It's a heaving mass of people, sticky, noisy and crowded carbon monoxide fumes compete with fried food smells to get your attention and all the while, the ringing magpie cries of ticket touts assail your eardrums... ahh the joys of Pudu, KL's main bus (coach) terminal.
People from all walks of life jostle as I frantically try to keep up with Chris, as he strides, with his long leggy legs, covering twice as much distance as me. He keeps turning round to check that I'm still there, not yet swallowed up by the enthusiastic, slightly crazed looking throng, all intent on getting me to purchase my ticket outta town.
But we have a plan and ducking, diving, dodging, Chris (half pulling, half dragging me by the hand) gets us to the counter and our journey out of the terminal is infinitely easier as the ticket is now worn as badge of honour.
I tend to, in typical Londoner style, avoid eye-contact with strangers... however, this rarely works in Malaysia and not at all in Pudu! Bold and brash, these guys, all trying to make a living, cajole, coax, crack jokes and make it very difficult to not engage with them. Cracking a smile is a no-no, an invitation to strike conversation, generally leading to someone, who knows someone, who can get you something for less that what you would pay, officially.
But despite all that, Pudu really is something else. Alive, vibrant, a perfect slice of multicultural Malaysia.
Addendum: This was written before Pudu closed for renovation.