This morning I rolled out of bed like a crippled ant, stumbled across the room and opened the bedroom window, the bustle of the city can be heard off in the distance and by the feel of it, it’s going to be a hot October day, maybe 95 degrees, but I’m excited because today I’m going to visit the King of Malaysia, tomorrow night I get to go to yet another Chinese Wedding dinner, unlike my first fiascos (Which you can read about it here) this one was a little more approachable, but first a haircut, got to look presentable for the King.
Finding a barber, a good one, is a personal experience. I don’t mean hairstylist, I mean a man’s barber, the guy who knows your head, a guy that doesn’t ask every time you walk in how you want it cut and manicure your “amber waves of grain” just the way you like, well maybe “amber waves of gray”, anyway I’ve been going to this guy Kedai for about a year now, we say very few words, we smile at each other and do a lot of head nodding. His price? 15 ringgit or in today’s conversion rate $4.93 for a cut, facial hair trimming and head massage. I always give him 20 ringgit and he is very thankful.
Today I arrive just as Kedai is opening his small two-chair shop. Standing in the doorway, hands clasped together, Kedai mumbles a prayer out into the open street. I wait just outside his peripheral and when he’s done he looks up and smiles. He motions me in, nods and points to the tattered old chair held together with duck-tape. The tools of his trade are scissors, comb and a straight razor nothing more, a true barber.
Me and Kedai
On to visit the King … Well the King was not taking visitors today, he is a busy man you know, but I did see his palaces. The first palace was built in 1928 as a home for a wealthy Chinese businessman. In 1950 the Monarchy took over the property and in 2011 moved into a new palace. The old palace has been turned into a museum of sorts with some clothing, some fez’s, the Royal Seal, and the throne. Everyone wants a picture in front of the throne.
In 2011 the king moved out of this grand palace and is now occupying his new digs. You can’t go inside but thousands of tourist still flock to see the gate and guards on horseback.
One last view that few people get to see, notice the apartment building in the background, my bedroom window is up there overlooking this place.
The next night, all clean and shiny, we indulge in a very nice dinner of Pomfret fish, sort of an egg-drop soup, and squid salad. Had to take these with my phone camera so not the best quality. So even if the King wouldn’t see me it was still a great weekend exploring his estates.