I am immensely lucky that my friends Helen and Razzaque live in Kuala Lumpur and to have had their home as a base from where I have flown to other places. But more than that, it became a home away from home and even when I was just staying in town overnight, I felt I was with my family. I am glad they were there for me for I know for a fact, that with seven months on the road, without them, I would be in a different head space right now. Not surprisingly, I thought KL was a nice, chilled out place.
Ordinarily when you go on holiday you can more or less press the pause button on life in general. No bills to pay, no emails to answer and any work issues can wait until you return. Travelling long term, however, is a different story. No matter what country I am in, it is really hard to have the discipline to stay in the hotel and deal with those everyday tasks that need to get done, and of course, prepare for a future journey. A new exciting place is outside my door but I have to stay in, get things done or organise the next segment of my trip. Planning sometimes can take a long time which I have to do on the go. I remember the friend I was staying with in Sydney asking “do you always spend so much time on the computer?” Well, sometimes, yes I do. So that is what I did in KL. Boring admin.
Having said that, I enjoyed the pace and having the space to do it. Having friends around me while doing it was a beautiful bonus. This is a very modern city but that still retains Asian flavour. The Petronas Twin Towers are quite a sight at night and I loved the Islamic Arts Museum. I even managed to cram a quick trip to Malacca which is a very charming colonial town with the most wonderfully OTT tuk tuks I have ever seen.
It was while in Malacca that I managed to photograph something I have seen all over Asia, a bride and groom all dressed up in western attire posing for a photographer for several hours. I have seen them doing it in streets, beaches, shopping malls, you name it. Malacca is just wonderful, like stepping back in time and one of the places I wished I could have visited years ago when tourists were a rarity. If you are in KL, visit it for a day or two. Just wonderful. It is so satisfying when a place I know nothing about surprises me. And in Malacca I was pleasantly surprised. I wonder where the next surprise like that will be?