“What sets worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions.” ~ Octavio Paz
Journal, 16 December 2011. Pulau Penang, Malaysia.
BREAKFAST IN PENANG.
7am when I wake up. The whole dorm is still asleep. I get the netbook out and start researching about Pulau Langkawi and Koh Lipe, my next stops.
My bowel is getting better – this journey’s first experience of traveller’s diarrhoea has fortunately been a quick one, the result of a few consecutive Indian meals. Maybe the Universe is giving me a sign? “Indian food. Kryptonite. Must… stay away… from India.”
Agnes, the Polish girl travelling with me and the dynamic duo Sandra and Laurens, wakes up a short while later and we head out for breakfast.
We have a lazy chat about life, relationships and cultural differences between Western and Eastern Europe… After a few days together exploring Malaysia it feels nice to get out of the whole “so where you been”, “where you going” and “how long are you travelling” routines, and have a bit more meaningful (and interesting) conversations.
Yes, Latin societies are quite expressive regarding their emotions and feelings (ever heard an Italian couple having a normal discussion? So much drama in the air you’d swear they were about to go at each others throat) compared to the Slavic culture, fairly more reserved and quiet…
… Unless they’re drunk, of course, at which point any social programming collapses. Same is true for every nation.
Same thing with notions of “private space” and touch as a casual interaction between people and friends – Latins are super comfortable with it and use and abuse of touch, Slavs are not so much… which, come to think about it, feels to me like a deal breaker regarding any romantic prospectives. Touch is one of my favourite flavours.
Hum. I wonder if there is something to be learnt from this conversation?
Sandra and Laurens show up so we go have a walkabout around the city. A few Chinese temples here and there. Visiting a clan house. And lunch at a dim sum restaurant. Hmmmm dim sum…
And Little India. Some of these clothes (“costumes”? “ceremonial garments”?) for women are remarkably sexy, with their exposed flat tummies and belly buttons, and would definitely get some heads turning in London.
Agh. No, no, forget about India. Dangerous, very dangerous. Trust your gut on this.
• My health. I value and respect it even more when I’m not in my prime.
• Lazy breakfast and conversation with Agnes. Could she have cured my fetish for Eastern chicks once and for all?
• Fun morning exploring Penang with Agnes, Sandra and Laurens.