Balcony, 18th floor apartment
at the rail watching
eight lane intersection below
Foshan, Guangdong, P.R.C.
The traffic light turns red and vehicles start to move. A van comes from one way and runs the red light as a motorbike is going through the intersection. The van nails the motorbike. Luckily, neither one is going too fast, but the motorbike driver gets knocked off his bike, slides.
The motorcyclist picks himself up, brushes off the dust and steps toward the van as the driver is getting out to check to see if the motorcyclist is all right. The motorcyclist lays into the van driver employing all nine tones of Cantonese. The van driver instantly forgets he is at fault and starts a face-saving yelling match with the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist takes this as his cue and throws a punch at the van driver. The van driver fades back and delivers a kick to the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist blocks the kick and then a full on kung fu brawl erupts.
A crowd gathers around the fight in the middle of the intersection. Traffic in both directions is blocked. The crowd grows, the motorbike lies in the street, and the van sits in the intersection with the driver’s door open. While they are busily trying to maim one another, I notice that a new player in the crowd is making his way around the back of the van toward the driver’s side door, and quicker than shit he reaches into the van and pulls a bag off the seat. He thrusts the bag under his arm and runs off in the opposite direction from the fight. The fight continues until the police arrive.
By this time I’m finished. I figure that after witnessing an accident, a fight, and a theft anything else is going to be boring in comparison. So I go back inside and chuckle myself quietly to sleep.
Sometimes it pays to have insomnia and be awake at two o’clock in the morning. Even when you have to get up at 6!
Alive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the layout is totally nonsensical until you realize how many hills and valleys are randomly dotted across the landscape. Sections of the city only have freeway access in and out. Once you are in a neighborhood, the local roads just make loops or dead end. Try to go for a walk outside the center, and you get the attention of the local police, not because you are doing anything wrong but because you are walking. “Nobody walks, no air conditioning when you walk,” they say.
Wander around the plaza and try to find unsecured Wi-Fi. Employees are giving me “the eye” because I am camped outside the café with a computer and vibe me that “you must purchase from our overpriced selection of burnt bitter corporate coffee beans” glare. Better make it quick, now, before they come after me with a battery powered portable coffee grinder!
Roam the street market that fully emits the most wonderful smells. Vendors of ingredients, as well as prepared dishes, dot and dashed under tarps and tin. Spices unsmelt before. “Makan asam laksa,” a taste you wish you had discovered years ago. Add to that the scent of cloves, and you got a double nostril full of spice!
“As you probably know, Malaysia is safe, no militants … at least for now,” in conversation at kedai makan, “Malaysia is far less extreme.” Only a couple women in Niqab, with only eyes showing, they are not Malaysian though. The style here is a headscarf that covers the top of the head, ears and neck, with skintight jeans and stiletto heels.
Malaysia is a widely diverse crossroads from way back in the beginning of things, an aware and open culture with various flavors of style and ways of life.
K.L.is definitely not dull!
Lots of spice everywhere, not just in the soup!
Kuala Lumpur is a spicy dish.
Stay real from whatever part of the globe
you happen to be trotting around.
Take it easy ya’ll.
KLMY Nov 5, 2007
I had a man pat his gun at me today.
– I hope that it was not intended as a threat.
How would you take it?
He looked me deadpan in the eye.
– Oh no, hope you don’t see that guy again!
– I’m glad you’re here to tell the story.
It ain’t no thing, just strangers passing on the street.
– Charming. Just a little threat to say “hello!”
I guess I know where his line lays.
– Did you blow him a kiss?
I let my eyes continue to scan the moment after our gazes locked.
It felt less like a threat and more like a “you should know”
– In the event that you should need back up
– OR had you considered liberating his funds
I grew up around guns. I can respect that.
Maybe he was trying to make friends,
“Hey look what I got for Xmas!”
-Subtle cues in body language define boundaries,
-alert us to changes in our social environment.
-Just keeping you on your toes…