My third day in Kuala Lumpur and where do I begin?

Went to visit a publisher this morning. Kuala Lumpur has quite the train system. Apparently most people rely on the trains to get across the city.

Problem is the signs are in Malay, and I don’t read Malay. I’m informed that there are signs in English but they’re few and far between.

After braving the London underground, with its complicated tubes and tunnels, and finding that challenging, I thought I’d give the trains a pass and opt instead for taxis, spelled teksi here in KL.

My first meeting this morning was at 10:00 am. I left by around 8:30. I thought hey, it’s in a Starbucks I can grab a coffee even if I’m terribly early.

The clerk at the hotel warned me that I might not be able to get a teksi, because the place was ‘too close by’. Honestly, the first taxi that stopped refused to take me for that very reason. Luckily the second one stopped.

I had to go to a place called Bangsar Village. As we’re getting close the taxi driver asks if he’s supposed to turn down this way.

How the heck am I supposed to know? I just repeated Bangsar Village Starbucks. So he was kind enough to drop me at a place that had signs that said Bangsar Village. It was some kind of shopping mall complex. No Starbucks in sight.

But within a short while, and asking a few bystanders, I found it.

Luckily my friend Daphne Lee (who’s proven to be SUCH a help!!!) took me to the next appointment. Where I was supposed to be interviewed by local media. The first newspaper guy never showed up. The charming lady from Penguin Malaysia who’d been kind enough to set up the interview apologized profusely, kept trying to get in touch with the person. No explanation nothing.

The Penguin Malaysia lady, a lovely young woman named Maygala said that maybe later he could email me his interview questions, and I asserted myself. Nope, I said. Anybody who stood me up didn’t deserve an interview. She understood perfectly.

Then the other journalist showed up, and she made up for the no-show with such an abundance of enthusiasm, that it really felt like my time had not been wasted.

She was a reader! And on top of that she was a lover of children’s literature!!!

Had a great time!

But then we had to look for a teksi to take me back.

We walked out to the road behind the mall and any taxis that passed would not stop.

Then we walked out to the main road. The skies above looked ominous, ready to burst with torrents of rain! I muttered my usual dua under the circumstances, “Oh Allah, do not let your servant get wet.”

99% of the time it works!

Today it worked, alhamdu lillah!

The Penguin Malaysia lady, Maygala, told me how often the taxi drivers wouldn’t stop at all, or they’d say they didn’t know the way. You often had to give them a local landmark. Oh boy, I didn’t know any local landmarks!

Maygala told the teksi guy to take me to Jalan Sultan where my hotel was at the edge of Chinatown. Then she told him Petaling Street.

So he brings me down here, but I can’t recognize any of the area!

There’s Petaling Street, a big sign over a pedestrian walkway, he points right at it and tells me to get out now. But I tell him “Jalun Sultan, Jalun Sultan!”

The man keeps pointing at the Petaling Street sign, I point down to the right but he says, “One way!”

And he’s right. He can’t turn right.

I have no choice. I have to get out.

And I don’t  recognize the area one little bit!

I’m scared. I know I won’t be able to get a teksi here to take me a few blocks to my hotel. And then…

I see a sign.

Jalun Sultan, down towards my right. And I pass by a parking lot that looks vaguely familiar.

The very first day Daphne had come to pick me up , and hadn’t we walked this way to get to where she’d parked her car?

Wow. If I hadn’t been paying attention to the surroundings, I might have completely gotten lost!

I walked up a ways, and to my left I saw a tall highrise. It looked familiar, but I couldn’t see the name of my hotel, (it was on the other side of the building).

Still, something told me to cross down here, and sure enough, I came to my hotel from the opposite direction that I was used to.

Alhamdu lillah.

And the skies restrained themselves!

I arrived without getting soaked by rain.

And after munching on some rambutan fruit (rambut means hair and the suffix ‘an’ means ‘lots of”, look at the picture  and you’ll see why)  that look like this:

I feel quite brave and proud of my little adventure.

 But really, it was just the grace of God.