“We will fly, Dan.” Nazy announced.

I decided to stop by a Malaysian Airlines city ticket counter as soon as (humanly) possible.

The smoky haze was worse in Kuala Lumpur. It even smelled like fire in the city, the skyline and the famous Petronas Towers were almost lost in the smog. Air quality was, as you can imagine, less than adequate.

We settled into our hotel and, the next day, we took a city tour. KL is a huge, bustling metropolis. The country has a mixed population of Malays, Chinese and Indians practicing (Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and whatever) living peacefully together. Accordingly, we saw a mosque, a church, a Hindu temple and:

“This place is cool.” Nazy was impressed by the Buddha Shrine.

“It’s, eh, ..”

“We can even get our fortune told using Chinese Tradition. You just shake these sticks and then drop them in the vase. One will stand out.”


“That one has a number. Then you open the drawer with that number.”

“What door?”

“In the giant, eh, thing, in front of you, there are 60 drawers. Just try it.”

I did:

Opportunities have eluded you because of your obstinate and conceited attitude making it difficult for others to get along with you.

“What does it say?” Nazy asked.

“It says that I should try again,” I replied, shaking the sticks harder,
much harder, this time. The result was friendlier.

Whatever adverse circumstances you are in, they will soon fade away. Be patient, bide your time for the advent of bright and promising days now gradually within sight.

Nazy, showing off, got it right the first time:

You are endowed with a golden heart, so hesitate not to spread your kind and benevolent services for the benefit of the community. In return, you will be rewarded with good fortune in the time to come.

In the local language, Kuala Lumpur means “confluence of two muddy rivers”. Accordingly, we are certain that we saw the absolute center of the city. It is amazing, don’t you think, that these ancient ‘rivers’ decided to flow right through the concrete channels?

KL Rivers

Because of the extensive advertisements on CNN (Malaysia: Truly Asia!), we wanted to see something of the countryside outside of Kuala Lumpur. Naturally, I had an idea.

“Melaka, Nazy. We should see Melaka.”

“Melaka? Where is that?”

“It doesn’t matter. They named the city after Melika. They just misspelled…”
church red

“You know, Dan,” Nazy replied. “I think Melaka is a great idea. There is a shoemaker in Melaka that makes excellent beaded and leather shoes. I read about this guy, Lim Ho, in a 1999 issue of…”

“Well, that’s wonderful, but I don’t…”

“He sells about 40 pairs a year to Nieman Marcus, but we can..”

“Melaka’s population is 500,000, Nazy. It seems unlikely that we will be able to find Lim Ho.”

Note: It was naïve to think that Nazy wouldn’t be able to find a specific shop.

The city has a long history of conquest. [It was conquered and occupied by the Chinese, Dutch, British, Dutch again, British and Japanese – and that’s just in the last 500 years.] It has the rundown look of tropical decay. Off the beaten track, but still clearly beaten, the city featured a variety of churches in various states of disrepair and random museums like the
Museum of Enduring Beauty at the left. They had an airplane that looked like it had been flown in by Amelia Earhart and a train used by Humphrey Bogart in a film from the 40’s.

But,” I asked myself. “Do they have Lim Ho?”

I was astonished when Nazy actually deigned to leave the (air conditioned) car to walk through the seedy shopping district. We quickly skipped the anvil sales emporium. We also bypassed the plastic container company, the concrete boutique and the Bait Shoppe. And then…

“Lim Ho!” Nazy exclaimed as if she was meeting an old friend.

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