After thee days in Hong Kong I was ready to get out of the place, but I had a full day to kill till my flight at 8 o’clock. I slept in, then thought about taking a ferry to the ancient land of Macau, then decided to just catch a ferry to Wan Chai, then was pissed off because it was busy and hot and I had chafing between my legs that made it feel like my balls were going to catch on fire at any minute. I grabbed a beer and wandered aimlessly, ending up at the Happy Valley Racecourse. Which was closed.
Luckily, there was a bus stop advertising trips to Aberdeen, which was the only major place from Shenmue II that I hadn’t visited. It’s funny, I saw every place backwards – in the game, Ryo goes to Aberdeen, then Wan Chai, Kowloon and Guilin, and I did it the wrong way. Still, that’s better than wearing my shirt the wrong way or something. I remember my father did that one day, and even though I told him about it he still went to the shops with his bloody shirt on backwards. He’s a lot older now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he now goes along to Bi-Lo without any pants on or something. Still, at Green Point Bi-Lo that would probably make him most fashionable person there.
Aberdeen was a nice place, relatively quiet and with a pleasant harbour to walk along. There were heaps of those junk boats floating around, some pretty sailing ships, and all up it made for a pleasant way to spend a day. And then my Hong Kong adventure was over, and it was time to move on to my next port of call – Malaysia!
The plane to Penang was almost empty, but a young Chinese couple still had to sit next to me the whole way. I was annoyed at first, but then I noticed they were very nervous, like they had drugs stuffed up their blurters or something. The the girl went off to the toilet, and the bloke headed off a minute or two later, trying (and failing) to act cool. The cheeky bastards were trying to join the Mile High Club (incidentally, both me and my brother are members of the Metre High Club, which simply involves masturbating on the train from Central to Gosford. Uh, we didn’t do it together).
Anyway, a couple of minutes after old mate’s tottered off, I hear a scream from the back of the plane, and rushed up there with a couple of hosties. I forced the door open, and inside was the Chinese couple, all twisted around each other like they’d been in a car accident. They were screaming like they were being stabbed, and even though I couldn’t understand them it wasn’t hard to work out what had happened – they’d popped in for a root, and doing the dirty in the cramped Air Asia brasco had caused thee fella’s back to lock up, and the girl to get stuck between the sink and the wall. They had to stay that way until we landed an hour later, and some firefighters raced on to save them and probably have a good laugh.
Penang Airport was about as technically advanced as a Down Syndrome person’s lunch, but I raced through it and into a taxi, and was soon burning through late-night Malaysia. It was such a change from China – quiet, with clean air and English words written on buildings everywhere. It really felt like home after being in such a strange place. And then I got to my hotel, and it didn’t feel like home at all.
I was only using this joint as a flop house for about six hours till I caught a ferry out to the island paradise of Langkawi the next morning, but it was horrendous. When I walked in the front door, two old men were sitting in filthy chairs watching a hardcore porno on a black and white TV, joined by about half a dozen rats. The whole place smelled of rotten cabbage and sweat. Paint peeled from the walls, the carpet was ripped with patched of what looked like dried puke, and a dim corner of the room held what appeared to be a dead prostitute. It was like something out of a horror movie but fuck it, I had to sleep somewhere.
I called out to one of the perverts and he jumped up and walked over to a counter without putting his pants on or taking his eyes away from the TV. He threw a key at me, pointed up the stairs, then went back to jacking off with his mate. I went up the stairs as quickly as I could go.
My room smelt like piss. There were blood stains on the walls, and I’m pretty sure there was a peep hole drilled in the wall of the toilet, so I didn’t use it. I just pissed in the corner, figuring it would only improve the stench in the room.
I tried to wash my hands in the tap, and something that looked like black tar drizzled out, so I didn’t bother. I slept fully clothed, with a shirt between my head and the pillow, only waking up when someone in another room would scream in either ecstasy or terror. Around four, I woke up with the sensation of something sitting on my chest, and opened my eyes to see the biggest, meanest rat sitting there. I threw it off, and spent the next couple of hours crouched on my bed, kicking at rats, squashing cockroaches, and wondering if it’s possible to catch AIDS just from spending enough time in a horrible room.
When I left the next morning, the perves were still there watching porn, so I chucked a mandarin a one of their heads and ducked out the door… But it was all worth it, because a few hours later I was in Langkawi, and it was beautiful.
I originally wrote this on May 8, 2012, which was the day the Earth stood still.