So, I've mainly been writing about countries I've spent more than a day in, which makes sense, I suppose, but leaves out some cool excursions in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Between South Africa and India, I was laid over (that always sounds so vulgar) in Dubai for 12 hours, so I left the airport to take a tour and have a facial (which, by the way, was the single best idea I've had while in transit-- it was 100 times more relaxing and refreshing than any other facial I've had). Anyway, my digital camera was dead, so my photos of Dubai are all on a disposable camera. However, the old city of Dubai is beautiful-- stone fortresses and colorful river boats. Most of the city has been developed in the past 15 years, so there's a lot of skyscrapers, but really the old city and spice market are the best parts.
In contrast, Kuala Lumpur has a nice mix of old and new, and even their Twin Towers are more aesthetic than skyscrapers anywhere else I've seen. It's a bit like the difference between a Trump tower and a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: they're both expensive and impressive, but only one is actually pretty.
I have photos that I will try to upload sometime soon, but in keeping with my Dubai beauty ingenuity, I decided to get my hair washed and blown out in KL (after seeing the major sights, of course). This is mainly because while waiting in line to enter the airport in Bangalore, a bird shit on my head. My mother and some Italians standing in line behind me told me this is good luck, but funny, I don't remember learning that when I studied in Italy. I used as much soap as I could in the Bangalore airport to scrub it out, but still fell gross (I think more so because it was brown, not white like pigeon poop). I was able to buy jasmine wreaths in an attempt to cover the scent I was convinced was following me in little India in KL (apparently India's biggest export is people and I keep finding them on this trip- I forgot to mention all the Kerala men with mustaches that were staring at me in Dubai). But then, serendipitously, in the main train station (akin to Grand Central) I found a salon. Now, I admit I had my doubts; concerns about lice and bleached highlights ran through my head. But the receptionist was a transvestite named Diva, and I am willing to bet on the talent and taste of tranies the world over. So, my friends, my hair is sleek and shiny and my advice to you is this: lay-overs are the best time to get pampered and beautified. It may also lead to other lay-overs.