…And I didn’t build on any of them. Lazy.
I woke on my hostel bed in Melbourne after sleeping all day. The plane landed this morning just after 8am, landing me in Australia for the first time. I did not sleep on the overnight flight, I was kept awake by a combination of the plane, my thoughts, turbulence and a guy using his overhead light and Ipad screen to send the reflection into my eye like he was trying to burn an ant.
I showered and talked again with the roommate from London who I had talked to when I arrived. She was heading to a bar to meet with friends and said she could show me the nearby street that had restaurants. After a good walk-and-chat we parted ways at a Vietnamese restaurant. I looked out at the nearby dim-lit bars and the androgynous way in which the people in the area dressed and was reminded of Berlin, I miss it, I miss Europe, I am out of Europe now and not entirely happy about it.
I spent the last 6 days in Kuala Lumpur breathing in smoke that flooded the city, originating from a large Bushfire in Indonesia. KL is filthy at your feet and black smoke spews from the battered buses that traverse the city. The humid weather is constant. The buildings are tall and there are many. The twin towers that rule the skyline are a world away from the streets below and I have never walked on so much broken pathing. The homeless people are worse than homeless, covered head to toe in the same black city grit I washed off my feet each night as I returned to my hostel. I am glad I chose Backhome hostel, it is marketed on its space and tranquility and that seems to attract introverted people like myself . Terrible for socialising, however after a day in the smog and intensity of a city like KL, a peaceful home is perfect.
|Dressed in my Holy Orders
Kuala Lumpur is quite young as a city, it has been taken by Portugal, Denmark and Britain and now is largely Muslim (In fact you are not legally Malay if you are not Muslim). I visited the Mosque near the centre. The Mosque was beautiful and included a school below the luminous-walled prayer room, the prayer room that I was not allowed to enter on account of my being an infidel. The man who told me to cover my revealed legs also told me that until one accepted the Quran as god’s true word, there was no hope for that person. I don’t believe there is a god in the first place but, for the sake of good taste, I kept that to myself. The guy was nice enough and showed me around explaining the origins of the mosque.
Two Chinese girls joined us and we went to a nearby room where they served us tea and said we could wait before the Friday prayer started.
One muslim woman made a bomb-related joke, this was followed by nervous laughter that said more about the joke’s effect than a worded response could. A German called Nick, from just north of Berlin, was already in the room when we got there. Nick was 30 and becoming a Muslim, he had spent a year in New Zealand his “favourite country in the world”. After he realised I came from New Zealand he looked at me and said, in that German way, “Well then what are you doing here?”.
The call to prayer sounded loudly and we followed everyone else in the office toward the prayer room. I had to sit at the door on a school chair and watch as the woman went to the back and the men the front. I enjoy the sound of prayer, it has a hypnotic quality. I left the mosque feeling a certain level of peace, I suppose you get that after being surrounded by people who believe they are praising the very person who created them.
My first days in Kuala Lumpur were hard. I had Jet lag after flying in from London. I like London and have done from the first day I visited. That was 16 months ago, the very start of my journey. I have been away from New Zealand that long and last week in London I stayed in Bayswater, the same area I stayed when I first arrived. London confronts you head on. The people move fast and if you don’t they move you out of the way. I waited for tubes and stayed in the station watching them leave – far too full for me to get on. There are so many people going in every direction. I know these things, so when I visit London I enjoy it for the spectacle that it is, at least it is consistent.
4 continents, 16 countries, countless bus, train and plane tickets and finally I have one that says Auckland on it. I fly home tomorrow morning!
The last time I flew into New Zealand I was 18 months old, my parents were both 24. Weird that. I’m exhausted so that is enough rambling for now. I need to collect my thoughts in the coming weeks before I realise the impact all this has had on me.
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