It’s Not You, Malaysia, It’s Us

We just don’t know how to say it, M. We had planned to spend a month with you. Really, yes. What? Of course! We wouldn’t lie to you, not about that. Those first three days in May were wonderful. Unplanned, spontaneous. Look, Mumbai doesn’t even know any better. We were never there. We had such a good time, didn’t we? Glitzy buildings, ‘Avengers’, six dollar dinners for four. And look, we’re really just trying to enjoy the rest of our time together, here and now.

Thailand? Well that was rather an … excursion … and, no, no, we’re not trying to avoid the subject of Burma. No, we just don’t think it will get us anywhere to make comparisons. What can we say? We won’t treat you like you’re stupid and say Thailand was touristy. What’s the point? You want to hear that Thailand was 43 Celsius and overrun with pale-skinned shabbies draped in yards of too-loose cotton?You want us to say we were kidnapped in Burma for a five dollar ransom? But, but what? We’re not supposed to say anything about the Lanna Thai teak buildings, the golden Buddhas, and the 25 cent plates of Pad Thai? The amazing hospitality and simple friendliness of the Burmese, the stunning stilted villages of Inle? Why don’t we just leave the past in the past, M? We are here after all, and we didn’t go to Australia early, right? We’re even going Down Under a couple of days later than planned, and that’s for your sake, M. Wait – what – Singa – you’re going to bring that up? Oh, come now, M! Staying in Singapore a couple of days longer than planned! That’s really unfair. The SEA Games were on, it was Oliver’s birthday, and we had hot water for the first time in a month! And haven’t we said a hundred times how much we prefer your vibrant KL to Singapore’s planned perfections? Yes, really. We even told our mothers. Oh, absolutely. So can we just try to make the best of the time we have?

The Batu Caves were wonderful yesterday; and we are so thankful for the fireflies and nature reserve you shared with us today. We’re excited to see Merdeka Square, and your National Museum tomorrow. And there is so much more to see in your jungles, coasts, islands, and Borneo wilds. It would be really sweet to spend a lot more time with you, M. I know, it isn’t easy to hear us say that after we tore off to the north. But we came back to you, M. We didn’t dash off to Indonesia or Brunei; we didn’t let China turn our eye. So, M, maybe if we have a trip to Melaka, or a bit of snorkeling, we can take this thing to the next level. Oh, yeah, we mean it. Now there, is that a little smile?

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