On the way back, I passed a knot of taxi drivers, which was fortunate because it was a long march back to my hotel. They offered professional services, I accepted, and then looked happily at the words painted on the side of the taxis indicating that meters were used and no haggling was allowed. I expressed my joy at finding this out and the driver who was leading me to his car, looked, smiled, and said, "Twelve ringgit, okay?"
"But I thought the fare was metered," I objected and he smiled even more sweetly and said, "Yes, but we like to ask for more."
(I'd paid a rickshaw driver significantly more and this request was what the guys at my hotel said I'd pay for a taxi, so I paid--but it was the sweetness with which this was done that completely charmed me--suckah!)
On my way to the ferry when I left, I was passed by a small man wearing gold brocade polyester pajamas with such confidence and aplomb that for a moment I wondered why nobody else was. (And yes, they were pajamas--the kind you can buy at any Target in the states. The savoir faire with which he wore them is a bit harder to come by.)
And then, while embarking on the hellish trip home, I met my favorite traveler to date, a large pink aging man with an over-sized backpack sprouting from his spine who spoke basic Thai loudly and quite badly--even worse than I do--to Malaysian railway workers who addressed him in rather good English. They gave up on him at last and I went over to see what I might be able to do. Turned out he spoke no English nor any other languages but Finn and Thai--by all means the two lingua franca of East and West! (Somehow he managed to make it to the Thai border, so obviously this works for him.)
(And then there were Judy, Bou, and Phyllida--all of whom made me remember how much fun it can be to thaw out and chat for a while--thanks to all!)