"Every era puts invisible shackles on those who have lived through it, and I can only dance in my chains."
-- Liu Cixin, The Three-Body Problem
a couple weeks ago Ken & i went to Pudu, partly because i've had this revelation; there are countless options here when the Chinese New Year creeps up on us - snacks, lanterns, ornaments, tablewares -- stuff i'd never expect to find in this part of KL. Pudu to me was where the central bus station used to be when i was in my college years, where I used to travel to from Kuantan for my short stint in KL before flying back to my hometown for the holidays. back then, it seemed suffocating enough for me to want to get the hell out of the bus station asap, let alone exploring the nearby area - that was out of the question. i've never had any reason to explore.
fast-forward years later, here we were, and I saw it clearly for the first time. within a few minutes out of the car there was one thing i know - Pudu is raw. unpretentious. here, i could imagine how Kuala Lumpur would've looked like it its early years, the old buildings, the wet market, the people. so much history cramped into a buzzing street of local vendors, old kopitiams, temples. Pudu is original. as we walked Ken elaborately told me how it's always looked the same over the passing years. the smell, the sights, the people. how he's visited with his mother and how some things here are still great, and some aren't.
we also walked through a walkway lined with aquariums and live fish vendors. it was lovely, i went a little excited over the gold fishes and koi swimming in groups. i got a little obsessed with the koi fishes, as always!
we walked further, probably for 5-10 minutes and we finally got to our destination - the snacks area! there are a couple shops selling tons, yes, tons, of snacks and Chinese New Year delicacies. we could buy our favorite munchies in huge packets! we did, heh.
the photo above makes me happy. this particular shop was filled with my favorite childhood snacks. i loved those bubble gums in white/blue packaging, and i found other treats that i enjoyed almost every day back then, after school. I also got myself a box of chocolate-filled Apollo. i couldn't say no to those. so surprised that these are still in production but not available in supermarkets - do kids these days have any happy treats at all, i wonder??
we stopped by some kitchenware stores and walked away without buying anything. there were so many i couldn't choose yet! we'd surely go again on our next visit and buy some of these little treasures.
Pudu also has the largest wet market in KL and we walked past its meat section on our way back to the car. the smell was unbearable. the hot afternoon did such a great job elevating my sense of smell - that few minutes, i smelled everything that i could cry, ha! i was terrified of my stupid migraine attacks. always triggered by all kinds of smell. but like i said, Pudu is raw and it isn't ashamed.
that aside - this place has its own oldtown charm. i love the people, it has more local vendors compared to the Petaling Street, while Pudu has suffered in its shadows for years - and i think that's unfair. i'm glad we went, and i would go again, but we'll take a different route, hopefully away from the meat/fish market area on a really hot day! if you're not local and visiting - give Pudu a go. you'll see a different, curious face of KL and perhaps you'll talk to a local with tales of tragedies, ghost stories and such. who knows.