Urban Changing

Yesterday I was sitting on the steps of the Sinagogue and feeling pretty well.

Surrounded by Peter Bialobrzeski‘s works, I could recall living inside a couple of them, and the video shown on the third matroneo was so familiar.

When I was in Kuala Lumpur, I stayed in a bed&breakfast in a small traditional house, tucked among skyscrapers, a construction site, and behind a posh hotel. The lane featured trees, a couple of tiny gardens, one sparrow’s nest, a resident dog adopted from a shelter, a litter of ginger kittens, and various cats with their Asian knotted tails. This tabby tomcat used to be my favourite.

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One day I went up the KL tower, I looked into the provided telescope and tried to spot my house. It wasn’t hard. Back home I showed my hosts the photo of their red roof.

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Another day I was at the National Mosque, it was a hot afternoon and I had been walking around for hours so I didn’t feel like using public transit (public transit in Kuala Lumpur is interesting and modern, but unfortunately is not really integrated, so changing line can be very time consuming). I stopped a taxi. I was too tired to explain anything or to ask the driver to switch the meter on, so I just gave him the name of the posh hotel. He smiled, and told me the fare, which was of course the expensive one for gullible impossibly-rich westerners who do not understand the value of money. But I was really tired, and the overprice was just couple of dollars anyway. Once in front of the posh hotel I though I could as well have him drop me by my door, as I was paying the posh fare, so I gave him directions to my lane and stopped him in front of my cute b&b. The driver seemed surprised, definitely taken aback, and shifted in his seat uncomfortably. I thought you were staying at the posh hotel, he said. Oh no that’s way too expensive for me you know, I replied earnestly. That was too much, he started to apologize, so I told him he didn’t need to, that I should have said something, and in the end we just had a good laugh about stereotypes and things.

I am hugely attracted by chaotic Asian megalopolis. Before my first trip to Saigon I used to think I would have fond them unbearable, with all the tropical heat and pollution and noise and impossible architecture, so I was very surprised when I discovered that chaotic Asian megalopolis with all their crude contradictions and unreal dimensions sometimes just let you be, so easily, they way you are.

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