|The view from my balcony: the old palace, the monorail, the river and the temple|
Since moving to Brickfields in mid-June, my morning routine has changed a bit. I can wake up half an hour later, which is a significant improvement for me. The neighborhood is Kuala Lumpur's Little India, but there are Malaysian Chinese residents as well.
It is still dark outside when I wake up at 620, but it is light by the time I get out into the street an hour later. In between, the bells of the Hindu temple across the street tell me whether I should hurry up or take my time.
When I step out, I see brown dogs approaching the bare-chested holy men of the temple. A flock of pigeons is almost always waiting for their bread crumbs in front of the other Hindu temple down the road.
In front of the next condo, parents in their Indian tunics and saris wait for the orange Bas Sekolah (school bus) to pick up the children in their blue uniforms every school day and wave them goodbye with big smiles. The vegetarian restaurant around the corner is already open for business. The flower shop across it is accepting the day's deliveries.
Crossing the road, I pass by a row of homes. The ginger cat in front of the fourth house greets me with a meow every time. The sidewalk has bags of uncollected garbage, so I hold my breath every few strides. There's the rice dealer, the coconut dealer, the eateries, and the budget hotel before I get to the 7-11 at the corner. If I pass by in the afternoon, I sometimes hear the sound of the trumpet and basketball being played at back of the YMCA.
On the next street, a crowd is always waiting for the bus to arrive. I wait for the green pedestrian light before crossing the temporary covered walkways to the underbelly of KL Sentral, where I take the coach to LCCT.
My area can be quite dodgy late at night, a den of snatch thieves and prostitutes. Parts of the area are from the 1960s and aren't in the best shape. I'm here only because of the location. The rough facade of the neighborhood keeps me alert and won't make me too soft for Manila. At least that's how I see it, practically speaking. I miss the fresh air and the relative peacefulness of my old place. But I'm a city girl. This is where I thrive.