“You’re supposed to be a vegetarian,” Amy said as I picked up the splayed frog using the stick it had just been barbecued on.
Hannah winced as I bit down on the caramelised brown flesh. Oil and juices dribble down my chin.
“Tastes like chicken and fish,” I mumble going in for more.
“No it doesn’t,” Hannah is quick to correct as she attacks her skewer of mystery meatballs.
A night on the tiles
The previous day we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian capital and gateway to South East Asia.
We’re joined for the next month or so by the truly excellent Amy Turner, a pal of ours from London who fancied an Asian adventure.
We’re only in town 2 nights before we make our way north towards Thailand. We plan to get loose.
Our airbnb is in the heart of Bukit Bintang, a central hotspot popular with travellers. The air is charged with electricity and excitement and the buildings rise high all neon adverts of modernity.
After spending an afternoon dodging monkeys at the stunning Batu Caves our night begins as most tend to; sipping gin and tonics whilst larking around in the rooftop pool on the 27th floor.
The traffic far below rages on but we have no worries as the sun sets behind the Petronas Towers and the lights of the city begin to illuminate the space around us.
At 9pm we’re nicely lubricated as we leave the apartment building. Our first destination is a little jazz club called No Black Ties about 20 mins walk away.
The streets are alive with giddy tourists, local hawkers and the sweet smell of Asian street food. We walk through the buzzing Jalan Alur just as its finding its stride.
Rows of skewered fish, pork, chicken and frogs marinated in sweet spicy sauce await the smouldering bbq’s. Colourful dim sum rests in woven nests. People crowd round tables of rice, noodles and beer. A man resting on crutches mimes to a karaoke machine.
We’ll be back. After the music.
The bar is hidden away from the main strip and looks quiet from the outside. As the doors open the familiar wail of a saxophone greets us and groups of friends and lovers tap their tables along to the rhythm.
We order cocktails and smile at each other as the 6 musicians on stage take turns in showcasing their skills, and they all have skills.
Soon the main act joins them on stage. A soul singer from west London mesmerises us with her numbers. Her long legs command the stage and her strong vocals lead the harmonies. The room sways and swells.
We move on wanting to take in more of the night. After curing our desire for street food we’re on Chagkat amongst the dirtier bars. Arsenal play on screens hanging over the drinks offers. Shot glasses slam on tables.
We end up in a faceless club. The entry price and mirrored walls aren’t the only similarities to an Oceana. After claiming our free, watery drinks we’re on the dance floor pulling strange shapes to Beyone and Missy Elliot.
Hannah beams in her sleek, red party dress. This is the first time she’s had a chance to show it off and she owns the floor.
We don’t stay long. Our “bust a move box” is ticked and we hit the streets again.
We pick up some cold Asahis and more street food on the corner of a 7/11. A rusty looking band is playing sketchy blues and the round checkout girl from the shop occasionally nips out to join them and stretch her lungs.
Me and Hannah twist on the pavement whilst Amy chats to a guy from Estonia. The band are fun and let us join in on improvised backing vocals.
The Estonian guy gets odd expressing his hatred for Asia and Asians. Strange place to come travelling. Our cue to leave.
The night ends at 4am back at the airbnb. More gin accompanies us as we diss each other in a rap battle. Hannah claims a squeaky flip-flopped, justified victory.
The next day we make our way to the main bus terminal for a 4 hour journey to the hills. Our heads are deservedly sore but through our dark sunglasses our eyes are happy as we think about the fun we had in KL.