Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kuala Lumpur

I'm in Malaysia. I have a month between jobs in Japan so April is free, the plane ticket was cheap and i'm currently sat in a dank internet cafe avoiding the sweaty afternoon downpour.

Kuala Lumpur is a former British colonial city with Chinese, Indians, Malays, Muslims, tourists and probably everybody else scurrying around it. There's noodles and naan, Chinatown and Little India, headscarves and miniskirts, baseball caps and suits, smelly markets and air conditioned malls, Buddhist monks and mosques. It's a fantastic cultural mess all wrapped up with the usual south east Asian blend of thick pollution, thick traffic and even thicker air.

I wandered around all of this yesterday and somehow ended up at the Petronas Towers, the twin sky scrapers that loom over the city from almost every angle meaning that you keep catching glimpses of them through gaps in buildings or through the monotony of construction sites or between metro tracks over head. It seems a little bit weird (or apt) that that the most photogenic and famous landmark here is a essentially an office block for an oil company. Still, it's worth seeing close up and has a massive shopping centre in it filled with stuff that i couldn't really afford and is mainly home to people walking around escaping the heat trying to figure out how to pronounce BVLGARI and why they charge so much for handbags.

Last night was spent on the rooftop bar of my hostel swigging beer and chatting to people telling stories about traveling around Asia as the smell of sizzling food and wet cement and belching buses and humid fug floated up from the city below, ably accompanied by the sounds of people laughing and scooters beeping and music blaring and kids running. This is, essentially, why i don't have a job and a mortgage in England. I tasted all this a few years ago, drank lots if it in but somehow never really slaked my thirst. I probably never will.

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