Wake up. My big(ger) backpack and small(er) backpack are on the (single) bed with me, just as I left them. Good. My adventure bag/man purse is under my head, being used as a pillow. I am probably squishing the last Ferrero Rocher chocolate from the plane last night. Double good. My feet are also on a pillow. I must not have noticed it when I was ushered into the room at who-knows-when. There were no lights and I couldn't even tell how many people or beds were in the room. Now I know that there were 3 and 7, respectively. I have been sleeping in the same jeans, shirt, and socks that I was wearing on the plane. Also like on the plane, I've got my sweater/jacket on backwards, arms through the wrong sleeves, the hood over my face, though this time I'm not trying to block out the light and jets of cold air. Rather, I'm trying to muffle the sound of the dark lump next to me scratching himself. It's worse than and totally out of proportion with the buzzing and biting of the mosquitoes. I can only think of long, thick, leper fingernails picking on crumbling scaly flesh. Somehow I fall asleep anyway.
Check my mp3 player clock. It's 9:15. Checkout time was 9. Crud. Quick shower (cool), check out, decide to walk, cave and take an "auto rickshaw", which looks like a bike with some sort of yellow shell around it so 2 people can ride behind the driver), realize I was going in the wrong direction, and use Chris's guideboook to explain that I want to switch to another guesthouse closer to the center of town. The sun is up, the heat is still bearable, and there are people everywhere. Women are walking with their daughters in nice silky-looking attire, and some men are wearing long, thin skirts that look like sarongs. Most dudes, though, are wearing jeans or khakis and collared or button-down shirts. Some people are busy carrying things, serving food, or chopping coconuts, but most seem to be just loitering, milling, and chatting, uninterested in the buses and taxis and bikes that are zipping around. I wonder how many will spend the whole day like that. The driver is friendly and tells me to call him again if I want a tour. He apologizes for speaking bad English but explains that he is "uneducated" and so he can't really read or write. I give him credit for being a decent driver, though, since he managed to avoid the cow sauntering around the middle of the road and got me to my new hotel pretty quickly.
I check into the hotel. "Paradise Hotel." 7 bucks isn't bad, though the book said 4. I assumed Paradise to have toilent paper, but no such luck. Maybe those who make it to paradise are liberated from the shackles of defecation? After some Aquinas-style reflection I decide that defecation can actually be a pleasant experience and that I'd still like to be able to do it in heaven. That decided, there was still no toilet paper. Like my previous hostel (run by the Salvation Army) there are no other foreigners here. I'm confused. The guidebook says these are popular spots. Ah well. The man at the front desk writes my arrival time down in the ledger - 7:45 AM. Huh? I wonder why he would fudge the arrival time. Is he going to charge me for an extra day? So far I've managed 2 taxi rides and one hotel check-in and check-out without extortions. I point it out and ask why he wrote the time wrong. He says it's the time. I look at the digital clock behind him. It says 7:42. What? I think back to the clock on the wall of the salvation army, which said something like 7:10 when I checked out, and which of course must have been off, because who do I trust, my portable media player or India?. Is it possible that I am wrong? Come to think of it, yeah. It was 9:15 in Kuala Lumpur. Duh. Someone forgot to change the time on my gizmo. I am awake way too early after a few days of sleeping too little, and fitfully at that. I am also slightly terrified of going back outside, what with the heat and the unmarked roads and the food of ill-repute and that feeling of "hrm, welcome to the next five months." The best course of action is clearly to sleep and lounge until I'm so stir-crazy that I have no choice but to force myself out. After all, I have time. It's still 20 minutes before I woke up.