Last Thursday we made a foray to Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown to re-map a food walk**. It felt like our first visit in years.
In some respects we've been away from KL. Beginning in late 2009 we started a routine of a month here, a month away, a month here, a month away. And so on. Last year was Dave's first freelancing full-time and right off the bat we pretty much took any job we could get. Wherever, whenever. A week in KL, 4 days somewhere else, home for a week, away for two more. And so on.
By the end of 2009 we were exhausted. We figured we could boost our energy and productivity levels (and just generally get more out of traveling for work) if we took fewer, longer trips. A month away to work, a month here to write (and sort and label photos). That's pretty much what we did from January until we returned from Turkey in early July.
But that routine has its downsides too. When we were here we were working, only working. Hard to justify taking a day to tool around KL discovering new spots or revisiting our old when we had all that writing and sorting and labeling to do.
After Turkey we thought, let's just stop with the traveling for a wee bit. We're now into our longest stretch in Malaysia since the big change: 8 weeks. For the moment, other than some time in Sichuan in mid-September, we have no ex-Malaysia travel on the docket. We have some interesting editorial work lined up, but it's all in-country. And in early October we'll begin work on a project in Penang that will see us bouncing back and forth between George Town and KL for four or five months. (More on that to come.)
For the foreseeable future (well, for the next few months, at least) we'll mostly be here. And that's a nice thought.
We're still figuring out how to best arrange this life that we chose 20 months ago. What works and what doesn't. What's tiring and what isn't. What's rewarding and what's not. What keeps us inspired and gets the creative juices flowing (Travel), and what's just a big old pain in the *ss (Travel).
So, Chinatown. We went back this afternoon to do a double-check on opening hours and off days for a few stalls, and made a diversion to the steamed bao (bun) stall that we featured 4 1/2 years ago (!) ago in this KL Chinatown-focused post.
They're still there (20 years, or something along those lines). And they recognized us, even though it was probably our first char siew bao in 18 or more months. It's still a darned good bun: smoky, with chewy nubs of pork, not drowning in char siew sauce, and the sort of dough we like -- China-style (wheaty and substantial) rather than Hong Kong-style (super white and fluffy).
We'll be back. And it won't be in another 18 months, either.
Bao stall, mouth of an alley of Jalan Sultan between Jalan Hang Lekir and Jalan Hang Jebat, 230-530pm. Also: big bao (pork, chicken, hard-boiled egg) and dim sum.
**EatingAsia food walks in Kuala Lumpur and sometimes, George Town (Penang). Email us for details.