IMPERFECT HARMONY (A Malayasian Journal, I)


In the sky, between RP and Sabah

We’re hovering above twin rainbows, one lighter than the other. Soft clouds cradle curving sweeps of color.

I’ve seen double arcs from the ground, but I’ve never peered at them from above. I jiggle a bit, swing my legs (that never touch the floor) begin to croon that childhood ditty: “Red and yellow and green and white; purple and orange and blue. I can see a rainbow, see a rainbow…”

“Is there one?” The gap-toothed, bespectacled man grins and cranes his neck as close to the window without invading my space. There’s enough legroom so I lean back.

Careful guy. He shoves up reading glasses, wedges a finger to mark the pages of his Raymond Carver book, grabs hold of the seat in front and the left armrest. His corduroy jacket slides inches from my face. I sniff Old Spice, dad’s favorite scent.

He knows the old tune, too, but hums it off-key. “I’ve never seen them this way!” He sits back, says thank you and introduces himself as Jake, a businessman from Kansas.

I am tempted to ask about tornadoes and Dorothy and Toto. Instead, I choose a more Oriental reference and muse whether rainbows would feel as silky as they look. Jake rubs his nose and tries to smile.

“Death is like a silk scarf, too.”

truly_asiaThat’s probably a quirky way to start a series of travel vignettes about Malaysia. But stream of consciousness is an apt method for a first visit that was very much hit-and-miss, with one important assignment and the rest left to the fates.

I don’t do guidebook travelogues so don’t expect Lists and all that. If you want impressions, however, and a smattering of people I meet, then read the rest on my travel blog, Here’s the link to the first part of the series.

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