This is a story about a haircut, some bad news, life in Kuala Lumpur, and crocodile poop.
Before I set off for my first trip abroad to India many years ago, I harbored visions — visions of mystical women in colorful saris who would place their hands upon the crown of my youthful head and say, “I see great things in your future.” Through osmosis, I would absorb their wisdom and they would enlighten me with the path I might take to achieve such great things.
Instead, 14 years later, as I sat in a barber’s chair in Kuala Lumpur, a man named Deepak, a Gujarati Indian barber from Mumbai decked out in too-tight jeans and a checkered shirt, placed his hand upon the front of my head and told me I was going bald.
Where did I go wrong? Continue Reading »
You know, the Chinese are funny people: so long as their eyes are open, they are looking for food.
– an ethnic Chinese Malaysian man sizes up the Malaysian appetite for street food
Truth is, this quote applies to just about everyone in Malaysia. And why not? Like many of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is home to the holy trinity of street food enjoyment: availability, quality and price.
From stink bean squid sambal to giant prawns in huge buckets of satay sauce, Malaysia delivers an experience of culinary and cultural diversity. Here’s a wee taste of the wide-ranging (Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian) bites you might find.
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Malaysia, Truly Asia? Perhaps, depending on how far and wide you’ve traveled. But tropical, modern, vaguely exotic and multiethnic it certainly is. Continue Reading »
Twilight quickly yields to night at Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city.
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Obstacle-removing turtles, cavorting monkeys, remarkable chana masala and free shoe repair. We didn’t find entries for these in our guidebooks, but we did find them on the streets and in the hills of Penang, Malaysia.
Guidebooks certainly give us places to go. But the most memorable moments of cultural experience, introspection and human kindness often pass somewhere between all the “must see” stars plotted on tourist maps.
You’ve probably heard this all before. It’s hardly an epiphany. So why do we bring it up? Continue Reading »