Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The weekend had rolled around and it was one of my last nights in Kuala Lumpur (or KL as they call it). It had been a long time since I had a night out in the city. I suppose one of the reasons was because I haven’t been in a real city in awhile.
So a few of us from the hostel decided to head into the city centre. We didn’t have a real gameplan. We wanted to check out the nightlife and have some drinks at the bar. If the scene was good, maybe we’d get to dance a little. And so we walked. We walked until we ran out of bars on one particular street. The two guys I was with didn’t seem to have much preference so I decided to choose the place that seemed the busiest. The music was going strong and the crowd seemed younger. We forked over the weekend cover, which fortunately includes a drink.
And so we were in. And that’s when I realized something was amiss. I probably would’ve noticed it if I had looked more carefully. But I was tired of walking and just wanted to get in somewhere. What did I notice? I noticed a ton of beautiful women. But this wasn’t typical. With all the women in the bar (far outnumbering the men), the women were all standing around. Standing around, not really enjoying the music or a drink… It appeared they were standing around waiting for men to approach them. This probably wouldn’t have been so unusual had it not been for their body language. A bit stiff and disinterested.
The first thought that ran through my head was that we had just walked into a hooker bar. We went to get our free drinks and some of the girls smiled at us. One girl, who looked like she should be in college, gave me a slight smile and a look that said “What is someone like you doing here?” The look fit my suspicions. Looking around, the average age of the men were somewhere between their late 30’s to 40’s. I hate to enforce stereotypes, but they were mostly middle-aged Caucasian males.
As we drank our beers, we greeted a gentlemen who came to get a drink. He was coming here for some business before heading to Hong Kong in a week. I wanted to confirm my hunch. I told him that we were just backpackers traveling through and we wanted to know how this place was since we didn’t know the city well. It was the most casual way I could put it. His reply didn’t surprise me at this point. He let us know that 95% of the girls here were hookers looking for work. You could negotiate anywhere from $80-130 to do whatever you want with them for the night. Not only that, this was the #1 place in KL to find a girl – well that kind of girl. He might have even said Asia but I can’t remember. If it was, I wouldn’t be surprised. Many of the girls did not fit the typical look of an escort. They were beautiful and many came off pretty classy in their look.
This was my first encounter with a place of this sort. Of course it had to be the first place I choose… on the first night out in ages… But of course we didn’t let it spoil our night. One of my hostel mates (a muscular bald Swedish man) was approached numerous times including some aggressive grabbing in certain areas. He was the most nervous and spent most of the time facing the bar to avoid attention. I had a good time talking to the business man at the bar. He told us about his business and shared some interesting stories. I learned random things like Hong Kong’s “secret” party areas and bit more about KL.
We drank for a few hours and our business friend left us (and I couldn’t find him again) before leaving in a pretty content state. No girls approached me. Not surprising because I also tried to avoid eye contact and walk to the bathroom by looking at the floor. Something about it makes me nervous even if we were to just talk. But that’s just me being paranoid.
It was not the best party night but definitely a night in KL that I wasn’t going to forget.