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A Blog Before Teh Tarik

The bus from Georgetown to Kuala Lumpur was nothing like the standing-room, air-conditioner drip of Khao-Lak/Surat Thani, or like the 2am delayed on a train platform of Surat Thani to Butterworth.  We clambored up, after a couple of days of Tandoori and a visit to the butterfly farm and sat, amazed on the brightly colored cushion, under the overblowing air conditioner vent and zoned out to a fishing video on silent.

“You’re not allowed to go anywhere alone here,” Brian said a couple nights before as we walked down Jalan Jalia (Jalan=Street in Malay) and saw the gawks I was getting.  They weren’t the same LA WAI (FOREIGNER!!) ones we get in China, but something more akin to BOOBIES!!  We would’ve walked on the sidewalk, had there been one.  Instead there were big open gutters that dropped about a meter from the pavement.

When I’d opened the room, the man at the desk had said, “I see you have two single beds.  We have doubles available if you want.”

“Twins will be fine,” I said.

He paused, looking from me to Brian.

“Really, it’s no problem, I can give you one bed.”

“No thank you,” I said.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia.  The leader of the Political Opposition is currently in the midst of a sodomy trial (which my politically active Malaysian friends insist is just a ploy to ruin his career).  I figured I’d just have to let this guy think I was frigid.

KL, though, has not given the same vibe in any way.  English is spoken widely and well by many people, the streets are clean and the buildings are air conditioned.

We arrived on the 13th, my birthday, and Brian had sprung for a beautiful hotel room as a gift–across the street was a full sized mall complete with Starbucks, Kenny Rogers Roasters (???), and HALLELUJAH!  A full sized Borders Book Store almost completely filled with English books (I bought 3 to ration for the next couple months in China).  The taxi drivers were not negotiators, we bought low priced tickets at stands and were deposited safely and in a timely fashion at whatever destination we had asked.  It’s funny how much I’d taken things for granted.

It’s also funny how quickly it started to bore me.

Usha met us on my birthday and took us out for dinner and drinks.  I met Usha two years ago in Copenhagen when we were both volunteering at the Danish Red Cross.  She’s the first international friend that I’ve visited in her own home country, and will hopefully not be the last.

“Where are you staying when Brian goes home?” She asked me.

“Probably I’ll find another hostel,” I said.  I was worried about him leaving me alone in the land of gawking men, and unsure of where to find interesting things to do in such a modern yet unfamiliar city.

“Well if you don’t mind sleeping on the couch, you can just stay with me,” she said.

Just what I’d been dying to hear!

Brian went back to Zhuhai yesterday afternoon and I have already spent a night and a day with Usha and her roommates.  We’re meeting across the street for Teh Tarik (or “pulled tea”) in about fifteen minutes.  I’ll be sure to let you know all about it.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Nadia
    February 18, 2010 at 12:06 am


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