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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

presumably about a non-rat related matter. I regarded him closely. Could it have been the same kid who had roused me so early on the train this morning? Fetch me a length of rope, Igor...

The headscarfed Muslim manager apologised to me on the way out. Whether it was because of the rat or because of the quality of Starbuck's coffee, I don't know.

Breaking out to explore Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown, I met a friendly character called Roy. Roy was a Malay, and apparently had a daughter who was just due to start work in London as a nurse. He had her picture in his wallet and all; bless him. He was naturally concerned about her wellbeing, her not knowing anyone there, and wanted to "get to know me" so that I might be a trustworthy contact for her should she need help. In return I'd get to visit his house and even meet his dear old mum over tea.

I'll be honest - Roy was a pro and at first I was taken in; he had performed this scam impeccably on me and it was only when he started frog-marching me towards a taxi to my awfully British protestations of "thank-you, really, but I don't have the time" that I realised what it really was. The penny dropped, and in turn I dropped Roy for dust.