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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

newsworthy time to travel. Heathrow, from which he left, was experiencing a crippling strike by groundstaff, by which he was luckily unaffected; in his transfer city of Columbo, a high profile Government Minister had been murdered and a State of Emergency has just been declared; and of course there was the haze in KL, which had actually just cleared the day before. It was fabulous, if a bit surreal, to see a friendly, familiar face. Soon we were speeding back to Chinatown on the slick Airport Express and swapping news.

The Robster was welcomed to KL by an almighty rainstorm. "Just like it is back in Bristol, why did I leave?" he grumbled drily. We sheltered frustratingly close to the hostel for a while, but then decided to make a dash for it. A sound decision, too, as it continued to pelt down with the same intensity right through the afternoon.

When we could finally safely leave the confines of the hostel, we took a jaunt around Chinatown, through the tourist onslaught of Petaling Street, complete with sellers waving Fake Plastic Petronas Towers in our faces, and found a gem in the form of a food stall flogging various delicious fried morsels - for the equivalent of five pence each.

We met up with Noesha this evening to informally pass the baton, as it were; she would