Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Travel Journal: Malaysia (KL, more time to write, when are we moving here?)

December 25th, 2013 Continued...

Christmas dessert, Malay style
I love listening to the sounds of a city. You can tell a lot about it that way. Close your eyes and listen. Like NYC, it sounds chaotic, and oddly small. Even with the sirens and honks all hours of the day and night, down the right corner you'll hear an Italian teenager serenading the steer with his guitar or a rhythmic conversation in a foreign language. KL is just like this. I instantly loved it.

It smells like curry powder, dirty feet, and bright fresh flowers. Strange and wonderful. But the sounds are still my favorite. Happy little honks when turning each corner "hey! I'm here!", gorgeous language that sounds like a song.

Christmas view
The Malays have so many inflections and they stop mid-conversation to ask you "hi where are you going". I have yet to figure out why. You tell them and they nod approval and start talking again. Not kidding, it's hilarious. Are they trying to help or get a tip? Who knows. Such a gamble each time to see the result, exciting. I'd have liked to stay in KL long enough to find a place where no one assumes you're a visitor just because you're not Asian. Well, if that place exists. I think so, I know I'd live here tomorrow.

Historic temple,
surrounded by randomness
Love that face.
Our 3rd Christmas.
My favorite thing here is the artful juxtaposition of absolute ruddy unsafe buildings next to awesome shiny new skyscrapers. They exist together here. No ones bothered to tear out the old when there's already space for the new. They make each other better. The silver becomes humbler and more welcoming than the cold steel of New York. And the shacks and dilapidated wooden structures become historical and quaint. Surely there's something good about it if it became the new backdrop to the Petronas towers?
I would so take up residence in the lower level of a newer complex just outside the madness. Basically, we sat on the city bus tour just apartment shopping, imagining which area we'd live in.

Later-thoughts: It was so fun to have Christmas dinner spinning around on the tower. Plus, they really got into it for Christmas. Asian santa? Yes please! We enjoyed the buffet too, just getting to try everything. I tried caviar for the first time - yum!

Later-thoughts: At Zouk, they had a tourist line and a non-tourist line. I am not kidding you, they wouldn't let Asians into the tourist line...even if they were tourists. Luckily, we started chatting with a group of guys visiting KL from Singapore and Seoul, so of course we told the bouncer we were together. They got in quicker with us. And we had new dancing buddies. This club was much louder than US clubs. I can only assume it has to do with sound restrictions. They also must have less fire codes because it was crah in terms of space and people packing in. We definitely stayed in the air-ier part of the building. There were multiple rooms, all house music, but very fun. I have really good video footage of our friends' dancing skills. Yay!

December 25th, 2013 Continued...

The hijab women are beautiful all huddled together doing afternoon shopping. I missed them in Bali. I can't tell if they are angry at my showing too much skin or intrigued. Do they want to talk to me or are they judging my embarrassing clothes? There's so much culture here, Malay and others, it seeps into the ground and pops up in the shadows. It's a modern city like any other, yet there's a rainbow temple backed up to the the crack house on the corner. The US is so about honoring things with space and plaques and memorials...they would never let such different parts of society exist together. Gentrification doesn't exist in KL. And, I like it.