Sweltering heat and humidity welcomed me as I stepped off my Super VIP bus onto the KualaLumpur (KL) sidewalk. My first move was to avoid the touts (people trying to sell you a hotel room) and get directions to my hostel, Grocer's Inn. It's in Chinatown, right next to a streetside barbershop. Inside are yellow walls and very aged wooden furniture, in the realms of antique.
After showering and redressing in dirty clothes (I've not yet resorted to just perfume as a detergent, but that may be soon coming), I set off to see a few sights of KL. I wandered through Chinatown (stressful) and then to the Central Market, which I recognised from my previous layover visit in 2005. It's essentially a mall, but in a very cool art-deco building.
After getting disoriented a few times ( vey common in KL) I found my way to Jamek Mosque, where I donned a robe and my first head scarf and was greeted with enthusiasm by the young and old man minding the door. When I said I was from the US, the young one said, "Everything is so strong there! It's a great country." Funny coming from a Muslim, considering our issues. But it was lovely.
After the mosque, I set off to find the old train station. Looking a little lost with my map in hand, a few locals took it upon themselves to offer help and gave me the fastest route. I was about halfway there when I looked up and saw what I thought was a familiar face.
I shouted, "Mamma Mia Pizzaria!"
He turned around. It was Mateo/Mateusz (he goes by either). In a city of over 2 million, it was a strange collision... We sat on the curb a while and smoked another menthol-clove cigarette (don't worry, this is not a new habit). Then sat down for a smoothie (called "shakes" here) before walking around KL through Little India and surroundings.
Mosque... see the people "sleeping," ahem "praying" inside?
I love the mix of architecture here.
KL from the top of a hotel bar where I didn't buy a drink, but I used the bathroom! :)
Central Market, duh.