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Day 27: Perfumed and Blessed

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Eight strangers took pictures with Roxanne and I today. At least that we saw.

This has happened to us since the beginning of the trip, but it has increased exponentially since coming to Malaysia. Some have been quick shots of us doing some majorly unglamorous activity like stuffing food in our mouths after a long day of walking, and some have featured groups of friends, shyly walking up to us and asking for a photo.

Although I like to believe this is because I have such a big blog following, I know it really isn’t because Roxanne and I are celebrities. We did research on the subject after somewhere near the fifth photograph, learning that Asians will sometimes take pictures of Westerners because our features are relatively exotic. We look different due to our hair/skin/eye colors, and they can brag to their friends that they saw such unique people.

We also, of course, are just very beautiful. Photos are still welcome when we return to the States.

The most photographs were taken at the Batu Caves, which house a Hindu temple and many other Hindu iconography. We first walked past demon people, AKA monkeys, scattered all around the entranceway.

Okay, okay, okay. Let me just tell you. Monkeys are CreEpY. Demon people. Scary. I feel bad judging based on appearances, but after one chased after me with its teeth bared, I can hold a grudge. Their walks and their human-like faces and their hands… Let’s just say I can see why the Powerpuff Girls’s villain Mojojo was a monkey. I’m shuddering.

It was still interesting to walk by them until I got chased by Godzilla’s mini cousin, but after my narrow escape, I was happy to reach the mouth of the Batu Caves. The bottom of the cave looked like art itself, and when we walked up, we were greeted by a gigantic, empty cavern. It was even bigger than the cave I peer pressured Roxanne into climbing back in Laos.

Through this cave we went until we reached the very back, where we were greeted by a Hindu temple. Roxanne and I had hardly done much research on the caves, strictly reserving our internet searches for the more important “Why are people taking so many pictures of me in Asia?” on Yahoo Answers. Our priorities made the Hindu temple come as a surprise.

It was here that a Hindu priest beckoned us over, and he placed bindis on our foreheads and flowers in our hair. He blessed us with a stripe of white paint and then bestowed good luck upon us with a red dot atop our third eye. The room smelled of incense. I left feeling so calm.

We soon departed the cave, taking some last looks at the beautiful view of the rock and the skyline below us. We then left and took the subway to a Ramadan bazaar.

From Hinduism to Islam we went, observing the religious practices one after another. Coming from so many Buddhist temples in Thailand, I’m incredibly grateful to witness such a diverse set of cultures. It’s also incredible to see them exist in such harmony.

We made it to the bazaar in time to see rows and rows of food vendors. Many Muslims gathered within the long streets, eating their first meal since before sunrise. Roxanne and I wandered through the dark streets ourselves, stopping to buy dinner and sweets along the way.

From here, we decided to go to the Heli Lounge Bar, which some people in our hostel recommended due to its great city view. Enjoying the legal drinking age of 18 before returning home to the U.S., I’ll admit that the drinks were also a draw. A 30-minute walk through the beautiful, bustling city later, we arrived.

When we first got there, the hostess said we had to pay 100 ringgit each for drinks. I didn’t even have that much on me, and we immediately turned around to go, no questions necessary. It was then that she chased us down, suddenly telling us about Ladies Night, where we actually could get unlimited free drinks… Very odd, very suspicious…

But free drinks spoke to us like a whole new language, and we walked into the sophisticated lounge, sporting our ~ real ~ Birkenstocks and Adidas along the way, feeling boujie with our (luckily) non-knock-off apparel.

Roxanne and I, of course, were so sophisticated that we only ordered the socially acceptable two cocktails, talking about our futures and pasts and everything good friends do.

From here we walked home, stopping to buy perfumes at a cute vendor. With an emphasis on cute, the husband and wife in charge of the stall flashed toothless grins the entire time, chatting away with their new customers. They were so friendly, teaching us some Malay words, and eventually gave us two free bottles of perfume. One was called the Saddam Hussein scent, which we had laughed at as a group. Can’t wait to see Roxanne bring that one on the plane...

We continued to walk home, leaving as the Isha’a prayer, or nightly Islamic call to worship, rang throughout the city (this was one of the terms the vendors had taught us). From the call to prayer, we walked past the Hindu temple one block down from our hostel, and then made it back to our room to shower and finally get a good night’s sleep.

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