"It's like the city has no soul."
This is what a German friend of mine disappointingly wrote to me a few days into staying in Kuala Lumpur. I've always wondered what he meant. Were the city lights not elating enough? Are the people not welcoming? Was there no bustling excitement that, at any given time, a funny fruit would just fall out of nowhere into your unsuspecting open palm? In Manila there's so much life, he tells me. I wondered even more.
Many months later I found myself in a taxi ride wheeling at 100 kilometers an hour approaching this rumored soulless city. It was night time, and as we drove over a wide elevated part of the expressway, KL welcomed me with a wonderful parade of lights. A vast sea of stars from illuminated buildings stretched ahead of me, towered over by the spectacular sight that is the Petronas Towers. I know I haven't seen much, but at that moment I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. My two friends were asleep; the driver fixated silently on the road. I felt like the only person existing. I took it all in. Or it took all of me.