Islam Country

My first experience with Islam. I’ve never been to an Islamic country & didn’t spend a moment’s thought thinking there would be much of a difference in Malaysia compared to the other places we have visited in South East Asia. I was wrong.

For starters, I’ve never heard a prayer call, never photographed so many beautiful mosques (they look more like Aladdin’s Palace then a place of worship to me!), and never been surrounded by so many women wearing burka’s hiding everything but their eyes.

The prayer calls. Or better known to me as loud ass 5.30am wake up calls. There is no hiding from them. They happen 5 times a day. 5 TIMES a DAY through very loud speakers strategically placed all around the town, neighborhood, or city. There is no escaping their deafening chants. They last 5-7 minutes. It doesn’t matter if you practice Islam or not, if you live in Malaysia you will listen to prayer calls 5 times everyday. We couchsurfed with a younger guy while staying in the big capital city of Kuala Lumpur. He told us he hated the calls, they’re so obnoxious, and infringe on his differing beliefs. At home (good ol’ USA)  there are arguments about taking “One Nation, Under God” out of the pledge!

Malaysia brings our first sober weeks of travel.  I welcome it after beach parties and way too many buckets of cheap liquor and Chang Beer in Thailand. There’s no need to worry about the temptation to drink too much in Malaysia a beer can cost you $10-12.00. Yes, all courtesy Islam and strict alcohol regulations.

The burka. The women walk around barely able to see. Every inch of their bodies are covered up hidden under enormous drooping black cloaks. No colors, no smiles, no emotion. The men seem to be alright though. They  stroll around town in blue jeans, a nice polo top, and some flashy shades. The divide is incredible. I see these women who cover every inch of their bodies look at me in my tank-top, shorts, and flip-flops with the same judging eyes in which I look at them. Two worlds. So separate. So different. Neither of us able to understand the other. I keep on walking my way and she carries on hers.

Passing by an advertisement board I read a short Wanted Ad:

Employee Need in Firm. Good Hours. Great Pay. Big, Growing Firm. Any Races May Apply (Male Only).

Maybe those burkas get in the way of working?



2 Responses to “Islam Country”
  1. kristine Hum says:


    I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and came across your blog when I was searching for information on the Everest Base Camp trek… Luv what you have written and it was interesting, funny and makes me want to do it too.

    Thank you for the wonderful amount of information posted.

    P/S: The photo of the women in burka were not Malaysian women. They are Arab tourists.. Muslim ladies in Malaysia are not required by law to cover up but usually they would have a head scarves (called tudung in Malay) that covers the hair, its colourful and not burka is required…

    Kristine Hum
    Kuala Lumpur

  2. Nicky says:

    Thank you for the information about the Arab tourists. I wasn’t privy to that information before! Since our trip to Malaysia, (which seems to be so long ago!) we have traveled in India and spent a few weeks in Kashmir in Northern India. There we found ourselves caught in a religious war between in India and Pakistan… during ramadan! My experience with Islam has definitely grown since Malaysia, but it is always an eye opening experince for me to hear the prayer calls and see women in burkas.

Leave A Comment

Day by Day

August 2009
« Jul   Oct »

The Narratives