Saturday, July 10, 2010
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The hallmark of Southeast Asian weather was on prominent display today. It started out as a scorcher and quickly detuned into a torrential cloud dump. Under the glare of the sun, the police caused quite a stir in the Chinatown market when they busted a few stalls for selling fake designer handbags. The cops threw all of the bootleg gear onto caged trucks, then completely dismantled the stalls and threw them on, too. I also saw a truck full of sellers getting hauled off to jail. It really baffled me that other stalls selling the exact same kind of stuff were left up and running.
I stepped down into the subway and let it whisk me off to the Malaysian Tourist Information Complex, where I heard there was supposed to be a dance show at 3:00 p.m. When I arrived, I was informed that it was actually at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays, so I had over five hours to kill. I climbed up onto the KL Monorail, which looks like a stubby version of Disneyland's and offers a great view of the city, and rode over to Little India, where I hoped to take in some colorful sights and spicy grub. Oddly enough, I only saw one joint that sold Indian food, but I passed it up to see what else was available. As it turned out, not much in the way of food is to be found in Kuala Lumpur's Little India, unlike other cities' versions of this district, which are overrun with eateries.
Giant black clouds suddenly appeared above the skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur and dumped a thick blanket of rain down upon the city. I ended up trudging on to the Masjid Jamek subway station, where a huge crowd milled around due to service disruption. I waited for a half hour, until an announcement was made that there would be no subway for several hours. So, I threw my rain jacket back on and walked over a mile through a super hard downpour, complete with thunder and lightning. I was thoroughly soaked to the bone and had to wring out my socks when I arrived at the Tourist Complex.
Although this show was also backed by recorded music, it was performed at a much nicer theater with excellent lighting, by a huge cast of 20 young, beautiful and energetic dancers. Around 10 different traditional Malaysian dances were performed with much joyous emotion by this large, colorful and exciting troupe. This show offered the 30 or so people in attendance eye candy galore. It was funny that in lieu of a printed program, an older woman announced all of the names and descriptions of the dances, sometimes after they had already started; and the whole shebang was proceeded by not one, but two Malaysian promotional films aimed at affluent tourists.
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