Sunday, 20 May 2012

Malaysia Part 2 - withdrawal, gainful employment and Oz-bound

After a few more days swanning about Magick River and its cool gorgeousnessnessness, it's time to head back to Batuarang to help out at Reboot The Roots. Unfortunately, things are winding down a bit there for a while, so I concentrate on going through alcohol withdrawal.

Staying in a building who's purpose is to help ex-heroin addicts, drinking is obviously not encouraged. It's not especially encouraged in Malaysia full stop, being a Muslim country and everything. So, running low on funds and it being a hassle to get booze, I just stop drinking.  Since I was about 18, like a lot of people, I've probably consumed far, far, far more alcohol than any medical advice deems healthy. And over the past two months, Mr. Furious and myself went a bit overboard, deeming sitting anywhere for any length of time deserving a tasty, crisp, cold beer-shaped beverage. I would not describe myself as an alcoholic, and wouldn't even say I had a drink problem necessarily, but in a few years it might well develop into one. 

So for the first time I can remember, my body enters the world of withdrawal. Without a drowse-inducing drink, my body and brain are suddenly flooded with energy, and doesn't know what the hell to do with it. Staying up until 4 or 5am every morning on Facebook, attempting to write poetry and chainsmoking is the way I deal with it (because three cigarettes an hour is definitely healthier than a couple of beers). It's a strange sensation, made stranger by the fact that I didn't particularly crave alcohol, which is a blessing. However, the sleepness nights are getting aggravating, but Soon, who facilitates Reboot The Roots, having been through similar situations himself, is great to discuss these feelings with. I'm in the weird position of being both a volunteer and a resident going through withdrawal. I chat to Mr. Furious online, and he says that six months ago, he was doing exactly the same thing, in the same chair, at the same computer. Great, booze-addled minds think alike.

I need some work (well, I need money... them's different things), and Soon helpfully hooks me up with PODs Backpacker Hostel in KL. It's a quiet, calm place - exactly what I need. I get to stay there for free, as well as have all the peanut butter sandwiches I can cram into my mouth. I'm put on a lot of nightshifts, spending my nights in darkness with the hum of the computer screen, or being paid to curl up on a beanbag and sleep. My bosses are cool, understanding, lovely people, as are my co-workers. It's the perfect environment to collect my thoughts. I don't go out much, popping out now and then for some amazingly cheap and perfect cooked curry, before scurrying back. It's a good three weeks.

Before I left for South East Asia, my Dad called me, generously offering me a flight to Australia from where I happen to be in Asia. My old punk buddies Jay and Anj live in Sydney, as does my ex-squatmate Taz and his girlfriend Kael. All brilliant, lovely people and great friends. I decide to take my Dad up on the offer. This is too good an opportunity to miss. 

And so, restless to continue my adventure, I bid goodbye to the much-needed quiet of Malaysia, and board my flight to Sydney... 

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