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22 December 2013

Kuala Lumpur: Towers of Happiness



What is more to ask when happiness actually beats you to the ceiling and the ceiling is where the clouds are afloat into an endless space? Actually, none. Last weekend has been overwhelming and it has kept me high above the clouds. I wish to stay here if I could.

The clouds through my window changed from white cotton candy to splashes of bleach on blue paper. And at some point the clouds resembled the way the waves crash on the ocean surface as you look at it from below the water. The flight attendant asked if I wanted some juice, water or tea but I had asked for milk instead. I felt bad for making her walk all the way to the back but this is the price I pay for having just an hour's sleep. Friday night was exhausting though it was not a blur after being out to four different places with the same bunch of crazy people.

Flight was leaving in 2 hours, I thought to myself as the alarm went off. I was wrong. The plane already left when I arrived at the airport and so I ran to every counter to find a flight as if I was competing for The Amazing Race. Kuala Lumpur must happen, I insisted. A few hundred dollars and hours later, it did. Not too cheap for a weekend getaway but it must happen, that was all I knew.

My roommate from high school picked me up just before noon. We drove to the city where my other friend, who flew from another side of the world, was waiting. We left the ground and went up to the room where saw the Petronas Towers. It looked familiar, but this time it looked so much better. I took a photo, like I always do. But this time with just my camera phone. I left my bulky DSLR and that was the best decision from last night.

We walked to where the towers were and looked for a place to grab late lunch. Local food was exciting but all the queues were unbelievably long until we decided to just have Thai. The Tom Yam soup was not "hot" but it was still a bit spicy. I realized my standards for "hot" has changed after living in Singapore for three years.

Conversation over lunch was interesting. We were all very happy to see each other after years of just digital greetings. We were so young then that we only thought of our teachers and grades and some young love. After 14 years, we found ourselves talking about how life has been to us.

It rained in the afternoon so tea was a perfect plan. The guy who served our coffee and tea spoke in our dialect so it was a surprise. Strangers in a different country shared a common tongue. That brought me home for a second. My girl friend have not slept from her night shift so a nap sounded like a good idea. The rest of the afternoon was just watching the sun go down and the towers light up.

We drove to the outskirts for dinner. It was very much like a Singapore Hawker except that the mood was relaxed and there were more smiles and cheers I could hear. It was char kway teow, pork mee and roast pork rice for dinner. I also shared an enormous glass of watermelon juice with my friend. We both couldn't drink it all up since some space was needed for later's party.

The day felt like years in my calendar. Before we went back to the hotel, we dropped by my friend's flat. The night lights from her balcony included that of the Petronas Towers and Genting Highlands. I could not take a perfect night shot but I didn't care. We arrived at the hotel before midnight. I changed so swiftly into my party mood and we hit the Zouk club which was just across the hotel. At midnight, it was surprising that a lot of people are still trying to get in. Since my friend and I were both tourists, entry to the club was free and that was another surprise.

The crowd was awkward since most of the people were young and just watching other people dance. It was outside my expectation though I find them more liberated that those in the Singapore clubs. It might be because the party goers are concentrated in one place, but I could be wrong. Or it was just me in my sober state.

The night turned into day when we saw the clock struck 3 in the morning. The place was packed and there was barely any space for us to move. J├Ągerbombs and beer has washed off by then and we were feeling tired. The comfort of the soft sheets was tempting.

Back in the hotel room, my other friend was still busy working remotely for her night shift. I did my stuff in the toilet like a zombie and hit the bed. I fell asleep so quicky as if I took a pill. It was past 8 AM in the morning when my hardworking friend hit the sheets. I woke up shortly after that, did my usual business and went back to just staring at the tower. Everyone else was asleep like a baby. I browsed through my Facebook feeds and then set my phone aside. I continued staring at the tower until one of my friends joined me.

We found ourselves in Petrojaya a few hours before our departure. It was a happy afternoon even though the sun was scorching and we were sweating. Finally it was reduced to just two of us in a train and then coffee. Farewell was a little too difficult. I didn't want the weekend to be over but each of us has business to do. A tight hug was all that reassured me that everything is going to be alright.

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur that weekend with so much uncertainty and doubt but left it with so much faith and hope. Sometimes you just have to believe in your gut that eventually life will realign as it should.

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