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Archive for the ‘Merdeka’ tag

Random Notes From the KL Underground

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On the KL Metro.

Kuala Lumpur- Some random Blackberry moments from my days here. KL is a kind of strange, funky place with a serious identity crisis which makes it intensely interesting in a way. It’s small compared to Bangkok, like comparing Los Angeles to San Diego. I’ve shuffled around from hotel to hotel until I found a decent one, the Hotel Sentral, near the KL Sentral train station in the Brickfields area which is mostly Indian and Lankan Tamil dotted with every imaginable religious institution and has the most incredible street food in the city. Unlike the heavily touristed Bukit Bintang area adjacent Chinatown where I first stayed, this area is mostly a local one and the tourists here seem to be all Tamils and Chinese from their respective old countries. I didn’t initially realize arriving from across town in midday while switching hotels that this was KL’s grotty old red light district that once the sun sets, employs literal red light bulbs with dim hallways full of women from all of the surrounding countries trying to make it. Interesting, strange place. At least the hotel is nice. KL has a public transit schizophrenia identical to the one one in Bangkok. The Monorail and the Metro were built by differing companies and to transfer from one to the other you have to buy different tickets and wait in ticket queues twice which exactly the same deal with Bangkok’s Skytrain and Metro system with overly awkward transfers.

This is the most craze haircut I have ever seen. Trafalgar Square punks in 1983 having nothing on this Tamil gentleman going all out for Hari Merdeka tomorrow (Independence Day). That's the Jalur Gemilang (Malay for "Stripes of Glory") flag on his dome piece. His friend in the background is laughing that I'm randomly taking his picture. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

Then days later (ie today) I open up a copy of The Malaysia Star in the hotel lobby to see the guy's picture and find out he's 32 and his name is J. Tures and this is the 5th year in a row his has had this done. I didn't think it was the first time. It said it took him 8 hours.

Monorail! High Tech and Low Brow, the KL Monorail glides over Brickfields, KL's trampy red light district to the KL Sentral station, the end of the line. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

KL has some of the best street food in the world I'd say. I've been having Nasi Goreng (fried, spicy rice) from this street cart twice a day. Just over a dollar. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

Though it may be in the midst of ramadan here, you might not know it in the midst of Malaysia's shop-a-holic Chinese girls at the city's most swank mall, Pavillion. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

This is a semi-secret essentially Tamil men only bar in the back of a liquor shop. It's men only in that proper Indian women would just simply never come in the place. In dive bars in India, as I recall, men drink to get away from women & family, not to meet women at the bar. I might reckon a woman, of any repute, has never set foot in the place. Totally different mind set. Drinking in this culture is strictly men's business. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

August 30th, 2010 at 10:31 am