top of page

essays | places


complementary contrasts





 Malaysia’s syrupy name suggests that it’s a pretty sweet country, but I wouldn’t know much about that. I never made it past the edge of Kuala Lumpur, where I showed the monkeys at Batu Caves what a real monkey looks like. Kuala Lumpur was a most underrated hub, a node all lines and travelers went through without befriending it all that much as a destination. There was no good reason for it, only a self-fulfilling prophecy – as a scandalously cheap Air-Asia hub, it was too good a gateway to stay. For those who lingered just a little longer though, it had plenty of tricks, and green, and it was yummy, and young and old, and diverse, diverse, diverse.

places / stories


Kuala Lumpur / Time Travel and the Apocalypse

   Silence was a scarce commodity in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Good. „Pull your surface inside out and wrap yourself around me, city,“ I said. The hostel’s lobby was up a skinny staircase inside a lanky 3-4-5-dunno-story building. In my room a bunch of dudes. Good ones. We were a Kiwi-chimneysweeper, a Chileno-Sandalero, a Japanese kind-heart, and a me. One gave me a gift, the other some South America, and the last one – who was the first one – deep words. There was liquor and laughter and maybe cigarettes on a tiny balcony I seem to vaguely recall, and a quick-dry bond held us together for some days before we parted ways for-probably-ever.

One day, we left the hostel cave to check out some sort of city Grand Prix and, wait, Wikipedia is telling me just now that it was the first and only time it was held. Lucky me who couldn’t have cared less about its existence or non-existence and a bunch of wheels going round and round and round and round in tenacious circles.

What else… heavy, heavy rain, drops the size of water balloons, plummeting down from black thunder-skies; Dosas that were even cheaper than in India – Kuala Lumpur was suspiciously cheap in those days, somewhere around recession-cheap – and just as good; and a Quebecois instant-buddy who I surfed a wavelength or two with before he ghosted me. We had team-talked the Chinese hostel owner out of being a racist when he refused a black guy who was an actor on a local soap, and we had talked about lost loves and such depths. Ah well.