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Day 25: Cash Cab has Nothing on Nooryan

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sometimes gems appear in the most unexpected areas. In today’s case, it was inside our taxi cab.

We began the day with some good food next to the Hindu temple half a block from our hostel. It was run by the same people whom we’ve seen enter its premises. Bindis rested on their foreheads as they walked alongside flaming candles in coconuts. Their Malaysian food, served on banana leaves, tasted wonderful as usual, and our stomachs bloated as we left the dining area.

We weren’t expecting much after practically eating heaven on leaves, and we got exactly that. Roxanne and I had intended to go to Batu Caves, but, embarrassing as it is, we couldn’t navigate the train system. We got to some type of station, but I think it was for buses? And there were no places to buy tickets? I’m sure the problems were all my own and not some major flaw in the city’s transportation system, but I felt as if I were in a labyrinth. Reliable travel blogger, huh?

In the end, we decided to just go to the caves another day. We hailed a taxi to go to our next destination.

What appeared to be a failure actually turned into a major highlight of the trip. The hailed taxi pulled over, and we were greeted by a 55-year-old man with a long grey beard and bright blue eyes (he wore colored contact lenses). His car was filled with clues to his spunky personality, but we still weren’t prepared for what was to come.

He started chatting away in relatively strong English, and 30 seconds into the car ride, he just pulled out a photo album from his right-hand side.

...??? A photo album? In a taxi???

It turns out he traveled all over the world at age 17 through his previous work in a shipping company. He introduced himself as Nooryan, and he spewed out words of wisdom. Nooryan brought up his happiness without many materialistic belongings, his desire for honesty, and his nonexistent education but strong will to learn English. Although he can’t read in any language, he sure as hell can drive. My cheeks hurt from smiling by the end of this conversation.

He dropped us off at the bird park, our destination in mind. However, we were hesitant to go inside as soon as we saw the steep prices. Nooryan had already gotten out of his cab to help us with any language problems, which is also abnormal because cab drivers usually leave the second money has exchanged hands. We decided to switch destinations to the free orchid garden across the street, a choice supported by Nooryan, saving our precious ringgits.

We then separated from the kind new friend, our very own Gandalf the Grey, the personal Dumbledore, a sweet and smart uncle we all wish we had. We’ll call him next time we need a cab (he gave us his card).

From here, Roxanne and I wandered through a real-life secret garden, moving from orchids to hibiscuses (my favorite flower) as the clouds cleared.

We then went searching for more of a city scene and walked into the urban sections of Kuala Lumpur once again. I particularly like analyzing the architecture, the people’s habits/dress, and the wild cats lying in the shade.

We stopped and ate, then continued to walk, surrounded by very modern, glass skyscrapers standing next to intricate, old buildings. I really, really like the look of this city, if that hasn’t become obvious thus far. :)

Roxanne and I took it slow the rest of the day, stopping to nap before going to a restaurant with the rest of our hostel. We received this crazy, free dessert, which words cannot properly describe. Soo here’s a picture:

A full day, full stomachs, and a picture worth a thousand words later, we went to bed, finally catching up on our lost sleep from the past, slightly wild days.

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