Only in Malaysia

I’ll categorize this night as “Only in Malaysia.”

I took my wife out for dinner tonight as is often our Friday night routine. We went to a small Italian restaurant which we occasionally go to. The parking lot is in a small plaza just up the road from the restaurant. As I was ready to turn left into the plaza, I noticed that in the middle of the road was a massive shelter-on-wheels which is used as part of the daily night market. I brought the car to a stop, but two Indians waved me through. Yes, actually waved me through the narrow metal shelter with a tin roof and shaky metal sides, sitting on large rotating wheels. It was narrow, but I knew I could make it, so I drove through the make-shift tunnel, thinking that I can’t imagine any other country in the world which would have something like this.

After that, we pulled into the parking lot and two different Indians approached and said “two ringgit” for parking. Well, I’ve parked in that lot many times over the years and I’ve never paid a cent for parking. I knew the guys were there to make some money, so I looked at them and told them that I’ve never paid to park here before. They shook their head a little and replied “one ringgit.” I asked under what authority were they collecting money? They brushed that off like they didn’t understand. I then asked them if I they had a receipt to give me, which they didn’t. They knew that I knew that this was a scam. That was enough for me. I gave them one ringgit just so I didn’t come out of the restaurant and have a flat tire. I didn’t, so I guess it was worth it.

My third “only in Malaysia” moment happened when we walked into the restaurant. No one was at the door to greet me. No one was in the dining hall either. We walked further in, and I noticed that there was one person behind the bar with his head down buried in the wood. I yelled, “hello,” which suddenly woke up the restaurant. Workers crept out of walls, and the place quickly came to life. We had a great meal and even a 10% discount.

All and all a night which could (possibly) only happen in Malaysia. Always an enjoyable time!

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