I wonder why everyone is staring at my tracksuit pants. The seller from Johor said I’d get lots of attention with this particular pair of tracksuit pants with the Malaysian flag on it. Luckily there’s no batik spat between the two Malay countries, or I’d be mincemeat for the next satay dish.
The fish swim in pond in a grotto. At night time, the chandelier is lit up giving Paradise Hotel a somber yet cheerful and warm feel. The grandfather clock at the entrance is from another age and a Malaysian couple from Johor are in town for the kite competition.
Norman,who is very fond my tracksuit pants, adds me on Facebook and says I’m always welcome to stay at his house in Johor. Then his wife takes a few snapshots of me which Norman wants to upload for his friends in Johor to see.
Let me see, I say, as I take his phone. “I look fat,” I said, being the excuse to delete them. “But we are both wearing the same color T-shirts,” he said. After that, there was no more invitations. It’s one way of avoiding being tagged. Gone are the days of a hand shake and be on your way. These days every moment, even a chance encounter, is filed and collated on Facebook.
I’m not sure if I got high blood pressure. Even a small walk to the corner shop gets me dripping in sweat. Staying smack bang on the equator might have something to do with that.
A bored ojek driver on the hustle caught the attention of the drenched foreigner with his Malay tracksuit pants outside the Avocado Cafe. He was wearing a pink shirt and had the most sarcastic tone in his voice. He was funny personified and worth a video shoot. “We have good coffee and good food,” he repeated, after I asked him what special dishes they had at the cafe.
After three times filming him, he was getting more pissed off. Even the motorbike boy had to hold him back while at the same time hold back a burst of laugher. I told him in Indonesian that I didn’t understand him. “Ok, Ok” he said as he told me to fuck off. He took his hand away from his pocket. Was that a gun in his pocket or was he pleased to see me?
I don’t think I’ll be visiting be the Avocado Cafe again.
It’ pouring outside with forecast for more rain tomorrow. Another incentive to stay inside and avoid those chatty ojek drivers. One in a hundred is a psychopath and I met him.
Tomorrow I’m spending some quality time in the hotel. I’ll also feed the fish in the foyer, listen to tunes , and order tee tarek from Ibu. She’s the owner of the in-house warung and makes about 2 million Rupiah a month.
At least I know she’s not going to pull a gun on me.
The next morning, the most angelic voice from the mosque woke me up. It was haunting and not of this world. It penetrated the core of my existence with untold promises.
I wasn’t fooled and went back to sleep.