I know, at some point in my life I imagined myself walking around Kuala Lumpur with new friend that I made in some part in the world. Committed to take them around even though I’m not familiar with my own capital where I was born. The opportunity came when Joan was in Kuala Lumpur weeks ago. But little that I knew Kuala Lumpur didn’t have much to offer other than modern skyscrapers and malls. Lot of malls, the very heart of corporate commodified darkness. Behind those concrete block house walls, all your basic human needs has determined by a fiendish marketers, merchandisers and franchisers, all collected at one place. Bring your plastic (credit card), few shackles, sit, eat, shop, consume and get bigger. Either a realisation of Malaysian dream or candy coloured nightmare. We lost our touch of our indigenous land.
I wish they didn’t demolished the Pudu jail but turn it into museum instead of leaving the prison’s gate like the A’famosa. I don’t know where else to go. I wanted to stuff up his belly with the eclectic mix of foods but he’s going to Penang in few days time, which is going to be far more awesome than in Kuala Lumpur. With time constrain and limited choices, we took the day slow, catching up stories.
We pick up where we left off, regaled ourselves with a colorful account on that afternoon’s encounter with our pidgin English. Talked about our trail that we left behind after the last time we split, woven it back till we sat together again while having our lunch. We recounted, the food we ate, the time we sat at the bird hut waiting for gallito de las rocas. Names from the past been mentioned, we recalled hard their details in our imagination and secretly laughed when we remembered it.
“What is this guy name? From America.”
“Which one? Tall? Short?”
“Ai yai yai.”
“John? Luke? Peter?”
“Ah yes! Luke!”
We walked from the twin towers to Bukit Bintang, making social observations at the same time. Rubbing shoulders with locals and tourists along the way before we arrived at cafe where my friend work. With a glass of ice water and air conditioned room, we cool ourselves down and took shelter from the rain. After the rain stopped, we ran crossed the traffic to Merdeka Square to end the day.
My time I had with Joan walking around Kuala Lumpur was delightful, I myself fascinated watched the new sights, sounds and smells of the place we passed by. Haven’t been there for quite long time, even some of it is new to me. The MRT construction has taken away the crowd in Sungei Wang Plaza area, the masseurs along Jalan Bukit Bintang aggressive as usual, we knocked down Jalan Alor’s hawkers invitation to dine at their stall, the bar tenders Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang didn’t bother about me, they turned to Joan promoting their happy hour time instead. I patted proudly the old Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad for the first time, which has been sitting there for so long, longer than Malaysia as a country itself.
We crossed the non working traffic light to get to Merdeka Square at dusk. We were limp and dripping when we sat at the Merdeka Square steps, facing the cricket field. Still talking about Cusco, Kuala Lumpur and Barcelona. We avoided any stairs to climb to get back where he we met earlier, the sweat dripping down on our asscheek falling like a waterfall, the post rain humidity was like a sauna but we managed to chin up when a girl passed by.
As I waved Joan goodbye, thousand of images from two years ago splurged into present, the time we wandered around Pilcopata leaving our group behind, the time we bid farewell, thinking, what a great pleasure we met again, thinking, don’t know when we will be meet again. I felt a strange sensation of homesickness…homesickness for the road.
I have been in times of solitude at home for too damn long.