Just RM8.0 away via teksi from our hotel is Chow Kit where the overwhelming modern urban KL transitions to a more subtle setting. This area is just the ordinary wet market where cheap produce and meat are sold and this is where Filipinos like us will surely find ingredients to cook our favorite adobo—sorry, except for pork.
What makes this place great is that most of the people here are accommodating and easy to deal with. In fact, one market vendor even gave us free chicken asses, or tongking (it is how it sounds to me), probably after noticing my reaction when it was separated together with the head from the poultry we bought—they explained that both are actually sold separately and usually cooked as kebab. (I’m ilonggo so I love this chicken’s rear part. Back home we call it isol. Yummy!)
We hurried home right after buying all the ingredients that we need and after grabbing the opportunity to buy a box of cheap mineral water—like beer, it is expensive in the city proper. It’s time for our first home-cooked meal and time to exploit our lovely kitchen in our hotel room.
The hearty lunch of fried fish, adobo and ampalaya with coconut milk prepared by the group, except me, made us lethargic and left us nothing to do but to monkey around. It was also the best time to open the veranda’s door and let the smell of fried fish out—they forgot to turn the oven’s exhaust hood on. ti abi.
We discovered that just outside our room’s balcony is a rich monkey habitat. We spent almost several hours just observing them and at some point offered banana slices which they eagerly retrieved and ate. They’re not alone though in these trees and foliage. There were also squirrels and some endemic birds gliding back and forth along the branches.
By nighttime, we decided to go back to Petaling Street. The decision was worth it. Chinatown was busier than it was in the morning and more vibrant and colorful as well. The red rounded Chinese lanterns dominating the area and the neon signs glowing with Chinese characters made me feel like a host of a famous travel channel or in a scene of an adventure movie.
The sight of beer drinkers (mostly expats) in front of the restaurants added the sense of delight and longing. I kept reminding myself though that beer is expensive but later grabbed my beers from the nearest 7-11 store. My shopping-addicted companions finished with their haggling just in time for them to accompany me to buy a 1GB Sony memory stick at a mall before it closes. We’ll need the extra memory size tomorrow.