After John departed and Julia and I dropped our Ikea shopping off at the house, had a bit of a catnap and freshened up, we headed back to Bangsar for the Bangsar Night Market, or Pasar Malam as it’s also commonly referred too.
Fascinating places are night markets, and I haven’t been to a big Kuala Lumpur night market since the last time I lived in Kuala Lumpur, which was a good 6 years ago. I remember being at the Bangsar night market once, but I don’t remember it being so organised, very proper, with uniformed blue-roofed tents and everything.
“How”, did Julia wonder out loud, “will be ever find Ian and Eve?” The night market was big and busy, with plenty of foreigners around, which meant that tall, white Ian wouldn’t be so obviously visible from a distance. But her words had hardy trailed off when I noticed Ian at a food stall not far away, and turned Julia around and silently directed her to look down my arm and pointing finger. She saw, he saw us, we waived.
We were due for dinner at Ian and Eve’s, but the afternoon was still young and dinner far away, so Ian and Julia decided to indulge in Asam Laksa. It’s a little bit spicy, a lot fishy and has all sorts of interesting things in a rather delicious soup. We sat down at a small stall, which was doing brisk business while Julia and Ian slurped their way through two a bowl each.
I declined a feeding, as between our breakfast, Swedish meatballs for lunch, Pecan Pie and Tiramisu cake, I had in fact digest nothing, nevermind had a craving to eat more. As I formed that thought, I took a bit of Julia’s Asam Laksa, and it was good.
When they had finished, we moved along to the end of the market where Fatman’s Steamboat had gathered a crow. Eve and Ian took a few bits, dunked it in the boiling water and stood there eating. Julia had been distracted by a stall with many tidbits on them, and was buying some stuff for the people back home.
With a few bags of market goodies in hand, we went over to the super, because, did Ian declare, there were only 2 cans of beer at his house. We stocked up on Heineken, which was on special, but only enough to bring it on par with KK prices. I was again surprised by how expensive alcohol is in Kuala Lumpur, when I thought it would be cheap.
We hauled our stuff back to Ian and Eve’s where we relaxed a bit on their extremely spacious balcony featuring a hammock. We all had a go and it was quite comfortable. A few times first Julia, then myself threatened to actually fall asleep right inside the hammock.
Ian suggest we go for a swim. Julia and I went along in our borrowed swim suits and we soaked in the pool for a while. We intermittently got out of the pool to have our ‘dinner’, which consisted of satays and other snacks.
The swim was followed by showers and some beers, and we decided to round the night off a movie at Mid Valley Mega Mall. We wanted to see I am Legend, but the last show available at a decent time was fully booked, so we saw The Golden Compass instead.
By the time we got into a taxi to go home, it was 11.45. From midnight, they levy a 50% late night surcharge, but we knew that because we weren’t that far away, we would make it well within time. The taxi, however, drove really, really slowly. He took as through a side-road that had plenty of speed bumps on it, and as his car was fully loaded, he slowed right down to clear each one.
On the normal roads, devoid of traffic, where he could speed up a little, he chose not to do so. Before he dropped off Ian and Eve (we dropped them first), I already knew he was going to try and pull a fast one. So it was then that, according to the clock in his car, he dropped as off at our destination at 00:02. Julia handed him RM10, having worked out that the meter plus the 4 person charge came to RM8. He turned around and said “it’s after midnight, the late night surcharge applies”.
I immediately scooted forward, having expect this and said “my friend, it’s two minutes past midnight”. “No matter”, he said, “whether it’s two minutes past or two hours past, the charge still applies”.
I was feeling particularly hostile, because I saw this coming a mile off. “Look”, I offered, “you picked us up well before midnight and made an effort to drive slowly so that you can waste time to gain RM4. How about we pay you the RM8 we owe you and we part as friends?”
He turned around and I thought I was in for a fight, but he handed back the RM10 saying “Look, take the money, I don’t want it”. I looked around in my wallet for exact change and said “that’s not what I want,”, but he said “you work, I work, we all make a living, just get out of my car”. We got out, a little dumbfounded about what had happened.
Julia asked me why I was so adamant, and I explained that I had my eye on the meter for a while and suspected that he was going to do what he did and that’s why I was prepared for it.
We walked over to an all night eatery and a bite to eat, before we went back with Jon the Brother who we had called to join us, for some well deserved sleep.