Guest Blogger: Sweaty American (in South East Asia)
He will starts his own blog soon so I let him test his blogging skill on mine for a post or two 😛
I want to share with you my view of southeast Asia. A brief history lesson, first. My name is Michael and I grew up in Alaska. The furthest north state of the United States. For reasons best kept to political arguments with my own countrymen, I might present myself as Alaskan rather than American. End lesson one. Please forgive me if I make too many comparisons to home, but this is my point of view.
Let’s start simple. The climate. It is a big change coming from so farth north to the midway point of Earth. The temperature difference is enormous. I can sweat in the mildest of conditions in the north. Now, just think how disgustingly sweaty I must be in this humidity I can’t escape.
But, the weather and the climate difference can be easily overcome. I really want to share my experience with people. We all have our own preconceptions about “the other side of the world”. Some might originate in the tiniest of truth, but from what I’ve seen, most are based solely on rumor and images of celebrities.
Before I first visited Malaysia, I was told to beware because it is a Muslim nation. I hope it’s obvious now that I didn’t care. With my preconceived notions of what that might mean, I was a little surprised to see that not only are other religions and faiths condoned, but are actually promoted. Although, to be honest, I think most people in Malaysia like any reason not to have to go to work. This is not unlike home, but in the US, the only difference is that the government simply doesn’t get involved.
The attitude of the people in Malaysia and the rest of southeast Asia is a little more reserved than what I am used to. People are quite a bit more laid back in this humid part of the world. There is a great comparison to much of the rural areas of the US. One thing that sticks out to me is that nobody is ever in a rush to get anywhere. That is until they step into an elevator and they are quick to push the close button! Or, sometimes in the infamous traffic jams where the occasional impatient person might think they can get somewhere faster by honking that horn.
This brings me to the beautiful, yet sometimes overwhelming motorbikes of Asia. While common for motorbikes to follow their own rules as if they’re pedestrians on foot in these countries, it is unimaginable in the US. As a newcomer, I didn’t know how I’d ever cross the street with all these motorbikes! Let me tell you, it did take a little getting used to and now, I think I feel right at home with them speeding by within the closest of margins with the entire family on board.
While many goals of people and modern conveniences are the same here and at home, I don’t want to lull anybody into a slumber before I can share all of my observations. I hope to share bit by bit my experience from an American, or Alaskan, point of view of this beautiful area of the world. Perhaps I can shed light on a few of the preconceived notions we all might have, and I hope to keep learning all the things this Asian peninsula has to teach. I might even learn a little about myself.