Little India and thoughts about KL

I wrote about KL a few times in this blog the last time I visited about a year and a half ago. I can’t say the place has changed much in that time but staying in the middle of Little India around Jalan Masjid India and very close to old chinatown has given me a different perspective on things. The traffic, noise, crowds and pollution seems much worse than I remember even if I enjoy the vibrancy and even to a certain extent the chaos much more than the ordiliness of Singapore. Little India has always been my favourite part of town. I love the hundreds of little fabric shops for its colour and having just visited an exhibition of Batik fabrics at the Art Musuem in KL, I’m finding even more to appreciate on the streets here. The very shiny jewelry, the heavily spiced food stalls and the small fragrance companies here only emphasize that at least in KL, the indian community is about the senses.

Staying next to an indian cinema which last night blared out its closing title music at 3am, overwhelming even the departing audiences enthusiastic chatter just brought that point in a little more.

It’s not all low rent either, there are a couple of very posh Euro Moda fabric shops that speciliase in european fabric (one of which has a photo of Mugabe posing in the foyer next to a very chuffed owner) and there’s an imported Italian furniture place called Da Vinci with the best of Italian baroque. So there’s money floating around KL, money enough to afford a $28,000 ringgit lamp and cloth that retails at $400 ringgit a metre.

For some reason, there aren’t many travellers in this part of town or in the malay part of town a bit further up the road. They tend to prefer to cluster around chinatown. This is probably because there isn’t that much budget accomodation around here – the Coliseum has no dorms and its rooms while good value for couples are probably a bit much for singles – which is a good thing because the area isn’t at all geared for tourists. The market stalls don’t all sell fake bags and watches, the food stalls aren’t about selling beer to tourists and there aren’t massage parlours lining the streets.

If you’re looking for that the Bukit Bintang “Golden Triangle” fits the bill. But for myself noisy as it is, the next time I’m in KL I’ll be staying in Little India again.

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