|Colonial architecture KL style|
Thursday 12: My comfortable sleeper train arrives in Kuala Lumpur where it's great to meet up with Damian, another one of my old muckers from Portsmouth university, and his wife Julie. I'm astonished to discover that they live, together with their pouch Harry, in a rather bizarrely misplaced five-bedroom English Edwardian-style townhouse with private gardens and pool - we are in Southeast Asia!.
Friday 13: Shopping with Julie I buy a reconditioned laptop and in the evening we all hit the nearby Brussels Beer Cafe, another bizarre but enjoyable experience. Usually I try to experience tastes and culture unique to the country I'm in, so this is quite different.
Saturday 14: Wine and oysters for lunch at the M&S style local supermarket and in the evening Damian prepares a barbecue on the terrace just before the skies open, yes it's still rainy season here.
Sunday 15: An Indian Kingfisher beer with Damian and Harry in their local Bulldog Bar, one of the few bars that allow dogs access. Muslim sensibilities treat pigs and dogs as unclean.
Thursday 19: I've agreed to look after Harry over the holiday period while Damian & Julie are back in blighty - it will give me a chance to rest and recuperate and also improve Harry's lot rather than him being incarcerated at the airport kennels.
Thursday 26: Once again I embark on my annual 10-day detox diet. I have the use of a large modern kitchen so this is the ideal place and time to do it.
Sunday 29: The reconditioned laptop I bought is so slow that, even though it won't be covered in my pre-arranged travel insurance, I treat myself to a brand new top of the range Acer Aspire laptop. I then spend the following week or so transferring files and customising it to my preferred format.
Sunday 5 January 2014: Damian returns bearing gifts. Oops, I'd forgotten all about Christmas - it all seems so overly commercial and far away - not really my cup of tea anymore.
Monday 6: Sleeper over the border to Cathay Guesthouse in Hat Yai.
Tuesday 7: Sleeper north to Hui Hin on Thailand's Gulf coast.
Slideshow of Kuala Lumpur.