Normally, I am the sort of guy who rarely stinks. Seriously. But today, I was getting funky. After passing through immigration, I walked out did what I always do, I began surveying the area. I saw some taxi drivers sitting near a parking lot, negotiated a price (around 400 baht - $13), and hopped in for the 45 minute drive to the Wakaf Bharu train station. I had a six hour wait before my train to Singapore departed. Without my iPhone to keep me busy and with no electrical plugs to charge my laptop, I scarfed down a veggie cheeseburger, practiced English with a kid who reminded me of my son, and reorganized my backpack.
When traveling on a plane, train, or automobile, or even going to the mall, I make a concerted effort to avoid public restrooms aside from using them when I'm standing. Unfortunately, after approximately 30 hours of traveling, this was no longer possible. After doing a little recon work to find an electrical outlet, I stumbled upon the toilets. Well, the smell hit me, then a few feet later I found them. There, on the wall, above a puddle of water on the sink, was one electrical outlet. It worked, so I plugged in my iPod into my Power Rocks battery, then plugged the Power Rocks into the wall. Bingo, back in business. The only thing was I'd have to sit near the restroom, which meant sitting in the stench. The things one must do for technology.
I took a look around the restroom and found one western toilet. It was absolutely disgusting and there was no way I was waving any body part near it, much less my private parts. The next stall over was a squat toilet, but the floor was covered with water. Oh well, so I did what anyone in need would do...I carefully removed my clothes while standing on my sandals, hung them on the wall, and did my business. One less travel worry and I would be in good shape until I reached my hotel in Singapore...thank Buddha. I grabbed a face cloth, ran it under the sink, and begin cleaning up. Moments later, I was feeling better. I changed my shirt and underwear, walked outside, and sat on the nearest bench, charging my own batteries and the Power Rocks'.
Malaysia to Singapore was truly a bargain. Even when more passengers got on, the seat next to me remained empty. I had plenty of room to stretch. The air-conditioner worked brilliantly, and a short time later, I dozed off.
And I, of course, was brutalized. I was kicked in the face, my chair was kicked so hard it woke me, nearly prompting me to punch the nearest person. That shut them down for a few minutes. Then it started again. They weren't fifty-year-0ld men so they had an endless supply of energy. The mother...well, the mother sat and smiled at me. She clearly had no idea what to do with them and was overwhelmed. Lucky me. Finally, two stops before arriving in Singapore, they said their goodbyes, waved at me, giggled, hit one another a couple of times, yelled at their mother, and thankfully, exited. I was still alive and as we drew closer to Singapore, I felt energized.
Available on Amazon
in Print and Kindle formats