Day 167 to 171 Penang & Langkawi

Langkawi turned out to be a bit of a paradise on earth after having been in big cities for a long while. Fantastic beaches, parties by bonfires on deserted beaches and loads of clubs without dress-code (where you can enter in shorts!)

The first thing that happened when we arrived at the Island was that we met two German girls who took us with them to a party on a deserted Island called the Monkey Island. When we came to the boat we quickly realized that Me, Josh and Victor where the only non-native guys there though… oh and about 40 blond European girls… well… quite easy to guess we had a really fun party night!

We also rented some scooters and drove around the Island… I had a bit of an accident (going very slowly luckily) and dislocated my shoulder quite bad… two weeks later it still is sore… but is getting better for every day 😀

Partying on Langkawi the first night:

Scootering around on the Island:

With Lukas on Penang (this was actually one day before Langkawi)… they guys had some fun on my hand-gestures on my different profile pictures on facebook so we did a parody on them 🙂

IMG_4391

On the bus ride to Langkawi… Victor and Josh resting a bit.

IMG_1884 

A sign when we came to Langkawi…. such a true sign 🙂

IMG_1886 

Cat, one of the German girls we met up with the first night that took us to Monkey Island.

IMG_1888 

  Victor feeling the Love!

IMG_4414 

Loads of blond girls as i said…

IMG_4418 

The first night we got a room with only two single beds… Josh kind of occupied a bit more than the whole first one… so me and Victor where cramped up on the second 🙂

IMG_1887

Me on a scooter with a golden helmet 🙂

IMG_4430

Scenery on Langkawi… was really a beautiful place!

IMG_4434

Victor ready to race!

IMG_4442

Flying on the beach!

Lankavi Jump!

Josh looking quite happy…. with a Lady boy in the background… (he claims he didn’t know this of course 😉

IMG_1891

Tourist place? Naaaah…. not at all 😉

IMG_1893

Us with the two cat girls..

IMG_1894

Day 153 to 154 Melaka

Our excursion to Melaka contained everything from seeing the “Full Moon” vampire movie for a second time to experiencing a real Chinese tea-house… and Melakan Satay.

 

One more of those KL pictures… but this time in daylight…

IMG_1695

Who ever thought that cassette recorders died in the early 90’s have not been to Malaysia… these are all new productions 😀

IMG_1696

My host’s place in Melaka… and yes… this is a STUDENT dormitory!!! Why the heck did I study in Sweden!!! 😀

IMG_1697

Is it raining or not? Well, the girl to the left is actually from the UK… one would have thought she would have been used to it 😀 To the right is my host (who is from Indonesia)

IMG_1699

In an old fort on a hill… loads of tomb-stones of Dutch merchantmen are found here…

IMG_1702

Craaaazy pic 😀

IMG_1703

The veiw from the fort… is it actually sea there in the background.

IMG_1705

Posing by the water! Really beautiful scenery!

IMG_1711

Going for the Satay

IMG_1716

You dipped the sticks in the pot in the middle… which also cooked them.

IMG_1717 

All the raw food in the background… you just take what you want and pay for the sticks afterwards.

IMG_1718 

Tea-sermony he traditional Chinese way.

IMG_1719

The group (mainly CS.ers) who attended the sermony 😀

 IMG_1721

Outside the tea-place… was a really nice atmosphere in the whole place! (Not sure what was in that tea though 😉

IMG_1746 

Riding the lion!

IMG_1750

Day 143 to 145 Istanbul

Back in Istanbul again, this time I arranged a Pillow fight on Taksim square… beforehand I had many people warning me that I would get arrested if I did this, and that they torture people in Turkish prisons etc. The thing is that Taksim square is a place where they hold many political demonstrations… my pillow fight had about 150 people attending so it was a pretty big crowd… in the beginning the police seemed quite nervous (and police in Turkey have machine-guns… not a small pistol as in most places I have been to). But once they saw we where only hitting each other with the pillows they calmed down… afterwards we went to a club and had a really fun party…

For those of us that know Swedish this is a pretty funny name for a flower-shop 😉

IMG_1576 

With some CS:ers before the Pillow fight

IMG_1577 

Turkish tea… really something special (and observe the little man made of sugar in the back 😉

IMG_1578 

The actual pillow fight 😀IMG_1581       

CS:ers from the pillow fight

IMG_1589

More pillow fight…

15734_183685796579_689626579_3539733_2537410_n 

Some people posing for an “after” picture 😀

13364_182782578388_547658388_2776790_594830_n 

Yeay… LOADS of people fighting!

15734_183685791579_689626579_3539732_1593112_n Me with a bag full of cotton after the fight… it took us about 60 seconds to clean up the whole place…. and I think we filled up about 6 bags of cotton 😀

IMG_1590 

Got a host that lived in a suit at a hotel, this was breakfast 😀

IMG_1591 

My host enjoying her breakfast

IMG_1593     

My backpack has a tendency to get bigger and bigger…

IMG_1599

Day 139 to 142 Edirne (Turkey)

So… back in Edirne again, meeting up with people I met before and with new people… was a very nice weekend and I stayed with a host that really showed me Turkish hospitality to its fullest. 🙂

I also had some time to go to different clubs and bars and socialize with new and old friends. One thing was a CS-event for 10 people that I arranged on the Friday that I got there… quite cool!

This was the table that met me when I came to my host… (nad this was just the starter…) IMG_1536

My host to the right and two girls that stayed with her during the first night next to me.

IMG_1537

Me and my host (Ayca) on a walking-tour in Edirne IMG_1538

The bazaar…. full with people also on a Friday

IMG_1539 

Meeting up with some CS:ers for a coffee in the day.

IMG_1540 

Had a hamburger in Edirne… the thing came with french-fries  as normal… but also with macronies and bulgur… interesting combination 😉IMG_1543

Breakfast at my hosts place… and we had these kind of feasts EVERY day!

IMG_1544 

A store that sells one thing only… bottled water! (You find them in every city in residential neighborhoods in Turkey)

IMG_1546 

Playing around in a toy-store while waiting for our movie to start (we watched Twilight… which in my opinion was a great movie!)

IMG_1548

But wait… what is this… they sell breast pads in the toy store… guess it is for the small girls who want to look older… kind of… ehm… different item for a toy store I think  😉

IMG_1549 

Two friends of my host and me in a club… IMG_1558   

Eating breakfast in the open with my host and her mother.

IMG_1566 

Kind of a cool mosque… looks a bit like a fairytale castle with the towers I think.

IMG_1569 

Horses running a round completely free in the middle of the city… weird!

IMG_1570

My friend Ozan and me in the bus going to Istanbul. Observe the comfy seats and the TV-screens on every seat… no wonder why I am a bit lazy hitchhiking in this country…. (yea… the buses often have internet too!)

IMG_1575

Day 136-138 Bursa (Turkey)

Another city passing by. Spent three days in Bursa on a vim… a guy e-mailed me and wondered if I wanted to come and visit him so I did the day after 🙂 Had a nice time chilling with some other couchsurfers who where staying there at the same time and arranged a bar-meeting on the last day before I left. Had 15 people attending… that was fun 🙂

I found an IKEA just next to the bus-station… looked almost identical to the ones in Sweden… except the texton the signs where in Turkish…

IMG_1519 

Eating dinner the first night I arrived in Bursa, the girl to the left is Korean and was staying with the same host.

IMG_1520 

In Turkey these are quite common… stores that ONLY sell nuts of different types…

IMG_1522 

Visitng a friend of my host (girl to the right) with another couchsurfer that has been on the road for the last 5 years (Aussie guy to the left)

IMG_1524 

Me and my host in the background

IMG_1525 

Walking on the street… seeing Viagra being advertised largely in the shop-window of the pharmacy… hmm… made me wonder if there might be some down-sides marrying a girl that wears a burka… (I.e. you have no idea how she looks like until it is too late 😉

IMG_1528 

CS meeting with lots of fun people!

IMG_1529 

Later on in the night we where even more people… most where locals, but we also had some foreigners around 🙂

IMG_1530

Day 131 to 135 Izmir (Turkey)

Another city passed through. This time I took a lot of time for reflection and contemplation. I have been reading the books “Power of Now” and “A new Earth” by Eckart Tolle and they really have made me think, feel and mediate a lot.

But I have also had time for some fun, on Friday I arranged a CS meeting and had about 20 people showing up for a pub-night that ended up going to a club and dancing a lot… was a lot of fun!

Saturday I spent in Ephesus, a city that was founded 6000 BC and who is probably one of the most well preserved cities from that time… was pretty cool to see!

Sunday I went on another CS trip, this time we went by bicycle to a national parks for birds or something. Was about 60 km of cycling so I could definitely feel it the day after… but also gave a lot of wonderful nature scenery and nice new friends… some pictures below. 🙂

 

A rainbow of Izmir… the first two days I was there we did have some rain coming… after that the weather was really nice 🙂 I spent a lot of time (several days) walking here 🙂

IMG_1417

One of the guys I met had this list on his wall… (he was quite into Zen and Buddhism) I really liked the message! He also gave me some good pointers and idea’s… really got me interested in searching a bit more for this when I arrive in Asia (perhaps in India?)

IMG_1424

A fisherman has just caught some squids… observe the black ink that they spit out when they are up on land…

IMG_1418 

Sunset in Izmir… the sun gave really spectacular displays every day when it went down (more pictures further down :D)

IMG_1419

Going to the gym? Naah, in Izmir you have “playgrounds” for adults… these are actually public outdoor training machines…

IMG_1420 

I am trying a running one… talk about letting adults play 🙂

IMG_1422

CS meeting in Izmir… we where 20 people attending… fun!

IMG_1425 

Say “cheese” 😀

IMG_1445 

Serious discussions… or perhaps not so serious… who knows!

IMG_1448 

Ephesus… a really cool city… for being established 6000 BC…

IMG_1453 

You might call the pillars a bit worn down… hmm… kind of shows that nothing man-made lasts for ever… not even stone…

IMG_1454 

More Ephesus!

IMG_1461

More long walk-ways in Ephesus

IMG_1464  

Magnificent view… I sat here and watched the sunset… you can really feel all the political speeches, the gladiator fights and theatres that have been performed here over time.

IMG_1474 

Fish-market in Izmir

IMG_1476

Me and two guys who where hosting me in IzmirIMG_1477  

Now also with the guy who arranged the bicycle tour on Sunday. He was one of the top 10 best cyclists in Turkey…

IMG_1481  

Flat tire… but we are prepared 🙂

IMG_1485 

Why not pick some cotton while cycling 🙂

IMG_1489 IMG_1490

The gang coming through a curve…

At the bird paradise… very relaxing for the senses!

IMG_1496 

More “on-the-road” pics

IMG_1500 

The sunset was absolutely brilliant… so many colors. Unfortunately my camera doesn’t really do it justice… but you can get a bit of a glance…

IMG_1502 IMG_1505 IMG_1506  IMG_1511 IMG_1515

Me and my rented bike (it was a really good bike btw)

IMG_1518

Day 126 to 130 Istanbul

Then I came to the much spoken city of Istanbul… well… it turned out to be a pretty cool place… and I got to hang out at the CS collective for a few days… quite cool to see how these guys work.

With Emel, my first “guide” in Istanbul… taking me to the warm seaside… wonderful!    

IMG_1389 

I just liked how that guy is walking with all that bread on his head… and observe all the fisherman that are everywhere there is a dock in Turkey 🙂

IMG_1390

Handing out with the guys from the collective. IMG_1391   

Araf… a crazy club in Istanbul… clearly worth visiting if you are ever in the area around Taksim!

IMG_1395 

Meeting up with some CS:ers in Istanbul

IMG_1397  

Other CS:ers on a meeting

IMG_1400 

Getting another tour-day… this girl didn’t even Speak English… but we had a really nice day!

IMG_1402         

Don’t worry… they are actually not my sun-glasses but borrowed for the photo 🙂

IMG_1413 

I spent quite some time by the water looking at these fisherman… thinking…and just being!

IMG_1415

Day 123 to 125 in Edirne (Turkey)

Edirne was my first experience of Turkish hospitality and I must say I was truly impressed by it! My host turned out to be this really nice guy and we had loads of fun together. The culture IS pretty different here, you can really feel that it is a Muslim country much more than any place I have visited before this, and this has both bad and good sides. The good sides is clearly the hospitality and that you feel extremely safe. The bad side is that it is quite segregated between men and women. It is also a place where your social network practically dictates who you are. The more people you know the easier things are… coming as a stranger to a new place is quite difficult here… but once you know a few people it is easy to expand this network.

If you ask a stranger on the street about directions they will look suspiciously… but if you I have said hi to their aunt’s uncle’s  friend’s hairdresser at one time then you are their best friend and they will do anything for you… 🙂

A pub in Edirne… I thought it was funny because of the “since 2009” sign 🙂

IMG_1380

Me, my host and one of his friends (who I later met up with in Istanbul too!)

DSCF1008

Hanging out in a bar (yea… as I said… not too many girls around here…) 😉

IMG_1383

Visiting a mosque (quite cool actually!)

DSCF1020 

Me and my host!

DSCF1010 

Holding a lecture about couchsurfing 🙂DSCF1013

Some pics of the students…

DSCF1016