His name was Nordin.

Not Nordin Mohammed Top?

He laughs. I’m glad he’s got a sense of humor.

He’s the maintenance man at the swimming pool.

‘Can rent shorts and goggles,’ he says.

Will I need to rent a locker for my valuables?

‘Good people here,’ he says, ‘nothing disappears.’

That was about 2 pm when the pool open again after the lunch break.

I was sussing out a place to lose a few extra pounds.

This walking business was getting repetitive, I needed to break it up.

I pulled out my Gree cigarettes and offered him one and told him about my thug life stories from Pontiniak.

‘I said I’m not a terrorist, ‘but a tourist.’

That shut the thugs up who thought I was trying to fleece down a Chinese shop.

Nordeen liked that one. So I repeated the line again.

‘I’m not a terrorist, I’m a tourist.’

I had to go along with the terrorist theme.

Nordin Mohammed Top was the bomb maker from Johor Baru.

He knew that.

Malaysians are famous for all the wrong reasons, I said.

‘I’m a Sarawakian,’ he says.

Different story then, you are exempt from all the shit that goes on in West Malaysia.

And he truly was.

I’ll be back, I say. Nordin had to get back to work, he had water testing to do and general monitoring of the pool grounds.

I had laid the groundwork. Julia, the Chinese cashier suggested I look for double X L  swimming trunks. I love their honesty.

I’ll be back, I tell her.

I was on a mission, find a pair of swimming trunks. It would take me most of the day but eventually, I’d just rent a pair from the lifeguard.

It would be easier that way, right?

Renting trunks from a lifeguard. I was liking this. Only in Sarawak, I thought as I legged it back out into the tropical heat on my mission. I was going to give Uber, Grab a miss. I’d walk to the two shopping malls that were nearby.

I’m sure I’d be meeting and greeting a lot of people along the way. That’s the staple of my profession. Stories must come from somewhere, right?



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