Arriving into Kuala Lumpur makes my skin sticky as the climate can only de described as hot and polluted compared to the high elevation fresh air we basked in while exploring the Cameron Highlands the previous few days. We managed to snag a hitch the entire 200 kilometers in a Mercedes, by a private driver who had conveniently just dropped off his client and was enroute back to the city, a luxurious few hours later we felt triumphant as we waved our free private driver goodbye and stepped into the chaos of the city. For as many skyscrapers and tons of cement overwhelmed the city, there are significant green spaces sprinkled delicately between the high-rises. The day is spent winding our way around the metro and Frogger(ing) across the huge lanes of motorbike dominated space. The Petronas Towers remain the tallest set of twin towers in the world at 452m (1,483ft.) but are not cheap to ascend at 80 ringgits an elevator ride. Personally I would prefer to spend the money on food rather than a view of other skyscrapers, from a skyscraper. We perused the parks of the city until it was time to meet Omar our CouchSurfing host in Little India. Luckily for us the celebration of harvest is on, it is Pongal Festival in Little India. Loud music, shiny lights, beautiful costumes and plenty of street food takes over the closed down streets. We meet up for dinner and opt for roti canai (a popular Indian flatbread accompanied by curry) for 1.50 ringgit/piece, only .50¢! Fully satisfied we weaseled our way into the front of the crowd for an unobstructed view of the performance. Sitting on the curb unsuspectingly droning out the gibberish that my ears can't comprehend alongside 300+ Indians that are fluent in Hindi and can understand. The beautiful woman MC locks eyes with mine and I instantly perceive the doom of what is about to happen next. She strides over to me and asks me if I can dance. I can feel the color in my face change although I could not know if I turned white or red, maybe both; but it is a new year and there is no time like the present, I agree and allow her to lead me up onto the stage under the bright lights in my short skirted shoulder accentuating Westerner style dress. Two other ladies (in floor length traditional gowns) and three men are brought up alongside me, after after a through explanation in a language I don't understand the male host of the show asks me "Melissa, are you ready." I politely pass off the first turn to the gentleman on my right, (I am already dressed like a fool, I should at least get to watch someone who could understand the instructions given in Hindi and figure out the drill by watching) and they save me for last. By the time they call my name again I have at least realized out that, no they are not teaching us a dance I simply have to make one up on the spot to random music chosen for me, while holding a large ceramic pot and a bundle of sugar cane, is that all!? Okay... pushing my fear and embarrassment aside I step out, my music begins; a slow awkward traditional Indian beat, difficult for me to find a rhythm to. Swirling my pot and swinging my cane I focus mostly on keeping my skirt held down so the dozens of locals filming me on their camera phones do not get an extra show due to the blowing fans on the stage. Finally it is over and I am allowed to step back into line with everybody else *sigh of relief*! Each of us contestants are called up for an applause meter on our dance and in the end I was deemed the winner claiming my bag of goodies and a 170 ringgit gift certificate to a local salon, face still flushed I clambered back down into the audience where seemingly all of Little India hoots and hollers everytime they see me for the rest of the night.
Cheapest beer in the city, found near Chinatown