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Nabeel Farah


Dearly beloved,
Greeting from
Borneo in Malaysia. Kota Kinabalu (kk) was once know as British Jesslton . After the British left the Japanese came. Then came allied bombs and a Japanese scorched earth retreat. Today KK is a rich tapestry of culture. The seedy seaside market is massive. Bustling with locals the market is mostly destitute Pilipino immigrants touting their wares. Fish, produce, exotic drink...it runs the gamut of food and odors...the way the food is prepared would make even the most lax of heath inspectors cringe, however this is no obstacle to the provident
 backpacker who has prophylactic Levaquin as his breakfast of champions....ah my stomach is like steel!! ....its hard to get more surreal than watching the sun fade into a crimson yellow sky as merchants yell at customers in a songlike manner... the smell of raw fish and Malay cuisine not quite overwhelming the nose. The islands off the coast I visited are no less exotic. Mamutic island. Manukan island... of note a few islands down  the TV show survivor was filmed. The water is absolutely pristine. Snorkeling through turquoise water all manner of tropical fish are encountered darting through the coral, all this against the backdrop of lush verdant jungle abutting into the sand....monkeys frolic on the beach and clamor for food.
Malaysia is a predominantly Islamic country. Malay women bustle through the roads wearing colorful headscarves and brilliantly decorated dresses. Perhaps it is some of the smaller things and little quirks that collectively add to the flavor of all that is Malaysia....after buying a meal my only change was one coin, however the lady presented it to me with all the care of an ob/gyn delivering a baby. As she presented the coin to me with both hands I though what if everyone America was this polite. Other quirks....my accommodation is in KK...minimalistic to say the least. The entire place shares a toilet/shower room barely 3ftX3ft in size. (note to self a small room with a shower just above the toilet does not a good house Make).  Well soon Borneo will be but a not so distant memory but not before grade 4 white water rafting in the Padas river. Next up...the royal kingdom of Brunei. Then its Thailand, Cambodia, China, Japan, and Singapore to conquer.




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