I’m Melting

No,  I’m not turning into the Wicked Witch…not yet anyway. Instead, I am in the hot and humid country of Malaysia. I don’t think that I was built for this kind of heat, but I am enjoying it anyway.

What can I say about Malaysia? So far we have spent two days in Kuala Lumpur and two on the island of Langkawi, on the West coast very near the Thai border. It has rained everyday, and when not raining, it might as well be.

My impression of KL? I am so enchanted by it. I love the colors, the humidity (it does amazing things for the skin), the architecture and all the tropical decay. Also, the fact that it is a city, but it is so full of palms and trees and flowers and green everywhere. The food is incredibly fresh and varied. It is like being in China, India, and tropical Asia all at once, with its different cultural groups, the Chinese, Indians, Malays and Indigenous tribes, all living in seeming harmony. There are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Indigenous Animinsts all living side by side.  What is so spectacular is seeing their temples side by side, too. I love that you can see a hejabi (a muslim girl/woman who wears a headscarf) walking down the street beside a girl in a mini-skirt. I am sure that racism and religious intolerance exist here, as they do everywhere, but it was less evident to me.

My love affair with KL waned only slightly after observing two healthy-looking rats chasing each other down an alleyway. This is the tropics after all.

We went to the mall next door to the Petronas Towers (beautiful, btw) and I just stood there in total awe. A mall may not be an exciting thing to those Americans, Canadians and Europeans out there, but for a girl who just spent the last eight months in rural China, there is nothing more exciting than an enormous bookstore with a zillion English books, and shops full of the latest fashions. This feeling reminded me so much of being in Kuwait, and how thrilled we all were by the thought of the coming summer and the trips to the US with its mega malls or to Europe with its cute boutiques. (Now that Kuwait has malls and all kinds of shops, I don’t know if that feeling would still be relevant.)

Anyway, now we are on a sleepy island where there is not too much to do and it is so hot that I just had to escape to this internet cafe to enjoy the A/C. Tomorrow we are heading down the West coast to the town of Melaka, which was a Portuguese colonial village. From there we will head to the East coast and the island of Tioman, where “South Pacific” was filmed…Bali Hai….

Awwwwww. Life is good…. More to come, hopefully with pics!


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