In the Shadow of KL

Jason and myself arrived by plane to Phnom Penh at around 4pm last night, having gone through a whirlwind tour in Kuala Lumpur that left us speechless and exhausted. I’m still tingling from all of the activity beneath my window here in Cambodia, so it’s a bit hard to concentrate on the matter at hand: describing the final snapshots of our time in Malaysia.

We used Couchsurfing for the first time and met Nick Chang, a lovely host who lives off the orange line in the southern part of the city. We actually ran into him on the train platform headed to his place, the chances of which seem extremely slim. His apartment was on I believe the fourth floor of a huge complex that seemed quite intimidating at first but was actually cozy. It was our first experience being in a grittier space in an Asian metro, which we welcomed with open arms.

After arriving there, we got to go to a rooftop party on the 33rd floor of this building only one stop away on the subway, where we listened to electro and house spun live from some French deejays and met a bunch of people from around the world, including, oddly enough, a guy from Boston. The show was over at midnight and we convinced Nick, with some help with this French guy, Kim, also crashing at his place, to go out to the club. This is obviously not typical Greg Bem behavior, but I’m playing ethnographic poet here, and wanted to gain some insight into this side of city life. Oddly enough, Havana on Bukit Street was a center of American culture, despite minimal Americans being there. From Black Eyed Peas to Outkast, this place played more familiar hits than I had heard at a club since living in Philadelphia. Seeing 80s music videos play on the endless screens was the perfect extra touch.

This is where I start thinking about my favorite part of Malaysia… The food. In a quintessential Anthony Bordaine moment, we went out for food after the beats had ended and ate some delicious South Indian. The problem with reporting on all of this is that I’m writing from a tablet and can’t properly reference the countless delicious dishes we ordered.

Ah, to continue on about how awesome KL was… From the wonderful people to the wonderful architecture, the city is one I felt we didn’t have enough time in. It’s hot, it’s maddening and huge, but it’s cheap, enjoyable and diverse in culture, outlook, and vision. This post hardly does our time there justice… So I will have to come back and discuss it more, tonight or at a later date.

Today: the Killing Fields, Tuol Sleng, RUPP, Royal Palace


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