Saturday, February 26

Good Morning, Bukit Bintang

I had to write: the smell of the mess in my head was driving me crazy; and the voices were broadcasting their weekend song on every channel on every other frequency, up to the point where I couldn't even think.

So you see, I had to write.

I woke up at 730 am in a hotel room somewhere on Jalan Bukit Bintang. Alone, yes, but not clutching the sweat-soaked sheets (simply because they weren't) not because some unnameable horror from my past decided to run its spiky little nails on my chest, but because it was morning.

Faintly, I heard the cars and the bustle somewhere downstairs. I dragged my half naked arse (who cares when you're in an anonymous hotel room in an anonymous hotel?) to the window and cleared a spot on the foggy mass of grey.

It struck me then: I remembered thinking fuck, it's cold, and then I also remembered that I set the thermostat to 15 degrees before I got into bed, and that Pirates of the Caribbean is still a bloody good flick. I saw that everything else was grey - the sky, the rooftop of the buildings next to me (where I could swear I saw some action going on last night), the road - and the first thing I could coherently think of was

good morning, Bukit Bintang.

I have a secret.

I do this, sometimes; when I can't take the heat, or the noise, or the voices. I check in somewhere, spend the night and check out. Usually I bring my Standard Travel Kit: toiletries, a change of clothes, books, my Xbox, some protection (hell you never know). I love hotels, you know? They're like single serve oases of quiet (or noise, depending on which you prefer but mostly the former) where the sheets are clean and smell nice, you always get hot showers and no one really makes any noise if you make a mess.

Lovely place, hotels. This particular one held some interesting memories for me. Some years ago I walked in slightly younger, bubbling with excitement and infinitely optimistic.

It's amazing what a change in the seasons does to you.

Last night I took a walk; I needed to soak in the sounds and smells. If there's one thing about Jalan Bukit Bintang on a Friday night, it's that you can never really be sure of what you'll see, hear or do eventually. Like Barbossa in that Pirates movie I knew I was thirsty for something - something that even my escapes like this one may not satisfy for long. So I breathed. I breathed in the stale stench of the sewers, the greasy aroma of deep fried something (duck? chicken? pork?), beer, sweat-soaked perfume, the smell of conversations (I love you, okay or what the fuck? or something else in Mandarin I couldn't really tell what at the DVD shop downstairs) and the thousand other things that at any moment could mean the world and at the same time mean absofuckinglutely nothing at all.

I took a bite of out of KL last night: just a little one, but I'm sure she won't mind.


This morning as I started my car, Robbie Williams came on the MP3 playlist, singing a cover of Ella Fitzgerald's One For My Baby. You know, I couldn't think of a single track that would have suited the past 24 hours any better. Morning jazz - I wonder what I'll think of next.

I could tell you a lot, but it's not
In a gentleman's code
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

Robbie Williams, One For My Baby, Late Night Moods aka Jazz In The City

Have a good one, folks.