In which it becomes clear that one size does not fit all
Starring some American boys who learnt the virtues of marmite
After the girls left I had several days of interviews followed by days of wandering around the remaining KL attractions waiting to hear about the job and trying to decide what to do next. Pretty much every day seemed to end in one of KL’s enormous shopping malls trying to find something to wear to the next set of meetings. Shopping in KL’s non-westernised malls is certainly an experience – there is only one of everything and it’s all in ‘one-size-fits-all’ which I’m sure could be true for the Malaysian physique but is certainly not true of the western frame. You have to ask whether you’re allowed to try on before you even start trawling through the rails of glossy polyester. I eventually found a Debenhams, a Zara and with tears in my eyes, a Borders. Wearing high heels after four months in flip flops also took its toll:
The waiting to hear bit was far more fun as despite having spent a lot of time in KL already, there was still a considerable amount to see. I trekked out to the National Mosque (Masjid Negara) and spent a fascinating morning sitting cross legged on the floor in top to toe purple outfit having Islam by a woman who volunteered there.
Then on to the KL Bird Park. I usually loathe zoos and any kind of animal confinement but this it the world’s biggest free flying aviary – a huge net enclosed space in which you wander round stepping over peacocks and spotting all manner of fascinating birds perched in the trees. Also popped in at the Islamic Art Museum which had a whole room of beautiful old scripts and an entire exhibition dedicated to the Muslim camel handlers who were shipped out to Australia to open up the Outback in the 1890s. The room even smelt of camel.
Meanwhile at Backhome Hostel I was now having to socialise with other people and as a practical inmate I was dolling out at much advice on what do in Malaysia as the helpful staff. I knew things had gone too far when I found myself explaining the virtues of marmite to some American boys over breakfast (I had discovered a small bottle and had been secreting it away in the back of the communal fridge). They wanted to know whether you were supposed to combine it with anything else(al la peanut butter and jelly). After some consideration I suggested that you could use it on egg soldiers. That too required a long explanation. It’s becoming clear that the Americans know nothing at all about food.