It is apparently one hour later than I thought (for the last three days). Penang is in a different time zone than Thailand, which doesn’t really seem to matter anyway for I don’t own a watch. Had I not decided to go extremely early to location of my bus departure to use the wifi I would have missed my bus to Kuala Lumpur. It is all perfect.
As I wait for my bus a few men at the cafe are singing along to Whitney Houston. I join in but only briefly, for they are superior voices and I don’t want to ruin the act. Karaoke is a favored pastime I learn. I will join them next time I return to Penang, a place that I could call home. I would love to provide some yoga for the residents here for sure, to offer balance to the consumption of such rich food.
A five hour ride in a snazzy, comfortable bus lands me in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. I feel like Carmen Sandiego sans head gear for if you asked me a week before where I would be next, even a few days before, I would have little clue of my location. We stop at a couple rest stops along the journey to the city, immaculately clean as all the pieces of the public transportation systems seems to be in Malaysia.
A kind passenger guides me to disembark at a stop in the middle of the city, a place with tall, modern buildings and a speedy monorail. The traffic is not nearly as intimidating as Bangkok, leaving the air less dense despite a temperature of nearly ninety; there is the same flavorful mix of culture that exists in Penang simply on a larger scale (with less historic charm of architecture). Colorful faces, eclectic smorgasbord of Asian cuisine, sounds of Hindu mantras, the Buddhist songs of compassion, men conversing loudy in Arabic.
I walk around a bit still carrying my large backpack. Countless offers of assistance are presented although I feel as if I need none. I was recommended a hostel by a mate in Penang yet I am drawn to another area of the city without little reason. I mind my intuition, following a long road along the monorail before I turn to see the awakening of another Asian night market. I walk through, under the red lanterns, Christmas lights, being called from the left and right to sit and enjoy the homemade delights from individual carts. At the end of the block is a large durian cart where the prickly monsters sit daringly ready to be consumed. The fruits are smaller in size than the ones in Thailand yet with sharper spines. I wish for a partner to sample the gargantuan beast once again and without a blink of an eye I am being summoned by an Indian woman and her two kids to join them. She slices off a piece and insists I enjoy. I am fed with love and offered a home in Singapore. The kind mother insists I visit, letting me know she cooks fried cauliflower every evening to nourish my vegetarian tummy.
I check into a hostel where I bargain the price easily, granting myself a cheap solo room instead of the top bunk, before I head out to coast the streets; immediately I cross the path of a restaurant called Woods, around the corner from my abode, a macrobiotic vegan compound offering both employment and high vibe nourishment. I had learned about this place a month or go before as I was perusing the WOOOF website and saw that the establishment was offering a trade of housing/food for restaurant assistance. And naturally, with no search needed, I am welcomed with its presence one block from my home.
I intend to return after heading to a hot yoga class, which did take a bit of work to seek. I follow the road again next to the monorail and enter a shiny contemporary building and into a fancy gym. The beefy manager gives me a tour and I kindly tell him I am only a single day visitor to KL and seeking the 8:15 pm yoga class. He shows me the class already in progress and lets me know that I am one hour late. Shit. I forgot again that I have moved in time. He laughs and encourages me to stay to workout but with flip-flops, tiny yoga shorts, and no bra, it seems I am mildly deficient in equipment. I stretch a bit on the mats and then head to the swanky locker room to sit in the sauna and cleanse. The gym experience is more than a treat regardless of missing the class, the jets of the shower alone spa quality. I am in the Equinox of Kuala Lumpur. The manager advises me to return in the morning, gifting me a free Bikram yoga class/ grand shower experience. I am blessed.
I dine on the patio of a local place and admire the dynamism of KL, the streets filled mostly with men (Malay and Western) heading out to enjoy all the splendors of the city. Many late night cafes are open serving Arabic or Indian fare (or a local specialty of frog porridge); there are bustling shopping arcades with flashy lights, coffee parlors, discos, karaoke, bars. Numerous massage parlors on this main street where skimpily clad women call males passing by reveal the seediness of Asian nightlife. Even more scantily clothed ladies hug the corners, eager to find a quick mate.
Bed, happily solo.