We've been in Asia for 10 days. After a brief stay in Bangkok, a longer one in KL we are now in Ubud, Bali.
It's not been all plain sailing, which was probably inevitable considering D's youth, jet lag and our tight budget. All the same having D and F taking it in turns to run a fever for seven out of the ten days seems a little excessive.
Despite the difficulties it's been a fascinating few days. Looking back the things that have struck me most so far are:
The heat! Apparently it's not even hot at the moment!?!?
The inequality. The wealthy residents of Bangkok and KL are basically living 1st world lives, driving nice cars in heavy traffic, living in luxury condos and idling their days in air conditioned mega malls (including indoor rollercoasters).
The contrast with the life of most of the populace is quite staggering.
A good example in KL is the top class fast train from the airport into the city which takes around 30min but which costs around five times more than the equivalent 1hr taxi ride, which must put it completely out of reach of most of the population. Perhaps it's just a tourist tax, but it seems like a crazy infrastructure investment to benefit so few (it was empty when we paid our contribution to the coffers). I guess parallels could be drawn with HS2 in the UK without the cheep taxis of course.
The genuine pleasure that everyone in this part of the world has for children and particularly babies. So unlike the UK and France you actually feel welcome in restaurants and other social spaces. D is regularly picked up and paraded around by various staff members giving us a few minutes peace. We even had an evening off at our KL hostel when the kind staff volunteered to look after her while she slept.
The smells good and bad, particularly in Bali where you're never far from inssence burning.