After several days of haggling and waiting, we finally moved into our new apartment last night. It’s pretty nice as far as these things go. First off, the rent is $470 a month. That alone is enough to make us smile. More importantly, $470 a month goes a lot further in KL than it does in New Haven, or even in Jakarta for that matter. In addition to the big bedrooms and bathrooms that we mentioned in our earlier post, we also have a washer and a dryer in the apartment. That is so nice. That means we don’t have to dry out clothes outside in the smog, thereby getting them dirty again.
We have also developed a new relationship with the mall. We don’t really like malls that much in the United States. Yes, they are convenient, but there’s something icky about the unrestrained display of consumerism, in our minds. It has all the negative connotations of tract housing in the suburbs–think "Edward Scissorhands." We have already mentioned that we spend a lot of time at malls here because they are hugely popular in both Indonesia and Malaysia. Well, our latest find has been a gigantic health club running a special promotion this week, meaning that we have bought a six month membership for two for under $600. Seems pretty steep when you put it in those terms, but given that we go every day, it’s worth every penny. Plus, it’s usually pretty empty, meaning that we get to have all the machines that we want, and the machines are of better quality than anything we’ve ever experienced at home. We’re going to be spoiled.
Last night we went shopping at the local pasar malam, or night market, that gets set up near our apartment every Monday and Friday night. The quality of the produce was really high, enough so that we thought it looked better than the store. The quality of the meat and fish was pretty low, so we skipped that. We also tried all sorts of food from the stands. First we had sate ayam, delicious chicken satay with peanut sauce. Then we had apam balik, which is some sort of thin fried pancake, folded like a taco and filled with some sugar and something that tasted like durian, and was delicious. We concluded with murtabak ayam, a doughy Indian-inspired bread fried on a griddle and filled with ground chicken, onions, and other tasty bits. We could do this every day, but fortunately it’s not possible except for Mondays and Fridays. There were literally dozens of other foods to try, and we’ll be going back to try them.