Tag Archives: kuala lumpur

Day 4 leaving KL

Waking up and the sun is kind of shining for the first time. My stomach feels ok. The market is setting up and I browse in vain for a shirt. Breakfast is fresh soya milk, fresh pineapple and a red bean bun.

Catch the monorail to LLC aka the twin towers and kill a while surveying the mall full of Christmas trees and designer goods stores. Outside in the park it’s to hot to sit in the sun…but then down comes the torrential rain. Back inside I find the food court and miraculously there is a fast food version of the amazing organic vege place we went to in Melaka. Eating, watching the world then back to Chinatown to find an elusive Internet cafe to print my boarding pass. Now sitting on the bus waiting to leave for the airport.

Plane is late. The flight is disturbed by kids in front and behind kicking the seats and banging, tables, arm rests, anything that moves. Turbulence as we approach Lang kawi, passing through storm clouds. Domestic flights are interesting, no bag checks, no passport control. No buses on the island. Fixed rate taxi to sweet inn motel. The taxi driver is an ex-aeronautics engineer and tells me about Malaysian cars. The hotel is on a strip of restaurants, tourist info shops, resorts, fronting the palm fringed beach. My place is the other side of the road among a cluster of cheaper hotels. The boy at reception is cute, cit, but I don’t really think he understands what I say to him. The room has twin beds and a window with a partial, over the top of some houses, sea view. It’s 10.15 and I’m starving. I eat at an Arabic/Indian place and have a byriani and pineapple lassi. I slip down to the beach. It’s dark and there are a couple of reggae bars, bob Marley and cheap beer. I walk through the sea along to the further of the 2 and leave after a couple of beers and being unble to take any more of the singer massacring Marley, nirvana and radio head. Guessing, rather than knowing the lyrics. Lightning is flashing on the horizon. Very cool.  There is a fire swinger, not very good, she asks me for money. I decline. On leaving I bump into the waiter from the restaurant I was at earlier. He is called ismael and is from Tunisia, working here on his uni holiday from KL. I think about asking him for a drink, but he talks a lot bout girls, so I realise it would become facile.

Day 5, Lang Kawi

Breakfast: I seem to have missed most of the food, but have eggs on toast. I’m keen to see the beach, and get down there as soon as I can and spend an hour floating in tepid clear shallow water with a bed of crushed shells. There are screaming Asians being towed at speed on banana boats, and Malay kids bathing in shorts and Chelsea t-shirts. Later I even see mothers in full headscarf and dress in the water. Not wanting to pay for a lounger I walk the shore as far as I can, it’s all resorts and places selling jet ski rides. The other way is more fancy, with combed sand and tables shaded by umbrella shaped topiary. It’s getting hot. I’m taking good care not to get burnt.

afternoon, walk along the strip, an it’s roasting. I eat some sweet and sour japanese tofu dish and carry on walking ending up in a duty free shop with very cheap booze. Inadvertently I find myself walking through the exit of the underwater world. Some cool moray and zebra eels. Puffer fish, jelly fish. Buy some beer and sit on the beach and have a read. Floating in the sea at sunset. God there are so many sexy half naked young boys here.haha.

Dinner at the hotel, requires some translation. I’m having spicy noodles.

Day 3 KL

Day 3 begins very late after a night broken up by a deafening generator outside in the street, and the earplugs from the courtesy bag on my flight do not fit my ears. and breakfast becomes lunch at the vege buffet in the market. Comfortably familiar.

 

Afternoon walk doesn’t take me far as down comes the rain. Back to the hotel, where I have spent far too much time. I finally venture out once more and take a walk round the cultural quarter on Jalan sultan which is being pulled down. Beautiful old heritage buildings now squatted, homeless sleeping outside them, cardboard box recyclers eking a living on the corner. My attention is grabbed by a tank of live frogs next to one of snakes, gasping for air, unaware, or are they, of their impending fate in a pan. There are lots of imprisoned animals on this street. Caged birds, puppies in shop windows, looking quite frantic.

I return to the Buddhist temples I knew from the area around Chinatown. Funny how uncaptivating they seem second or even third time around.

The old man who had his barber’s chair in he alley by the juice bar is no longer there. I wonder if he has died.

In the evening I wander up tp little India. Sari and silk shops, markets selling replica football shirts. My stomach is feeling dodgy. I get a dhosa and lemon juice, but don’t feel much like eating.hope this won’t last long.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 arrival in KL

First day in kl. a bit of a blur. Checked into lehotel again. Room with a window and wifi rightin the centre of petaling market. All very familiar. The same guys trying to sell me DVDs, failing that, games, then software then porn. The hot chestnut stall, the soya milk stall. I bought a much needed cover for this iPad then toured the stalls, getting bored, finally ending up looking for a vege place to eat in little India. I have only a rough sense of direction in kl, but always manage to somehow find myself back on the same streets. I find a pure vegetarian restaurant and get the sought for masala dhosa and mango lassi. And lo and behold on leaving realise I’m on the same street as the woodland restaurant where I went last year, and the year before. It’s getting dark, I scout around the mosque and the river that’s hemmed in with concrete embankments and cross over to visit merdeka square. If memory serves, this is the field where independence was declared from the British. Bizarely it is a cricket pitch, with that coarse shrubby tropical grass with a massive flag pole on one side, a row of black and wHite timber framed buildings on another, a gathering place with pools and benches and some kind of mini rally on another, and on the side fronted by the road, which is being casually dug up, a vista of Islamic grandeur with ululating colour changing floodlights, backgrounded by the kl tower and rows of sky scrapers. On the way back to the market I stop by the Hindu temple, where a wedding is just getting going. Drumming and horn blowing, saris and garlands, small children dressed up, and a hired posse of camera crew complete with lighting set up. I watch for a while then consider going to fetch my camera, which I do, but first shoot some pretty poor pics around the market. By the time I get back to the temple I have missed the action, and the photos are being taken whilst the guests queue up for the meal. Back at the market I buy a bag of rambutan and shoot some flaming clay pot cooking. As I get back to the hotel the clouds burst and we are treated to 2 hours of sustained tropical rain. Fortunately I’m falling asleep and my day or is it 2 days are ending as my eyes unavoidably close.

Day 06 – KL

Waking up and keen to go out, but blasting sun at the bus stop at Merdeka Villa and no shade. It takes 40 minutes to arrive. I go to Petaling Jalan and have the veggie buffet meal I’d been longing for since last year, then some soya cincao drink and a pineapple guava juice from the hawkers.
I sit on the steps of a now derelict hotel, which last year had given me a wi-fi signal. I watch the stall holders in action. The guy at the perfume stall trying all his charm in vain to get his products shifted. The teenage boy trying to sell his KL t-shirts to a German family with 4 awkward-looking, too tall teenage girls, who then come and sit on my steps as the rain comes. He bangs his stool with his fist in frustration as they walk away. Business is slow today.
The boy and his stall-holder mate (family? friend?) sense the rain even before it falls and he springs about the stall of t-shirts and minature twin towers to roll down some plastic sheeting. Back under cover he pulls up his t-shirt to pat his fat-less perfect slim stomach, flashes it to the girl who is working with him who pats his ass. She looks too old to be a girlfriend and I ponder their flirtatious relationship. About who they are, their education, their background, but there are no clues.
As the rain persists I seek refuge in the Guandi Temple with its burning incense coils and worshippers buying their offering package of incense sticks and coloured paper to throw in the brick oven in the courtyard. You would think the joss sticks and candles offered at the altars would be left to burn to the end, but there is a cleaner type person systematically stripping the altars and dipping these items in a plastic bucket of water before binning them.
Back at the market I buy reluctantly an umbrella, as there seems no likelihood of an easing up of the rain. later finding out when walking with Cyrus through the park behind the twin towers that it is barely water-tight let alone waterproof.
Cyrus finally meets me inside the mall at 4.30 and we go to the gallery but the exhibition doesn’t grab me: it’s about art and fashion. Cyrus asks me if I understand a painting there and I try to prompt him to ask questions: does it make him feel happy/sad/angry? does it remind him of anything he has seen before? do the colours make him react in any way? does he see shapes or randoms? what are the shapes? would he like it on his wall? does he like it?……
At the mall I think I have found the toilets, and nearly charge in desperate for a relief, ready to open my shorts…but warned at the decisive moment that those are the prayer rooms. The toilets are next door!
We head out to the Thean Hou Temple, which according to Lonely Planet is a monorail ride and brief walk away. The first part is right. The second part is at least 20 minutes along a busy dual carriageway and up a steep hill in extreme humidity. My head is boiling. Smog humidity headache. Getting across town at that time is hell. So many people everyone moving….
The temple is modern and has 5 floors. The ground floor is hosting some kind of contest with teams of young girls wandering around in brightly coloured silk uniforms. Up the steps to the first floor there is some kind of concert. We go up to the temple, which is being renovated and the inner hall is partially hidden by scaffolding. The temple area is empty and we go to the top level of the pagoda, eye-level with the dragons and peacocks on the corners of the roof. We sit shoulder to shoulder and I tell Cyrus about my dream and how scrambled my mind is, and how I don’t know what is out ther or what I may become…maybe a buddhist monk (half in jest). He sits in silence. I know I have affected him and I see a tear drip from his eye. He is scared of losing me, as I am of him. He had told me of his dream of going back to UK to do a masters, but it wouldn’t be in Brighton. This makes me feel lonely too. We walk back to the monorail as dusk settles in furtively hand in hand.
We change the mood and I take him to the Blue Boy Vegetarian Centre, which actually is hidden away under a block of flats, and you would never find unless in the know. We have some vege versions of some typical Malaysian dishes (laksa and fried noodles). Cyrus is impressed that they are so good without the meat. We pick up some fruit which has unnecessarily some spices strewn upon it. Mango, apple, guava. Down comes the rain as we walk through Bukit Bintang, where I’d earlier struggled to find anywhere prepared to sell me Thai Baht, through Pavilion Mall, the poshest one in KL, with an unbelievable display of Christmas decorations, matching the austentatiousness of the shops within. Designer and London prices.
Another long wait in the rain for a very packed bus, which gets stuck in a stream of traffic. When we get back for our last night together for a while I need to pack. Sleep comes quickly but is short……