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Report 20:
„From the Thai East Coast to the Malaysian West Coast“

     We had decided to go to the West Coast of Malaysia. The monsoon hardly ever reaches the mountains in the south of the country. Phattalong was supposed to be the last stop in Thailand. I knew we were gonna need more time. We had to be in Australia by March. Otherwise winter would catch up. That is why we actually wanted to make the passage from HatJay to Alor Setar by train. It was Jutta’s idea to go without the train. On the highway we used the shoulder even though it was forbidden for cyclists.
     In Malaysia Islam is the state religion and we heard muezzin’s prayers again. The Muslim women wear white or coloured kerchiefs and the children are dressed in long trousers for sports activities. At the same time Malaysia is multicultural. The Malaya’s tolerates all kinds of religions: Buddhists, Hindus and Christians. Malaysia is much more industrialised than Thailand. The high number of air-conditioned automobiles is one sign for the higher life standard. You don’t get to see as many Pick-ups as in Thailand, but limousines of European or US-American style. You also see supermarkets offering international products. Fast food is obviously popular here, too. Even people are not as spontaneous. But do not want to complain: They help us and most of them speak English. Moreover we found little accommodations also in smaller towns. In Taipingh the view from our room showed the mountains and the heavy monsoon showers behind them.
     A second ago the owner of the Internet cafe I sit in told me that they are usually closed at this time. He gave me half an hour longer. Isn’t that kind?
     We travelled south passing modern neighbourhoods, some of them almost looking like little ghost towns, because there were no tenants in the shops below. The heat is unbearable in the morning already. We sweat all day. From Port Dicksen we still have 300 kilometres (177 miles) to go till Singapore.