Cockroach Karma and the Demon Barber of KL

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

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The KL Citizen's weapon of choice. Scooters and motorbikes lined up in Little India.

After the tranquility of Juara, jumping off the bus in Kuala Lumpur (KL) was an awakening ruder than one of Snoop Dogg's soft porn music vids. The street was crammed with queuing buses and cars crawling past, everything spewing out engine noise and fumes. Little motorbikes and scooters weaved their way through the larger vehicles, buzzing past pedestrians struggling to cross the road. It was kind of like a real-life version of the 80's computer game Frogger. It's similar to Lima, only less polluted I thought as I heaved my backpack from the murky luggage compartment underneath the bus. 

It was then that I spotted that an unwanted freeloader had scuttled aboard.

Me before shearing, with some IMAX 3D glasses on. Looking slightly like Timmy Mallet here. Only less cool.
 Fantastic - a cockroach was zipping frantically amongst the straps, loops and pockets of my pack. The next five minutes was spent in a game of cat and roach; I would bang the pack onto the ground until El Roacho, disturbed by the mini earthquakes, emerged from some nook or cranny out into the open. Then, holding the heavy pack up with one hand, I'd try to flip the little sod into the air with my wallet. Unfortunately, the little squatter didn't show any great desire to be evicted and, sensing the end of each quake, would avoid my clumsy lunges and speed for cover in another invitingly dark corner of its adopted home. 

Lee, Lex and Bill looked on bemused whilst the local taxi drivers took their opportunity to attempt to convince us into an overpriced ride to a nearby hotel.

Me, after shearing. Note the sweaty glaze on my skin. It's there for every waking second in SE Asia that is not spent in the shower. Deal with it.
The foolish charade was only ended when one of my swings finally connected. Leather struck carapace launching the roach onto the pavement where he quickly righted himself and then raced over Lex's sandal and away. I hope it was the chaos roach; maybe, like Frodo and Gollum, my sparing his life will lead to better crime karma all round.           

Later in the day, after finding our hotel and settling in, I decided that my hair, not snipped since before my birthday in March, required a damn good cut. I said back in March that, due to my receding hairline, the next trip to the barbers may necessitiate a full blown shaving.

I spotted this in a KL mall. Oh Kenny, how could you? Your female fans will be gutted to hear of your new enterprise. Frank Lampard, on the other hand, may ask for a job...
 So this was the intention as I stepped through the door of the local barbers. The proprietor was a tall Indian bloke with a no nonsense approach to haircutting. I asked him three times to clipper the whole lot with a number 2 but he either couldn't understand me or just wasn't listening. 

Instead, the weighty curls of my bird's nest barnet were scissored away in short order, and he scraped meticulously around my neck with a razor blade. Thinking that he'd finished, I made to stand up. No such luck; he motioned that I should stay where I was. I stayed and he rubbed some lime-scented soap into my neck telling me it was from India and very popular over there. How pleasant I thought, as he finished with the soap and positioned his hands on my shoulders.

Then, without warning, he grabbed my head and forced it sharply to the left, I felt and heard the bones in my neck pop. He backed off grinning as I shouted a profanity and gave him a reproachful glare. This didn't stop him coming back for another go; once again my head was grabbed and wrenched, this time to the right, neck bones popping and vision momentarily blurred. Allowing no respite, he then pummelled the top of my shoulders into submission as part of some bizarre kind of pugilistic massage. Finally, mercifully, the ordeal was complete and I paid up my RM10 (USD 3.40ish) and slunk back to the hotel, rubbing gingerly at my neck. 

Next time I'll walk past the Indian barbers thanks very much.            

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The KL Citizens weapon of choice.…
The KL Citizen's weapon of choice…
Me before shearing, with some IMAX…
Me before shearing, with some IMA…
Me, after shearing. Note the sweat…
Me, after shearing. Note the swea…
I spotted this in a KL mall. Oh Ke…
I spotted this in a KL mall. Oh K…