by Eman


I woke up and got dressed in the dark, and you could tell. My makeup was even worse, it was like Olivia from Jerseylicious did my face while she was drunk. But I was too sleepy to realize until I got in the car (with the same driver mind you!) and wiped the drool off my face. No no, that’s an obscene exaggeration. I’m actually really good at waking up even if I’ve had very little sleep. I was just happy that I remembered my dream from last night! And what a dream.

We arrived at UTM and were greeted by a gaggle of professors headed by the vice chancellor who was a bit obnoxious. I didn’t like him very much, he wore a Harvard Business School cell phone tag which I thought was not becoming a vice chancellor of a university other than Harvard. The others were nice though, but I generally find Malaysian to shy away from conversation. I thought I would like that since Americans and the English can’t seem to stop talking, but it just created a lot of awkward silences where no one really knew what was going on. But I figure that is just their culture, maybe they mean it respectfully. I found myself wanting a nice meaningless chat sometimes though. The younger Malaysians are always up for a chat though! They’re a lot of fun. Another things I learned about Malayan culture is that they used to write in Arabic script before switching to latin text in the 80s. Some disciplines still use Arabic letters I am told. I also learned that there are three ethic groups in the country: Malayan, Indo-Malayan and Chinese Malayans and all three ethnic groups live in relative peace.

So after meeting and having breakfast with that lot we were taken to the highest point of the university, on top of a large hill, where we could see the campus in its entirety. And what a campus! It is gorgeous! There were tropical trees everywhere and streams running over shiny pebbles with storks bathing their feet and strange birds dancing in the sky. The university had a large, beautiful blue mosque that was architecturally similar to Ottoman mosques. The rest of the buildings were arranged so as the surrounded the mosque in a circle. When looking at it from above you can appreciate the beauty of the arrangement.

On the other hand, when you look at Qatar University from above all you see is squares and rectangles divided by desert.

Next we toured the labs with some other people and looked at some stupid machines. They were all stupid and looked the same to me, I didn’t care for those machines at all. And they were ugly! No one thought to paint them in bright colors or draw on them. Ugh, I had to stare at rusty grey chunks of metal. I would’ve painted all the equipment for minimum wage! And I would’ve done a damn good job, but how can I convince those *shudder* scientists. Sometimes I think half of the work they do could be done by a well trained koala, the real work is done by the theoretical scientists who actually come up with the ideas instead of flailing around in a rusty, sweaty laboratory injecting things and mixing crap in those frightening Frankenteinic white lab coats. God knows what those people do in there anyway, how do we know they’re not building a giant robot army and conspiring against us?

I don’t think we have to worry, they don’t have the mental capacity. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

So, after mentally ripping the experimental sciences a new one I headed with the flock to lunch where I had the most delicious tomato rice and salad that consisted of pineapples, onions and cucumbers in vinegar.

We said our goodbyes after lunch and went back to the resort. I was going to lie down for a bit but then I saw the pool…

I stepped outside and felt the sun bake the top layer of my skin into the kind of golden brown reserved for describing freshly baked cookies. I rolled up my pants and dipped my foot into the pool. The water was cool and I felt an urge that can only be described as primal. Every instinct was telling me to jump, by burning skin cells were begging me for respite. I hadn’t packed any swimming clothes, but I thought eff it! and jumped! It was an almost holy experience; the rush of transferring from one extreme medium to another.

Back to the real world: fighting over who uses the shower first, finding out that my saintly brothers had used all the towels and threw them in a wet, smelly pile in the corner of the bathroom, having to dry my soiled clothes.

After a short but pleasant nap we went to one of the shopping malls in the city. Mohamed said it was a Japanese shopping mall so naturally you’d expect something mind-blowing, aka typically Japanese.

An example of Japanese mind-blowingness.

That wasn’t the case.

It looked (and smelled) like an outlet store. *shakes fist* MOOOHAAAAMMEEED! We looked around the shops which didn’t take very long and then settled, like all nomadic peoples always do, by the watering hole (henceforth referred to as Starbucks Coffee). Starbucks is always a blessing from god. Don’t know what to do? Starbucks. Hungry? Starbucks. Tired? Starbucks. My java chip frapuccino was a welcome nepenthe after an, uhm, interesting day!


Seeing this in a magazine in the news stand was worth the entire trip though

My only worry is that this wonderful trip is soon coming to an end. Tomorrow morning we’re going back to KL and a couple of days after that we’re flying back home. Back to reality, Back to university. Back to classes. Back to midterms. Back to stress. Back.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my parents for arranging all of this, it was (and is and will be!) an incredible experiences as all our travels are! THANK YOU!

This is what I mean by A Passage to India in the last post: