An Interesting Week in Kuala Lumpur

Glass breaking. Shouting. The sounds of a struggle. Muffled cries of pain.

A crowd had gathered in the busy Chinatown street in front of my hostel to witness a serious ass-kicking. I couldn’t see from where I was sitting, but I could tell by the covered mouths and expressions of horror that someone was really taking a pounding.

Minutes later – sirens sounded as the ambulance came to scrape up the mess.  I kept my seat, no need to see blood in broad daylight.

Walking home today on the same street a crowd had gathered. A tough looking man with blood on his mouth was flipping over tables and just generally raising hell in front of my hostel.  Just as my heart flipped the switch to survival mode and I felt the first squirt of adrenaline, I noticed the large-format camera and director.

They were filming a movie.

The guys were pretty cool and let me take pictures. The film – described as a “gangster movie” – is set to come out next year.

The movie set was just a small part in a pretty interesting week spent here in KL.  I have burned the afternoons working and walking around the city, enjoying memories from last year and just getting to know the place all over.  I have certainly caught up with every bizarre food that I was missing – even Nepalese food.

I did manage to explore the Perdana Lake Gardens area here. Wow – why didn’t I go there last year?  A miniature rain forest with lots of cheap attractions including a bird park, butterfly park, and planetarium. The area was a bastion of solitude in an ocean of city noise and traffic.

Walking around the shaded paths between parks and the orchid gardens, I was scarcely aware of being in the middle of a large Asian city.  After two weeks here, I have certainly had enough concrete.

For a first-time experience, something that I would normally reject as being too “touristy”, I decided to stick my feet into one of the fish spas. The cheapest place I found was in the Central Market – $1.75 for 10 minutes – but 10 minutes is honestly all that I could handle.

I took a seat and looked down into the water where thousands of small, hungry fish were looking up at me expectantly. As I gingerly lowered my feet into the pool, the water churned with fish eating the dead skin and calluses.

Although toothless, the little monsters attacked my feet with the ferocity of piranha. Now I know what a cow that falls into the Amazon feels like.  The sensation was indescribable – hell for someone with ticklish feet.  Through the chaos and rolling water I watched carefully, hoping that they knew when to stop feeding; preferably before any bone was exposed.

At the end of the 10 minutes, my feet felt clean and tingly.  I carefully counted 10 toes.  Life was good.

Disgusting? Yes.  Wonderful and well-worth the money just for the entertainment value? Absolutely.  In fact, I would love to get some of these fish at home.

In a rare moment of passing homesickness, I did realize that today was Independence Day at home.  No rednecks lighting explosives, no cookouts with cornhole, no flag waving – it just wasn’t the same here.

Since I’m staying in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown, I thought briefly of tracking down some firecrackers but decided against it.  Some random white guy blowing up objects in front of the hostel probably wouldn’t go over well.

The Malaysians have their own Independence Day – August 31- which I was here for last year; maybe I can blow up something then.

Tomorrow morning I fly down to Borneo to trade the concrete for rain forest.  The Rain Forest Music Festival, world-class diving, orangutans, maybe even the occasional reformed head hunter – I can’t wait!

Find all related to:
Greg Rodgers

About Greg Rodgers

Enjoyed this post? Consider throwing a dollar into my Paypal account: (I can eat for $2 on the road!) Check out my Facebook page:

2 Responses to “An Interesting Week in Kuala Lumpur”

  1. Sounds awesome! 🙂

    For how long will you be traveling?
    I was thinking maybe we could meet up somewhere (if it’s fine with you) – the weather is quite good in Sweden now, but I really feel I should break away, at least for a while.

  2. Sweet. $1.75 for 10mins is phenomenally cheap. They charge like $50 bucks for 30min in Singapore! INSANE!

    I don’t think I can endure having my feet nibbled at by scores of tiny fish though. Tickkkkkly!!!

Leave a Reply