Tag: blog

Kuala Lumpur – a city that should be on your bucket list

 

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Malaysia Truly Asia is home to Kuala Lumpur or as the locals call it ‘KL’.

KL is not really a destination that pops up on many peoples bucket list, right?

But damn this city is impressive.

 

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Think Singapore except

 

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bigger and brasher, without the foreign lawyers and bankers and definitely more Asian.

 

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If you’re looking for Asia’s most ethnically and culturally diverse city then this is it.

 

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At KLIA you’ll be greeted by cheery ‘Selamat Datangs’ and waved through immigration.

 

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Hop on the KLIA express.

 

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You’ll pay approximately $7 and will arrive in downtown KL in under 30 minutes.

 

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In KL, walk through the city streets

 

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And you’ll find

 

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Hawkers thriving

 

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Colonial buildings reigning dormant against towering skyscrapers

 

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Roll through glitzy,  space-age shopping malls which shelter designer threads and boutique beds

 

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then eat nasi lemak in Little India against a backdrop of bangra beats.

 

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When the heat gets too much, hop on the skytrain and fly through the heat and congestion above wide highways.

 

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KL’s a city of contrasts

 

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chaotic but organised

 

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modern yet traditional.

 

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Where you’ll find grand Malaysian architectural achievements sitting next to traditional Chinese shop-houses.

 

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and money dripping testament to Malaysia’s economic power.

 

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A place where the big and the bold unfolds

 

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Against the gritty, raw feel of local life.

 

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Markets brimming with fruits and fresh fish will sate your hunger.

 

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Malaysia has a tropical climate. When it rains it pours. Remember this or, like me, you’ll learn the hard way not to wear white…

 

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KL is a place where life moves fast and kindness flows.

 

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A heady mix of cultural and religious traditions.

 

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A city which celebrates diversity.

 

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Where an outsider can do her best to try and understand.

 

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In KL, I tossed my plans into the wind and lived off the city’s pulse.

 

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Ya, this place basically rocks.

 

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Concrete Yorkshire Dawn

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Each morning

I walk from a car park

through an underpass

and past a man who sleeps

wrapped in blankets

under fluorescent lights

on a cold concrete floor.

Some mornings, I see his hands poking out from beneath the blankets

nails blackened

cracked calloused skin.

Other mornings, I catch a glimpse of his frost-like illuminated face

ruddy hollow cheeks

eyes closed. Always.

I’m invisible to him as I silently slip past.

He thinks he’s invisible to me. And to society too.

But I see him. Even in the darkest dawn.

The tatters and the poverty.

The weary slum of his solitary decades and the impossibleness.

Screwed out of Heaven.

No comrades to walk the road with.

I sometimes want to shout to him what’s buzzing in my head and to tell him that I see him, that he doesn’t escape my view.

I want to tell him that I do think about who he is

that I do think about where he’s come from

that I do think about why he’s lying here, in the crack of the pavement, each morning

that I do see a human being before me.

Instead I keep my mouth shut

and I walk on past

silently saluting him.

 

Beyond Angkor Wat

Travel beyond the town

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which serves Cambodia’s gilded temples

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and you’ll find

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dusty terracotta paths

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which will cake your lips in their crumbs

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spanning endless horizons

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across lands parched

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where the landscape is frank.

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Painted wooden houses

 

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perch perilously on sticks

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and women crouch

in the midday sun

sifting shrimp

for a few dollars

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whilst their bare footed children

wave when I tread through their village

or who I find working (in muddy pits).

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I searched for the signs of  development

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in the dusty paths

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and in the swampy fields

 

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and I wondered

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why it is

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that the wealth in all the tourist dollars

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that sieve through

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Angkor Wat’s templed paths

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and Siem Reap’s backpacker filled streets

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but a short journey away

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don’t drip their fruits

this way

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Please don’t go to Langkawi & find my secret beach

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In Langkawi

I fell in love

with a secret beach that

became my own.

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My days fell into nets

cast against hedonistic tides and white powdered sands.

 

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In the kisses of the crystalline warm turquoise waters I swam

snorkeling to worlds remote

returning to the cove of the secret white sands

 

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to gaze at fishing boats which gently rocked in the sleepy waters.

I was lulled into paradise’s rhythm.

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I wandered bare foot

in the heat of lazy afternoons

drinking the juice from fresh coconuts

and eating sizzling spiced meats wrapped in banana leaves.

 

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Searching for shade’s gentle breeze

I walked through the green palms

which kissed the crescent shaped bay

and through the glassy green cushioned fields

 

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but I’d always return

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to see the sky light up in flames.

And as darkness descended

hovering fireflies lit up the night

to guide me home

to my beach hut

where I’d sleep deeply

away from the world’s hub-bub.

 

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I tried to leave this secret beach

I really did

but I couldn’t

and I fell into this regular rhythm.

And as the sun rose and fell

through each passing day

this beach stayed

mine.

Forever.

A Midsummer-Night’s Dream in France

We cycled through rolling fields of golden wheat back to the hidden house.

The wheat turned yellow as far as the eye could see.

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The sky was wide and trackless, and

the sun shone on the stone of the little commune house, standing deep in the woods, as we approached.

 

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The sultry sounds of yesterday evening’s party long evaporated,

 

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where glasses had been filled to the brim,

where we’d eaten from shared plates filled with meats and bread,

as children wove around our legs,

with the murmur of voices, laughter, singing and dancing escaping into the air,

and the heavy sounds of jazz music spun us into the moonlit night as the darkened sky harked to the owls.

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Today, we lay on our backs, in the grass, facing the sky.

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Not another soul around us.

Not another sound except for the babbling brook and the cry of the larks.

All still.

Idling in the heat of the late afternoon sun.

Dragon flies glimmering in the hazy light.

Not a thought in our heads.

The leaves rustled in the ruffle of the woods and wildflowers danced around us.

As you spoke to me in French, through the hush of the gentle breeze,  Oberon and Titania whispered the forest’s secrets back to us.

The whole world ceased to exist but for that which immediately surrounded us.

We were the last people standing in paradise as Athena departed and Cupid’s bow landed.

And as dusk began its descent, the spokes of the florid twilight reached out to us as we bid adieu to our secret hideaway.

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The Language of Interplay

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Words search for security and meaning in a world where language is turned on its head.

As our human experience becomes more and more sanitised, language lies fossilised.

Sluiced in desire to articulate free and unanchored thoughts which can penetrate beyond the shell like surface, beyond the starlesss vacuum.

We align words which miss the ability to express the essence of human existence.

They fall into unreliable patterns where everyday speech flows in tongued rhythms.

We have the possibility of moving beyond the ingenuous fibres of modern conventions of speech. To a place where our language and communication is more authentic.

But with the certainty of tides, we’re cut adrift from one and other in a system where language loses its connection and interplay.

I hear your words flowing. You hear mine. But we pass in the middle. Skirting in a place between lightness and darkness. Instead exchanging dreams with Dante.

 

 

Why it’s too easy to get stuck in Kanchanaburi

Crickets sang to me from outside my window into my midnight bedroom, luring me to sleep against their rhythmic chorus.

Roosters woke me to roseate dawns.

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Jasmine scented gardens hung heavy against the rising humidity.

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Kanchanaburi. A place where life moves slowly.

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Once steeped in darkness.

Ride the creaky rails.

On the infamous death railway.

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Walk through the fields where thousands were thrown into early graves.

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Immaculate rows, testament to the scars of the devastation that the Japanese Imperialist army brought.

Kanchanaburi is a place not really to see but a place to be.

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I set my bags down for a night.

Then lost track of time.

People get stuck on the River Kwai.

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The sleepy river seduces you.

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The flowing waters.  Sounds. Like pearls.

Beds your heart.

Sugarcane sweet.

You’ll find your senses lost.

The dreamy land begs you to stay one more night.

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To stay in a place where the skies are never sated of ruddy sunsets.

To take one more sunrise swim in it’s green waters.

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In Kanchanaburi it’s too easy to laze through one day.

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Before you realise the next day has sneakily approached.

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You remember all the activities you promised that you’d do but didn’t.

With further reflection you recall you haven’t done anything at all.

Its not your fault. It’s really not.

The river’s easy rhythm draws you in.

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Luring you into its laze.

Looks like you’ll just have to stay one more day…