I am currently in the shit-hole city of Georgetown. Malaysia is full of contradictions and can’t decide whether or not it wants to complete its transformation into a first world nation (or close to one.) Despite the fact that I can’t stand this country’s culture, I think it has immense potential for development and investing over the next decade. The beaches and islands on the east coast are untouched and some of the most beautiful in the world. The people are very well educated and speak many languages — Chinese, English, Tamil, Malay, Arabic are all very common. The roads and infrastructure are excellent. Furthermore, we have recently seen Middle Eastern arabs pull something like a trillion dollars out of hedge funds — there are many reasons why this might be the next destination for some of this cash: foreigners can own land, many banks practice Islamic banking, it is a Muslim country, the landscape is extremely diverse and resource rich, highly educated populace, etc. Everything here is unbelievably cheap (except alcohol.) I have been told that Thailand is cheaper, but Malaysia’s prices are similar to Paraguay’s. My hostels normally cost $3, food is ~ $5 and a five hour bus ride is $6. I am easily surviving on less than $12 on days I don’t travel.

However, the opportunities in Malaysia are nothing compared to those in Laos because of the major infrastructure projects that China has been sponsoring. Laos is about to transition from transporting people and merchandise via rivers to roads. It is sandwiched between China and the more developed parts of SE Asia. Obviously, it is impeding China’s trade and Laos is going to develop unbelievably rapidly as a result. I will write more about this when I see it for myself in a couple weeks.

I have primarily been eating healthy vegetarian Indian food and Chinese soups, so I got a massive and bizarre craving for calories this evening. I couldn’t stop thinking about peanuts and milk, so I practically ran to 7-eleven and feasted on about a thousand calories of fat. While eating my food, I watched some old Chinese dudes play a slightly more advanced version of checkers, and then got another craving for Calcium. I went back into the 7-eleven and bought two ice cream bars. Calories and Calcium. Just two of the many nutrients lacking in this diet.

I am jumping on a train heading north to Thailand tomorrow afternoon.

Also, I expressed interest in an Italian dude’s copy of Haruki Murakami’s After Dark yesterday afternoon, and he generously gave it to me. I opened it at 19:40 and finished it fourteen hours later at 9:40. It completely sucked me in. His off-the-cuff insights were dead-on and his descriptions were terse and hilarious. Pick it up nun.

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