I shook hands with my opponent across the chess board. Beams of early-afternoon sunlight broke through the roof of the Pokhara cafe where we were sitting.
My opponent grinned a toothy grin. He was dark-skinned, freckled, missing one of his front teeth, and had a big, bushy white beard. He wore a light scarf wrapped around his head. This was the Malaysian.
Fifty-one years old, professional itinerant, and damned good chess player.
He’d just taken four out of five games from me, smoking hash almost the entire time.
NOTE: I’ve really been slacking on the travel blogging, partially because we’ve been having so much fun, and partially because I do have a day job. Bler. Despite that, I do have a backlog of adventures to write up, so look for those in the coming week. They’re not quite in chronological order, because I figure it’s better to get content, any content, flowing again. So, without further ado:
Feeling Othered in Kuala Lumpur
Before we were feeling othered in Kuala Lumpur, we were in Ko Lanta, Thailand, sitting cross-legged in a treehouse on the beach. It was nighttime, and now and then a huge lightning storm went off in the distance, lighting up the whole Andaman sea for a moment, before it all went black again. In the foreground, a few local Thais put on a show of their own, spinning and throwing flaming balls of kerosene-soaked rags for the tourists in the chintz plastic chairs.
Polly and I sat cross-legged above the scene, in a second-storey tree house nested in the clavicle of a beach palm. A local Thai and two British schoolteachers were our company. We told the teachers of our travel plans: to Singapore, where we’d stay at the Marina Bay Sands, then on to Kuala Lumpur for a few nights, in transit to Bali.
“Two days is about right for Singapore. Like… negative one days for KL,” they said. “It’s… not a very nice place.”
This is what everyone says about KL.
Holly and I have been on the road for 10 weeks now, simultaneously traveling and working online; doing the digital nomad thing. We’re not very good digital nomads though; are you really a digital nomad if you don’t tweet and blog about it constantly? It doesn’t seem so.
Gotta sell that lifestyle. (Or that ebook).
I’m a bit conflicted about the lifestyle: it is awesome, but it is also exploitative. Today, I’ll show the awesome side. Next week, we’ll pull out our critical thinking hats and dig into why it’s exploitative.
I bet this post gets more hits.