My journal is overflowing with notes (and one sketch of a merlion--I'll explain later), and I plan to transcribe all of the reasonably interesting parts when I get back. But I do want to say I blogged from abroad, so here I am, typing from the lobby of the Holiday Inn at Damai Beach in Malaysia.
1) At the Sarawak Cultural Village, a "living museum" of tribal longhouses condensed for tourist purposes, we saw gorgeous traditional dances...followed by a live song and dance number to "Malaysia Truly Asia," the song the Malaysian tourism board uses in all its TV commercials. Maybe the dancers were just tired, since it was the end of the show, but it seemed like the their moves were a little lackluster. Like they weren't truly into lyrics like, "Mal-aayy-sia, it will steal your heart away...."
2) More dried fish on rice at breakfast. My travel skills are not many, but I will eat pretty much anything and love it. The national question--a la "how's the weather?"--seems to be, "Have you tried durian?" Durian is a stringy, stinky fruit that looks like a Frank Gehry building on the outside. And I am surprising the locals by answering, "Yep, and I love it." So yeah, durian, dried fish, all sorts of gooey rice-based desserts. I haven't had fish head curry yet, which is big in Singapore, but I'll let you know.
3) We saw a monkey! A light yellow little guy swinging through the real trees above the fake waterfall outside our hotel. It was one of those moments when you realize you're really not at home. At home I have neither a fake waterfall nor a real monkey.
More to follow.