I’ve always been a city kid. I find the flux of cultures and people is a heady flavour in city-scapes like no place else. But ever so often, there is a calling to the wilderness, to the ever green jungles and magical misty mountains. How about a land with a heady mix of both; ah Malaysia, it’s about time we met.
I want to play every bit of the tourist here. Get a fine tan at the beaches of Borneo, have a scandalising fish head meal at street joints in Kuala Lumpur and shop till I drop in its many malls. I want to be the intrepid traveller too and summit the elusive Mt. Kinabalu. I watched The Sensei recently, a film about bouldering, a form of rock climbing in Mt. Kinabalu as part of the Banff Mountain film festival screened by The Himalayan Club in Bombay. Being an adventure enthusiast myself, the granite rock formations and avenue of options available there just blew me away, forever wanting to Walk the Torq.
Explore the rain forests of Sarawak I will and free dive in Sipadan’s turquoise waters and marvel at the magic under play.
But what also excites me about Malaysia is beyond its geo-tropically gorgeous landscapes. I like to believe that I go beyond the images that pass us by on my travels and focus on the little things that meet my eye. Like sounds of the Arzan in the early hours of dawn or that elusive solo piece of a street musician; to record these sounds, paint their rhythms is something I cherish; and it all stems from the people of the land I travel to. I am drawn to the people of the land and Malaysia has a fine blend of Indian, Malay and Chinese showcased elegantly on Humans of Malaysia in which I see candid moments of her people in an amalgamation of stories just waiting to be told. I would like to experience this heart-split-in-two country through their voice, witness their emotions towards one of Asia’s economically sound states and sample what is easily one of the world’s most drool worthy cuisine – Malay food.
Food – now that’s a vital point. I was brought up to be a vegetarian. I followed it up by reason and logic and continued to be so as a young adult. But over my ten years of travel I witnessed cuisine in its most local flavour; in the fresh catch of the day at sea in Maldives or flavoured meats and chorizo at a farmers market in Vienna. The passion with which they cook their food so fine, like it has a direct connect with the Divine! I was smitten then as I am now by cuisines to every nation I travel; for is the experience of travel ever complete without sampling its cuisine, making your taste buds romance with its fragrant culture? I think not. Thus somewhere down the road, the traveller in me took precedence and since then I have relished the baklavas in Turkey, Kababs in the UAE, the Schnizel in Germany and now hope to make a few makan kaki while sampling paripap and tong sui in Malaysia.
Dear Malaysia, its About Time We Met