In lecture last week, we talked about our “sense of place,” particularly in relation to Kuala Lumpur, and how this sense only tends to build with time. I was lucky enough to have experienced this in KL, even though we were only there for four days. Every night after the IFTA had ended, I wandered down to the lobby of the Dorrset Hotel. At first, I just enjoyed the live entertainment, a Malaysian band called Life Line. They consisted of two beautiful Malaysian women, and a Philippino guy. Their voices were phenomenal and their stage presence was just as good. I was very surprised when I found out that they are actually under contract with the hotel and not a more well-known band. Anyways, I digress because it was not just abut Life Line, but it was the entire lobby that kept bringing me back. It’s like they say in Cheers, sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name.
The bartenders were so animated, and the more time I spent there, the more I started to learn their names and become familiar with their personalities. Take Sue for example. She waited on us the first night, and although she was busy at times on subsequent nights, she always made an effort to ask us about our day. She even recommended some awesome night clubs in KL because the girls wanted to dance. Sue also took a liking to this one younger German guy who stopped by every night around 10:30, usually after Life line’s second set. At first, they just flirted. He tried to show off by juggling a bottle. And then she tried to show off my juggling a bottle (not very well I might add). Finally, on the last night I was there, he pulled up a seat at the bar right next to her (he usually sat in the lounge area) and then they went out together after closing time.
John and Phillip were also awesome, two business colleagues. John had the hots for Stephanie, another one of the bartenders. Therefore, every time he went up to sing Karaoke, he would dedicate every song to Stephanie. I don’t think anything came out of that though. But it was kind of cool to see everything that you normally wouldn’t notice hanging it there just one night. The bartenders seemed to get a lot more comfortable by the end of the night because they would sing along with the band, dance with one another, and even an occasional water fight. They definitely all seem very close and it reminded me of where I work at back home. I was kind of sad to leave KL because I new I was going to miss “the lobby” a lot. And I did, because the lobby in Penang didn’t come close. I decided to go down the first day just for comparison purposes and the contracted live band sang sappy love songs all night, the bartenders were boring, and the audience was thin and transient.
Luckily, I got Life Line’s email address and they’re going to send me a CD. They were actually very flattered because apparently they don’t think they’re that good. If only they could fly out to LA. But hey, I guess they’re content for now. They get to enjoy the stability and do what they love. Well, Joanne does anyways – she’s been singing since she was little and she has to be about 23 or 24 now. Not too sure about the other girl. However, the guy from the Philippines says yes he does enjoy playing on the band, but it’s mainly to send a check back to his family, as his true passions lie in cock fighting. Go figure. Anyway, they’re all awesome people and I feel privileged to meet them. It really is true that the more time you spend in a place, the more you learn about it. I kind of want to go home and rent The Terminal now!