Situated in a mostly-empty apartment building atop what must be the highest hill in Lumut, I had a great view of the town and the surrounding woods and water
. Several times a day, chanting from a loudspeaker at the local mosque would accompany a nice sea breeze that blew through the apartment. The weather was also fantastic, hot and sunny during the day, and if I was lucky, the occasional lightning storm at night that I could watch from my balcony. Most days I would go for a swim, then walk into town to the local internet café, get a bite to eat at a cheap little Indian or Chinese restaurant, and finally head home to spend the remainder of my day reading and writing. Sometimes on my walks I would come across monkeys or frighteningly big monitor lizards.
I was actually quite productive during my stay in Lumut, finishing a couple of books I'd been reading and completing an article on Chinese labor issues
that I'd started writing back in Hong Kong. It was also a time for me to sort a few personal things out that'd been gnawing at me for awhile, and to prepare for my return trip to India. And honestly, a little aloneness and some long, brooding walks were just what the doctor ordered. When I left Lumut at the end of February, I felt healthy, centered, and ready to jump onboard a massive freighter boat and make my way across the Indian Ocean.
Well, not really a whole lot to report from the sleepy backwater of Lumut. After corresponding with my prospective landlord, Mrs. Kan, over email a bit first, I caught a bus down from KL one Sunday afternoon to check the place out. The Kans, who live in nearby Ipoh (more on them later), had purchased the apartment many years back as a weekend getaway and because it "has good feng shui," according to Mrs. Kan. Since the kids have gotten older however, they never really make it down much anymore and the place mostly sits empty. Though Mrs. Kan was hoping to eventually rent out the entire three-bedroom apartment, I was her only taker to-date, so I got to stay in probably the nicest apartment I've ever lived in, all to myself, for less than I would have spent in a KL roach motel.