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Day 26: Cute Hats

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I woke up feeling kind of sick, so we took the day slow. People say almost every backpacker will get food poisoning at least once during their journey, and I guess it took until the last leg of the trip for me to become a statistic.

I wasn’t hit too bad, luckily, and I still don’t regret eating a single thing thus far because it has been just SO tasty. In fact, by about 1 p.m., I was able to grab Rox and get rolling. We went on a hunt for healthy food. For some reason, our diet of only bread just hadn’t been cutting it.

A Caesar salad was all we craved (and all I could stomach); however, that very Western meal is harder to find in Malaysia than expected. So, looking for healthy food, we entered Nando’s, a fast food chain popular pretty much everywhere but the U.S.

We dined like slightly poisoned kings on those salads, enjoying the most American meal thus far. It’s actually very interesting how much better I felt after eating something green, and by the time 3 p.m. came around, I was feeling much better. It could have been some kind of placebo effect, or my body could have been craving veggies, but I prefer to believe that I’m this generation’s Popeye.

Later in the day, I ate cooked spinach for a meal and then felt even better. It’s evidence round two: I am the 21st Century Popeye.

Before my transformation, however, we left Nando’s for the Petronas Towers, walking through the city to reach this landmark. The architecture was super pretty, but I still preferred the slow walk there, where we were guests in a land of palm trees, modern buildings, and other languages.

From the Petronas Towers, we walked into the nearby mall, which took us by surprise. We went looking for presents and didn’t expect to find such cultural significance. The shopping center was filled to the brim with customers in burkas and hijabs and turbans and fully-covered clothing, which we should have expected because that’s how it is in the rest of Kuala Lumpur. It was just interesting seeing this in such a confined space. We would never go to a mall in the U.S. and see people in such attire, and I really enjoyed the observations.

The clothes for sale, too, tended to be more conservative than in the U.S. stores. For example, the local Zara traded in short shorts for loose trousers. Again, it was just intriguing to get a closer look at the cultures here, learning about the East from Westerners’ eyes.

This is where I got my spinach, and soon after we left the mall to sit by a fountain. The Islamic call to prayer rang just as the sun went down, and immediately the fountains’ lights turned on to reveal a colorful dance.

The Popeye in me couldn’t withstand whatever bug I had, however, and we just went back to the hostel to kick the sickness with sleep. It worked, too -- I  woke up the next morning feeling just fine.

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