If “blogger’s block” isn’t a thing by now, it should be. I’ve had an unusually long case of it for the last week. Sitting down to blog, and waiting for inspiration to strike is not fun.
So after a week of watching cat videos and TLC (of course) during blog time, I finally came across the old picture of a taxi driver who shared my Kuala Lumpur mis-adventure.
So how did I meet Mr. Malaysian Taxi driver? Funny story.
I was travelling from Mumbai to Penang and a last minute, hurried booking had me stuck at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for close to 16 hours. I landed in KL at around 3 pm and my flight out to Penang was at 7 am the next morning.
Getting a Hotel in Kuala Lampur would have been good but No complaints there… I love airports. People watching, cafes, bookstores… what’s not to love? Apart from the fact that you can’t get a decent night’s sleep and free charging points – nothing!
After whiling away a couple of hours, I met Lydia… a girl who was in her late twenties or so and glued to her mobile phone. Turns out she was travelling from Mumbai to Penang on the same flight, and we went to grab a coffee somewhere in the airport. While I enthusiastically talked about stepping out to explore the city, she yawned and said that she was going to find the departure gate for next morning’s flight and stay there.
We parted ways, and I stepped out of the airport. Standing outside his bright orange cab was… I don’t remember his name, so I’ll call him Cabbie. He was a polite, middle aged man and I felt I could out-run him, should the need arise (good tip if you’re a female solo traveler lol)
“I want to go to Petronas,” I told him.
“PETRONAS??” He shot me such a bewildered look that would have been more aptly used for someone asking to see the Statue of Liberty in Malaysia. “What do you want to go there for?”
It appeared that the iconic Kuala Lumpur landmark was an ordinary sight to the locals. I’d probably react the same way if someone told me that they wanted to go to Juhu Beach.
Anyways, I got in the car and we drove for an hour along the highway with nothing to see on either side. He asked me about India and compared everything I said with that in Malaysia. We spoke about Bollywood, festivals, driving etiquette, pets, family and more.
Finally he stopped the car and indicated that we had arrived. There was no Petronas Tower in sight. Instead, at the side of the highway was a Petrol Pump…. a Petronas Petrol Pump.
Was this a joke? Was he going to leave me at the side of the highway at a petrol station?
“Where are the towers?” I asked him.
“Towers?” he turned around and looked at me.
“The Petronas Towers”
Cabbie then proceeded to grumble aloud (I’m assuming) in Malaysian with a little bit of English thrown in. Words like “you young girls,” “tourists,” “Petronas Towers,” were audible before he rattled off in Malaysian again.
Then he turns to me and says “It’s called Twin Towers. Not Petronas. Petronas is a Petrol Pump. Do you want to go to Twin Towers? Will take 3 hours to and fro. 200 Ringgits.”
I would have considered if it wasn’t 11 pm or if I had company.
He probably knew what I was thinking and said “I’ll take you back to the airport… have you had your dinner yet?”
On the way back, he stopped at a well lit restaurant off the highway. There were a lot of cars parked outside with people standing around and eating delicious smelling Malaysian food. He parked and indicated to me to follow him inside. We went up the counter of the Malaysian fast food joint and he pointed out and explained the foreign dishes displayed on boards behind the cashier.
I ordered the Charsiew (BBQ Pork) to go. These long boneless pieces of barbequed pork were seasoned with honey, five-spice, and soy sauce. We ate in the car on the way back. My charsiew was sticky, shiny, and a delight to eat. Beautifully caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside it was delicious enough to make a grown man weep.
We reached the airport. I didn’t see the Petronas… I mean, Twin Towers, or much of KL. But I had the most amazing Malay food and met a great person. And that sure beat staying at the airport all night.
P.S. I saw Lydia fast asleep on a bench by the departure gate the next morning, oblivious to the announcements that boarding had begun. Should I wake her up or shouldn’t I? I would have got to see the towers if she hadn’t spent all night sleeping.
*Sigh*… I woke her up.
Unseen Malaysia | 41 Bucket-list-worthy Destinations. View the interactive version here