In Soviet Malaysia...

14 Oct 2006 hail YOU! It's like a reflex. Every time a foreigner walks past, the taxi drivers say "Yes Taxi?", "Taxi?", or sometimes, more intimidatingly, "TAXI!". Sometimes they whistle, shout, or clap their hands. We just tune them out these days. I have this theory that we don't see many tourists on the streets of KL because they're all in taxis.

Note: sometimes the people who are whistling, shouting, and clapping their hands, are your friends trying to get your attention. We nearly lost the rest of the group at Batu Caves.

...bus catches YOU! Busses here are... practical. It's so hard to get over to the curb that sometimes they don't bother. And pressing the 'next stop' button doesn't even always cause the driver to stop the bus, but it will make him open the doors. Sometime between then and the next stop, he'll get around to closing them again.

This usually means that, on disembarking from a bus, you're in the middle of the road, traffic is moving, your bus has already left, and you're in prime position to be run over.. by a bus. I nearly saw this happen.

I raised the issue of speeding and aggressive overtaking with a local, and he calmly replied "Yeah, that's a bus thing."

...motorcycle doesn't see YOU! Even if you make it to the footpath, you're not always safe. We've actually been forced to jump on to the road by a motorcycle that was proceeding along the footpath at a fairly good pace.

...barman buy beer for YOU! We found a pub in a side street of Jalan Bukit Bintang. A real pub, not a restaurant that serves beer, which seems to be what you usually get. The beer was frighteningly expensive (RM47/jug - we're only paying RM40/night for accommodation), but the barman, a Thai, lived in Adelaide for about two decades before moving to Malaysia. He ended up shouting us a jug.

...dinner wait for YOU! It's 7pm. The food court is packed. Everyone has a meal in front of them. No one is eating, except us. Ten minutes later the call to prayer sounds over the PA and everyone starts eating at once. Ramadhan does funny things to food-court economics.

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