Thursday 14th July 2011
For me one of the greatest things about being fortunate enough to follow the team on their travels is all the different cultures we get to experience en route.
None however have been quite so interesting, surprising, inspiring and often amusing as those already experienced on this particular pre-season adventure.
Kuala Lumpur is a fascinating city. Another mixture of old and new, prosperous and not so, diverse religions and cultures, quite incredible architecture, buzzing day and nightlife and of course many aspects that can astound and amuse those Gooners like me who have never visited this part of the world.
Austria was often hot, some years blisteringly so. Out here however, the sometimes overwhelming humidity makes it a whole different kind of heat.
That fact alone makes the quite incredible enthusiasm of the many thousands of Gooners in this part of the world all the more admirable! I'm not the fittest bloke in the world but even hanging my flag up in the impressive Bukit Jalil Stadium was tiring in this heat!!
Training was met with phenomenal scenes of excitement and joy so it came as no surprise that last night's first match of the tour was met with similar fanaticism.
I loved every minute of our ten-year Austrian tenure and made some good friends along the way so to compare the two would be wrong.
This tour is different in almost every way (apart from enjoying the locals' hospitality until the early hours of course!)
The vast majority of our pre-season adventures have also started with a victory and last night meant we continued this trend.
It gave us our first opportunity to see new faces in the team of course but it was the 'old school' who grabbed the scoring headlines in a game that had enough to send both the local Malaysian, their fellow Asians from places like Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia and of course us few travelling Gooners from the UK home happy with the 4-0 victory.
After some more sightseeing tomorrow, next we take a flight to China and yet more new experiences I'm sure.
I have been challenged to find the strangest thing to eat from a friend back in Blighty! Surely the Fish Head Soup and Frog Legs Porridge is enough from the two cities visited so far!
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