Chinesia

I leave tomorrow for four weeks of traveling around Southeast Asia. I’m going with a couple friends (who are also my bandmates). The plan is to fly into Hong Kong, stay for three nights, then meet up with another friend who lives in Singapore. He was the keyboard player in our band before he left to take a promotion with his company. So we’re probably going to spend the better part of a week jamming, lazing around by the pool, and hopefully play a show or two in town.

After that, we’ll likely spend a couple weeks in Malaysia. I’ve been spearheading the plans for this leg of the adventure. I’m focusing on two areas to use as home bases: Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. Those areas on their own seem to be great places to visit. But they also should make good launching pads for other areas nearby. So if we spend about a week in each spot, we can venture out for day trips or overnights. After that, I’d like to fit in Malaysian Borneo, but that’s an additional flight. We’ll have to see how things go.

While doing research I noticed a cultural thread throughout all the areas we’ll be visiting. Every place has a distinct Chinese quality to it. There’s Hong Kong of course. But also Singapore, which is ethnically 2/3rds Chinese. And in Malaysia, Chinese make up the largest minority. So in a way, I’ll be moving through a lot of Chinese culture without ever setting foot in mainland China. There also appears to be a large Indian minority in all three places. I’ve never been to China, but I’ve been to India. I’m excited to visit little pockets of India and conjure up a taste of those sights and sounds again. What’s really odd to me is that Buddhist/Confucian/Taoist (Chinese) and Hindu (Indian) cultures reside in Malaysia, which is an Islamic country. I’m sure I’ll learn more about how that works while I’m there.

Korea is such a homogenous society and this seems like a very heterogeneous trip. Bring it on. I could use a little diversity for a change.

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