23.10.2013 26 °C
The flight over the Pacific was a mere 15 hours. Sleep, movie, dinner, sleep, breakfast, reading, and you're there. As we left rounding midnight, and got to Kuala Lumpur rounding midday, I didn't even get much jet lag. It was the heat that struck me though. The thick, humid heat. I should have expected it, and should be somewhat used to it, seeing it's not so different from the Veracruz heat. But I've never carried a heavy backpack around there, nor used the subway... This marks the farthest I've ever been from home. Just a bit further and I'd be halfway around the globe!
I didn't really research much about my destination. Good thing there's plenty of wifis to hang on to! Most people speak english here though, but you have to get used to their accent. And so, I made it to my cousin's address mostly on my own. I stepped out of the subway to the sight of this:
It's easy to find your bearings when your reference is more than 400 meters high and glows at night. I walked up and down, wound up in Chinatown. One day I'll see the real stuff, for now, I keep crossing Chinatown gates here and there; this one's the sixth already.
It's a lively place, Kuala Lumpur. With lots of movement and building of skyscrapers and avenues and malls. Luckily, there are a few nice parks as well. In one of them we had a little Couchsurfing event, where people brought local food, and visitors helped with some crackers, drinks, or their food, like the spanish tortilla contrasting with the... local currysome chickenly food. It was delicious. And it happened to fall on Eid al-Adha, so several of them were dressed in their traditional attire! I woke that morning to the chants of the nearby mosque, and finished it with chinatown drinks in company of fellow couchsurfers. Not a bad welcome to Malaysia.
So, on my fourth day, my cousin and her family came back from their trip. They'd gone to Penang, to eat and rest and have a good time. And now I got to see them finally! We had just met once before, but we kept contact since. She does live quite faraway, after all! So it was great to see her daughters and husband. Last time, little Andrea had been a toddler, now she's almost 10! And Carolina is a toddler now. Will I see her again in 10 years? I hope sooner than that!!
I would like to say that everything is different, being in Asia and all. It is not. Everything is similar, if only with some eastern tint. The food of course, and the language. But you can pretty much live here having no clue of bahasa. And the middle class, we're the same everywhere around. At least in the city; maybe outside of it, things would be different. People keep telling me I should go to the jungle; I'll be there soon enough. As for the people, the Malaysians have to potential to be really beautiful, what with the mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian heritage. Sadly, they don't mix, and so, well, they're not really beautiful (statistically speaking). And it's getting more radical it seems, with racial issues gaining strength. There's even talking of it being outlawed for non Muslims to say the word Allah. Well Allah.
I say that three days is enough to get the essence of a place, as Kino taught me, and I find it to be true. The pure essence. Then, if you stay longer, you begin building bonds, developing affection. Run away at the third day, dear traveller, if you want to see the whole world. I didn't, so now have friends in this place. People I'd enjoy meeting again some other time. I met family and friends; I went walking on water with them, and took (a very little) part in the organization of a bikini competition. Too bad I won't be in town for that one!!
For the 23rd I fly to India. Meet up with my Captain, with the ocean, and see the Liberty with my own eyes. A very fitting name for a sailboat.