Malaysia & Singapore

7 May 2000
Tuk arrives and we catch a bus to Penang, Malaysia.
Who is Tuk?

Tuk is a Thai woman I met on Railay beach. With the low season looming in Southern Thailand she decided to come travel with me for a while instead of heading back to Bangkok.

And now, for our first big trick: getting her out of the country. It turns out that when you travel Southeast Asia with a Thai woman immigration officials assume she is a prostitute and treat her like chattel. At the Thai border, I literally had to sign her out of the country by filling out some paperwork that "guaranteed" her, while she had to endure the fifth degree from the border police, "How long have you known this man ... Does your family know where you are (she's 27) ... How long will you spend with him ... etc." Not a very pleasant experience.

We'd heard horror stories about Thai women trying to cross the Malaysian border but we actually had much less trouble there. After rattling off an itinerary of a few high-profile tourist spots they stamped her in with a 30 day visa.

Welcome to the road...

8 May 2000
Bus from Penang to Kuala Lumpur.

9 May 2000
We spent the morning shopping and making travel arrangements, and then we hit the major tourist sights in Kuala Lumpur. The National Museum, the supreme courthouse, etc... We ended the day with the views from the top of the 421m (1,380ft) Kuala Lumpur communications tower and then caught the overnight train to Singapore.

10 May 2000
My Sony 505 TX ultraslim laptop seems to be a total loss, so I bought a new computer, an IBM ThinkPad 570 -- 4lbs, 500mhz, 12 gig, 192 meg, but more importantly, a 3-year international warranty. Unfortunately I don't yet have the backup tapes from my old Sony (I want to extract the data off the disk from the dead machine), so I'm trying to get by with a straight Windows environment. Blech!

In the evening we rode the cable car to Sentosa Island, Singapore's quieter, humbler version of Disney Land.

11 May 2000
A bus to Malaysia's Johor Bahru airport, and then a flight to Bali, Indonesia.

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