“Is this your first time here?” asks an Indian lady. I didn’t get a chance to tell her no.
“Be very careful. They hunt in packs here. Don’t expect the police to come. You can’t walk down the street without being asked if you want sex every three meters. It’s not like Singapore. You can walk outside at 3 in the morning and it’s safe. I suggest you quickly eat then go back to your hotel. It’s safe in the day time. Here is really dangerous.”
She’s waiting to get her PR in Singapore which has been rejected once. “I’m married to an illusionist. I was not allowed back in the country since a month ago. You can only stay three months then must return to Malaysia for a month before returning.” She just got knocked back on her last attempt a week ago. “They said I must wait until 15 of January.”
She has a little room in Singapore. “It costs me S$ 400 a month. I can only afford to live in a hotel for two days so its better I take an apartment. ” I tell her I’ve been here before and know the ways of Brickfield in Kuala Lumper. “Oh, so you know.” She then proceeds to tell me the prices of the girls inside the Chinese restaurant. I guess she’s in local mode now.
I checked in for another massage with Rahim the Butcher. Surprisingly he was being gentle and the pain factor was tolerable. “No pain because your muscles aren’t as knotted as the first two treatments.” I tell him about my meeting with Richard the Drunk who told me I stunk worse than his dog. “Just dial 999, the police will know your location from the call. Tell them three Indians are disturbing you. That should send out a message not to fuck with tourists.” I told him that when I first met him, he wanted to know what hotel I was staying at. “Just tell him you are staying at the Hong Kong.” He laughs and so do I. That’s the Chinese run hotel that doesn’t allow Indians.
It’s one more lime juice in the Food Hall before I call it a night. It’s dead quiet and the Indonesia girls are approachable and preparing food out the back. Koon the Chinese night manager went home an hour ago, totally piddled.
I go to the Chinese restaurant next door and grab some wan ton noodles. The Chinese cook, who I call Mr. Radio, because he’s got a radio on high volume inside his apron, serves me up a wonderful and cheap soup. Inside the Chinese restaurant, five comely girls sitting around the table all say they are ‘baik’ after I ask ‘Apa Kabar?’ They have just melted with my passable Indonesian. I’m dreaming again. Maybe the close proximity to beauty has made me all gooey and romantic inside. The Chinese mamasan quotes me in Malay 150 Ringgit. Better than the 200 I was quoted last time by her husband. I tell her I’ll think about it, and hit my local for one more cup of tea.
I’m bitching with the local Malay taxi drivers the high Singapore driven prices of the whores. “Say hello to a local,” says one driver, who is the joker. “You might have a better chance. But if you get committed, you will have to have a bit of your penis cut off.”
Now they are joking about the lady boys, saying there are many Thais around the corner. “Only 50 ringgit for one shot,” informs the joker.
It’s been another long night in Grunge Town. “Johor, never a night the same,” could be a great slogan for an advertising drive. My chain of thought is put on hold as a well built tom boy starts kissing me on my cheeks outside my hotel. I feel her hand go into my pocket. I grab my smoke inhaler before she can take it. Luckily I carry my wallet in my bag at all times. Everyone in Johor wear their bags. “Never keep anything lose,” said the Indian lady I met earlier on. “Otherwise they’ll steal it.” She says passports sell for S$300 on the black market.
She seems to know more than she should know. I’m getting a clearer picture of why her PR was denied in Singapore.
You can never be too cautious in Grunge Town.