After a year of planning, a summer of packing, a month of moving, and a the most stressful final two weeks I’ve ever experienced… I thought this day would never come. But it has. And we made it. Aside from the 54,000 won baggage fee Air Asia forced us to pay for our backpacks, on top of the three hours of sleep we managed to sneak in the night before we left, we’re in good spirits.
We arrived in Kuala Lumpur in the late afternoon, and made our way to our very first couchsurfer’s apartment. Before we left, I contemplated leaving my mini-umbrella and a pair of slip on nike (somewhat rain-proof) shoes behind. Thank God I didn’t, because when our subway car pulled into our final station, the doors opened to a downpour and no cover over the station platform. Andrew sprinted out of the train car, while I casually pulled my umbrella out of my backpack pocket and tiptoed between massive puddles to the covered platform.
Our couchsurfer host, Anwar, although gracious to open his apartment to us for the night, didn’t provide his exact apartment number. This was problematic when we tried entering the complex. The guards (who didn’t speak English) were ready to turn us away until a kind resident (who spoke English) asked if we could go inside the complex and try to call him from the cafe within. Anwar finally came down to get us out of the rain, took us to a chain noodle restaurant for dinner, and seemed to get the most animated when we told him about the K-pop slam game we were playing with our students before we left Korea, which was cute. Not so cute; he knew all about Gangnam Style. (Seriously, how did that song travel so quickly?)
One cold shower later, in a bathroom that was obviously used by men only, (Anwar has two dude roommates) I was grateful to sleep longer than three hours, even if it was on a foam mattress on the floor. It’s pretty incredible that perfect strangers will open their home to a fellow traveler to sleep for free, right?