The Ever-Growing Belly of a Travelling Nutjob


After a month of relative rural obscurity throughout Indonesia, it was somewhat relieving and somewhat unnerving to arrive in ultra-modern KL, a city where you can almost literally cross the entire CBD without needing to touch the pavement – an immense network of overpasses, monorails and, most importantly, malls keeps you surrounded by potential places to throw money at and never go through the humiliating process of touching the ground, like some common pleb.

Death approaches hilariously
Death approaches hilariously

Having spent a lot of time (and an unreasonable amount of money) doing outrageous adventures in the last part of Indonesia, we decided to chill out a bit in KL, and just take a break from taking a break. I even managed to get a job; for the life changing figure of $30, I wrote a bunch of articles for an unnamed home and garden website in the UK. I had to tone down the sarcasm a little bit, but still managed to throw a few veiled insults at any potential readers, which left me feeling suitably smug enough to power through the overwhelming feeling of self-loathing.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to make mediocre food slightly more appealing, a KL company has recently opened a restaurant called Dining in the Dark. The name is fairly self-explanatory, and is supposedly working under the assumption that, removed of your sense of sight, your other senses come rushing forward to fill the void, like some sort of culinary Daredevil. My brain, however, can barely countenance being human at the best of times, so when challenged to be in any

Contrasting feelings about the merits of climbing several hundred steps
Contrasting feelings about the merits of climbing several hundred steps

way superhuman, it slunk off into a particularly dark corner to sulk, taking the rest of my 8 senses with it, returning to work only after consulting it’s lawyer to renegotiate the terms of it’s employment, and demanding a more illuminated environment in which to (barely) function. As a result, I found myself unable to distinguish between grapes and beetroot, between cauliflower and potato, even going so far as to mistake a chunk of duck for some tofu. If you feel the need to improve on your dining experience by removing what has traditionally been a key element of the human experience (i.e. Being able to see), then I recommend this activity. For people who aren’t deranged, I recommend going down the street for a laksa.

We spent a few days in Melaka (2 hour bus ride from KL), a charming colonial heritage town by the river, highlights of which were a floating mosque, a crazy man selling us paintings and a parrot that had no respect for personal space.

Forgive me random old white guy for the sins I'm sure I have and will continue to commit
Forgive me random old white guy for the sins I’m sure I have and will continue to commit

Back in KL, we experienced our first bout of boredom on the trip – we had an appointment with our friend Shikar for the Eid celebrations (which ended up not happening anyway) but had a few days to kill before then – not enough time to go to anywhere out of KL, but too much time to keep ourselves suitably entertained in the big smoke. As a consequence, Hannah became a pain in the ass, and I purchased a stupid amount of books; I’m now lugging around a total of 13, which my horoscope tells me is a very bad sign. Ah well, can’t be helped.

Heavily laden and ready for more excitement, we headed to Penang, which, to be Frank, was brilliant. To be Phillip, it was spectacular, and to be Paul it was wonderful, but even being just me, it was a spellbinding blur of architecture, scooter adventures, new friends, drunken revelry and a delightfully diverse display of dining delicacies. I’ve been working really hard on my pot belly on this trip, and Penang deserves by far the largest chunk of my gratitude for getting me to where I am today. Penang also has a Cat Cafe, which is by far the best hangover cure you’re likely to encounter. Also one of the cats looked like a lion which made me happy.

We’re about to catch an overnight bus to Singapore to have our wallets drained and meet my rambunctious boy-genius of a brother for a few nights, before we finally, hopefully, for-fucks-sake-please, are able to make it back to the beach; I desperately need to feel that sand in my bum crack again

Getting to know the local wildlife
Getting to know the local wildlife
Looks suspiciously happy about something, don't you think?
Looks suspiciously happy about something, don’t you think?

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