My first day in KL was interesting and exiting and so very hot. A refreshing and at the same time an exhausting day. I decided to give myself a treat and sleep in. Woke up late and enjoyed my coffee for a a few hours. The first morning at the hostel grabbed a mug heading for the coffee machine and starting reading the labels. 3 in 1 ready made mix. I take my coffee black, a mix of coffee and water. So I asked the guy behind the counter and he told me the mix is coffee, cream and sugar. How convenient. This is something I find so fascinating about some countries. There are things that is done in one way. The right way. No exceptions.
This guy, who is part Chinese and very service minded, tells me to wait and enters the secret room behind the counter. Stays there for a few minutes and returns with a sealed bag. So this is the story. His grandfather is Chinese and he drink this chinese coffee. It is VERY strong, very pure, very tasty and very …. coffeeish. This is a childhood memory of his and he tells me with such love in his eyes. Adorable. Anyway, the coffee is in a bag that looks like a thea bag, the content is not smooth powder but more like bigger bits and you pug the whole lot into a mug of hot water.
No wonder I stayed so long drinking coffee in stead of hitting the streets of KL. But the rest was needed and I treated myself with that monument.
Finally I stepped outside, it’s 12.30 pm, time for lunch. My friend had told me of this street Jalan Alor, street food from one end to the other. So I start walking. This part of KL is a bit different from the Indian quarters, the houses are a bit more solid, a bit more nice looking, a bit more westerner and still one sees more of the chinese here. I stop by a stall where there are a lot of women. That is quite a rare sight. Most of the stalls are crowded with men. I am ok with that, in KL they at least don’t stare, most of these men don’t even meet my eyes, they sort of look at me while looking past me. But this place is filled with women, eating, chatting, giving each other neck massages, showing latest purchases, smiling laughing.
All these food stalls in KL serve lunch buffet. You get a plate with rice and you serve yourself what ever you want from the variety of delicious dishes. This is not an easy task for me, I want to taste it all but I am a bit limited since I don’t eat meat. Meat is very central in the Asian cuisine, which makes it a bit difficult for me. I’m not complaining, I am fed and not at all suffering from famish. The food is delicious and I feel empowered. Where to go now.
Kuala Lumpur Tower, why not, one more touristic attraction. Yey! So I start walking and I follow my off line map which by the way is very accurate. It shows even tiny paths, much needed shortcuts in the heat. I see there is one from the Forestry Information Centre. It is very well hidden behind the house but I find the path and just after a few minutes walk I have to stop and rub my eyes. There are tree bridges rising above me. I look at the map and it turns out I can walk these tree bridges all the way to the tower area. The bridges are elevated 10-15 meters up and you get a wonderful view. I am the only one up there. I don’t get it, why aren’t people here.
It is getting hotter, last bit to the tower takes its toll. Burt I get there. Do I want to go to the very top or just to observations deck. The difference is 160 meter and of course how much I want to pay. Observations deck it is.
The view is stunning. Etiqua Twin Towers are shining bright in front of me. I look down and I see the area where the tree bridges connect from pier to pier, big buildings I passed earlier now shrunk to tiny shapes. What a world we live in. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity to see, experience, sense the flavours of this city. And the places ahead of me.
I read an article about words in some languages that have no equivalence in english. I can’t remember the word now or in which country they use it, but the meaning of it is …
Being homesick for a place you have never been.
That is exactly how I feel now. Sitting on the bus to Singapore reflecting over what these past almost 4 weeks have been like. All that is awaiting me.
At the hostel in KL I met two awesome young women. One from Taiwan living in Taiwan and one French living in Vietnam. Both amazing personalities, smart, young but when talking about life I saw a depth in thoughts. And once again I feel so lucky. This is what the three of us agreed on, traveling is about meeting people, having conversations. We also agree on that we can contribute to making this world becoming a better place, how important it is that women empower other women, that if i do good to the people surrounding me and they do the same to the ones surrounding them this will spread and things will change.
Kuala Lumpur has been good to me but I also see the differences. I am so impressed by the hardworking peoples simple life. Living, working and breathing on the same spot for an entire life. I have seen a lot of big rats crossing the back alleys in front of me, the dumpsters that shouldn’t be there but still are, I have felt the smell when the rain comes and washes the dirt away, and I have seen how the big SUVs pass by not caring if they might hit you. Kuala Lumpur has been good to me and this city is not the worst. But still it is bad because there could be more equality.
The bus to Singapore is very comfortable. Seats more than spacious, driver doing a great job and we are stopping every second hour for bathroom visits. The first stop we made the bus stopped next to a MC convoy. They are probably 30 bikes with a lot of horsepower in each. So I stand there looking at them, admiring, when I turn around and realise, yes, as always, I’m the only woman in a male crowd. One of the guys in the convoy looks at me and shows me the empty seat behind him, I take two steps forward to show him I would, we smile and both make thumb up.
Yes, I am thumb up for the next leg on this journey.