to be used for swimming. Also, at the very end of the beach was a turtle conservatory center where we got to see some of the turtles! Also my phone was broken AF so I bought a book from one of the bookstores inside a mall to help me pass time.
- Saturday, January 27th – The Jetty at Georgetown was full of pigeons, and I watched their behaviors as we waited for one of the buses that would take us to the airport. We were ready and packed for our next stop, which was the island of Langkawi. I was still feeling quite shitty about my phone and bowel movements that when we arrived to the new island, I was all kinds of cranky, especially with the sun trying to shove all sorts of positivity into my face. Our guesthouse is a family-owned place located on a long street that also housed high-end resorts and various restaurants. For dinner, we found a restaurant that served western dishes, which I was happy about. As much as I like Malaysian food, I just wanted something familiar to help ease the tummy cramps in my belly, and the chicken wrap I had hit the right spots.
- Sunday, January 28th – Tuesday, January 30th – Cassie and I resolved to do absolutely nothing. Our main goals for these last few days were to go to the beach, relax, and eat. And that’s what we did. We’d venture in the morning to the beach for a dip in the ocean and have snacks, head back to the guesthouse to rinse off and cool down from the heat, take a nap, read, head out for dinner, have a sunset walk on the beach, and then retreat for the night. Literally that’s all we did. We were satisfied.
- Wednesday, January 31st – Thursday, February 1st – Our last day. I do regret that we didn’t go to the beach one last time but neither of us wanted to deal with wet bathing suits in our bags. We headed to the airport six hours early, had lunch, and spent the rest of the time there reading and shopping. Our flight to Kuala Lumpur came at 6PM and we arrived at the KL Airport an hour later. We had dinner at Burger King, which was comforting. One thing I forgot to mention is at these fast food restaurants, there’s no trash bin where you toss your garbage and leave the tray. This blows my mind as I felt awkward leaving my trash on the table at a fast-food joint. Anyway, we do some window shopping before checking in and going through security for international departures. We then rest at our gate for a bit before I learned that our flight back to Korea had been delayed. Yep. Our 1:50AM flight would now be at 3:25AM. For some reason, I didn’t nap though. Instead, I read another book. When the plane arrived, I was cranky and tired, and I hate sleeping on planes because there’s no real comfortable way to do it unless you’re first class. But I managed and land in Busan at 10:30 AM. It was nice to be back in Korea but nothing felt better than reaching the lovely confines of my officetel. Literally, I walked through the doors and yelled, “I missed you!” to my empty room.
Sarah, 26, died in Georgetown, Malaysia, after waking in the middle of the night to go use the bathroom. She stumbled down two flights of stairs while experiencing a near-fainting spell before crawling into the bathroom, in which she somehow managed to throw her phone and glasses into the toilet. The cause of death is believed to be food poisoning but also maybe lack of sleep and alcohol consumption. She is survived by her phone (that miraculously works!) and her friend, Cassie, who graciously got her toilet paper at an ungodly hour.
On Thursday, January 25th, Sarah died again at 4:30 PM in Georgetown, Malaysia. She realized that her phone did not survive and it was beyond repair at this point. She wept, as her phone was pretty much connected to her life, and she didn’t want to drop 1K to get a new one. Her death was slow and painful as she pretty much died of an overdramatic heart break.