29 January 2011

Oh the Humidity!

(Published 9 September 2010)

How does the song go, “hot, sweet and sticky?”  I knew the humidity was coming, its South East Asia, the word humid doesn’t even exist here, the dictionary just says “see air.”  Still urban South East Asia has its own brand of humidity.  Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur they all have it.  It is smoggy and savory, revolting and refreshing, swampy and succulent.  It is sewage, street food, crowds and sprawl.  It is a grab-bag of "Oh Yeahs" and "WTFs" ground, stirred, heated-up and smashed over your head for maximum impact.

Today was my first day in Kuala Lumpur or KL as it is more commonly called.  As you may have guessed it was hot and humid.  I spent nearly 5 hours walking the city.  I walked from the Lake Park district to the Petronas Towers and down through the Golden Triangle.  KL is a city of fascinating ethic diversity.  The Malay, Chinese and Indian influences of its world renowned food are clearly reflected in the faces of its people.

It is a good city to get lost in.  I didn’t walk for 5 hours on purpose.  It just took me a REALLY long time to find my way back to my hostel.  I am admittedly terrible with directions.  I use maps only to point myself in the general stumble upon direction of my destination.  That said KL seems particularly difficult to navigate from the ground level.  Even major streets seem to get cut off at the knees by monolithic shopping malls and corporate structures forcing you onto side streets and alleys lined with dirty shops, I dare you foods, and cheap wares.  However, I am sure that if you were to ask a KL lifer they would tell you that these streets are the real KL; the true culture clustered into the crevices of the cities glassy façade.

I have a few more days in the city.  There is much to learn and much to see.  Including an intense study of the KL nightlife.  It is currently 7pm here.  I am planning to make a dinner and drinks agenda soon.  If I wait a couple of hours maybe it will cool down?  Maybe the humidity will lose some of its weight? 

Silly American.