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Different ways …

I checked in to the hostel in Langkawi. Hopefully this island is going to be my new home for a while. I need to unpack and do things in my own pace. Don’t take me wrong, I have loved every second with my friends for the past two weeks but both I and they need some alone time.

By the way, Ying gave me my Chinese name. Ma Len. Isn’t that beautiful!!! I will carry it with pride.

I booked one night at a hostel close to the ferry. Two nights at another place. And tonight I found a place close to a beach. The last one has good reviews from previous guests so I’ll stay there for a week. To start with.

Langkawi is the most northern Malaysian island on the west coast. I have mostly heard good things. But it’s always difficult when kind people give their opinion on a place you’ve never been to yourself. It’s great, it’s expensive, it’s this or that. As always we give advice out of our own box. Someone with money would find the place cheap and the opposite if you travel on a budget.

I take a walk, I have an early dinner, I sit outside the hostel enjoy the cool breeze following the rain. For an unknown reason I have suddenly become the expert of the English language. The owners son comes asking me how to spell this, how to express that. The owner himself comes and talks to me, you know, the usual, where are you from, kids, marital status. Divorced.

Oh…. he says with a sigh. That must be difficult. Do you get money from the state? No, I support myself. And so I try to explain that in my country I’m not dependent on a …. man. I work, I pay my bills, I am free to travel on my own. Just as any man.

These are the FAQ when I travel. And I realise we still have a long way to go.

He married when he was 23 and his wife was 19. 20 years and 5 kids later they run this prosperous hostel.