The folks back home call us KLites. I suppose it’s not too bad an approximation, given that they live 500 km away. It’s like whenever someone is going to the UK, we’d say the person’s going to London. It doesn’t matter if the person ends up in Edinburgh or Aberystwyth; to the folks here, it’s London all the same.
The truth to the matter is that I seldom set my foot in KL. It's safe to say that I go there not more than 10 times a year. Once during the fasting month to search for baju kurung for DD, and that is if we have the energy to do so. Occasionally we visit KLCC. And at other times it is to visit my dear brother who lives somewhere near Keramat.
Anyway, we broke the norm yesterday. DH wanted to find a tailor for his baju melayu. Now, that itself is a break from the norm because it was the first time in our almost 10 years of marriage that my DH felt that he needed a new pair of baju melayu. All this while, he had been recycling the same ones that he wore during our wedding ceremonies.
I happily agreed that a visit to KL was in order. The last time we did our shopping there was during the fasting month last year and I sorely needed my dose of retail theraphy, soaring oil price notwithstanding.
We headed to KL at around 3 pm. Soon after, we joined the traffic crawl that was followed by a frustrating search for parking in the vicinity of Sogo. Instantly I remembered why we seldom go to KL but it was too late to change my mind. After what seemed like an eternity, we found a parking spot at an open parking lot not far from Odeon. As we walked past Odeon, DH and I peeked inside with a sense of wonderment that the place had survived the developments around it.
Walking down the road towards Medan Mara, I somehow felt that this part of KL had not changed from the mid-90s. Sure, there were additions like Maju Junction, but the atmosphere was still the same. The crowd eagerly crossing the road, the car drivers impatiently waiting for the light to turn green, the makcik sitting on the steps looking at people passing by; I felt like I was transported back to old times. The scorching sun above my head somehow added to a sense of nostalgia.
From Medan Mara, we walked through Pertama Complex to get to Gulati’s Silk House. I can’t remember the last time I went to Pertama Complex, and it is a lot brighter than it used to be. As we walked past Sogo at around 4.20 pm, we say police trucks lining Jalan TAR and police personnel standing nearby. A huge crowd was watching from near the lobby of Sogo. We walked straight past to Gulati’s.
We left Gulati’s at 4.45 pm. We saw that the crowd near Sogo had grown larger. DH saw some protestors wearing red shirts. Since he too was wearing a red shirt, he decided to avoid the crowd. Later on we found out that there was an illegal gathering organized by Geramm to protest on the oil price hike.
We went inside Sogo for some window shopping. There was a sale going on and DH remarked that the place was always on sale. Well, perhaps that’s their way to attract customers. I do find that Sogo’s children’s and household departments carry some nice items at affordable prices.
I bought some kitchen items from the fair that was held at the ground floor. The queue was not long but I found that the counter service was very slow. The lady ahead of me whispered that the staff were more busy chatting with each other instead of doing their work.
Finally my turn came. As I was about to pay for the items, a woman interrupted the cashier to ask why she wasn’t given a nice paper bag despite having purchased items worth more than RM100. The cashier initially didn’t understand her question, so a few precious minutes were wasted for them to try to understand each other. Finally the cashier responded that paper bags are not given during sale time. I was quite annoyed at the interruption so I shook my head as the woman was leaving (okay I do have an attitude). But seriously, isn’t it typical of Malaysians, always expecting to get freebies, even if it’s just one measly paper bag?
Later on I joined DH and DD for coffee at McDonalds. DD decided to have her new craze, fries dipped in ice cream. I had my favourite, apple pie and coffee while DH had fried chicken.
We finally left Sogo at around 6.30 pm. It was drizzling then, so DH had to carry DD to the car park. It was almost sunset, but KL was as alive as ever.